Plan Ahead to Experience the Upcountry Jacaranda

Starting sometime in late April or early May, Upcountry Maui will look completely different then the usual rolling green hills and meadows. The slopes of Haleakala, especially in and around Makawao and Kula, will be changing colors. Every year Maui residents celebrate the annual blooming of the Jacaranda Trees.  These normally average looking upcountry trees reveal their bright purple and blueish-purple flowers seasonally. It’s an amazing time to visit the upcountry area by car or bicycle, and truly experience the beauty of Jacarandas blooming everywhere. Maui’s artists and photographers ascend upon the many winding roads of the upcountry and setup their easels and tripods for a day’s worth of capturing the essence of Jacaranda perspectives and landscapes. If you plan ahead to spend the day upcountry you’ll discover Jacarandas around just about every corner. Bring your camera to capture the light and the colors to share with friends. Below are some inspiring Jacaranda images courtesy of local photographer, Darren McDaniel. When planning your trip into Jacaranda territory be sure to consider a bike tour in conjunction with your upcountry experience. You’ll enjoy a different–more personal experience closeup to these majestic blue-purple flowering trees. One very popular Maui artist, Curtis Cost, knows exactly how to capture Jacarandas in all their glory. He puts them right in the center of the painting. This painting is available from the Curtis Cost gallery. Special insiders tip: late in the Jacaranda season you’ll see the ground below Jacaranda trees blanketed with the purple flowers which adds a unique perspective to...

Hiking Waihou Springs Trail

For those looking to experience a different side of Maui, this hike is for you. If you’re pressed for time or want to hike and bike upcountry on the same day, this trail is just right! Waihou Spring Trail is just up the road from Makawao in the Waihou Spring Forest Reserve. It is an intermediate level trail that also works as an easy forest stroll if you skip the last part which is a short but steep hike down into a ravine with some interesting caves. Getting back out can be a challenge if you’re out of shape. The trail is about a mile or so round trip and takes about 1 – 2 hours if you’re not in a hurry. This is a short hike compared to some of the others, yet it will give your body a workout and fill your senses with the sights and sounds of the Waihou Spring Forest. The reserve is bordered by the state-run tree experimentation project, which is nearly 100-years old. This secluded hike features a variety of non-native species of trees such as Eucalyptus and Monterey cypress. Additionally, hikers can listen to native island birds such as bright red honeycreepers singing their song. Even axis deer may be seen occasionally. Along the trail, an overlook provides some views between branches of the beautiful trees down the slope of Haleakala towards the valley. A narrow, steep, and rocky trail leads down into Kailua Gulch. This canyon is scattered with boulders and is home to several caves which are actually old water diversion tunnels can also be seen cut into the face of...

Exploring Makawao Town

If you’re taking some time to see Upcountry Maui, exploring Makawao town is a fun way to get a feel for “country” life on the island. The center of town runs along Baldwin Avenue and Makawao Avenue, a walkable area of shops, galleries, and restaurants with an artistic flair and vibrant history. History In the early 1900’s, Makawao was a farming town, part of the pineapple industry that developed in the stretch of land from Haiku to Haliimaile. Beginning in the late 1800’s, cattle ranching in the Upcountry area brought Spanish and Portuguese cowboys to the island. Known in Hawaii as “Paniolos,” these ranchers helped to grow the cattle industry on Maui. Makawao’s downtown began to expand with businesses geared towards the Paniolos and pineapple workers. During World War II, thousands of servicemen were stationed for training near town, and businesses continued to grow to accommodate the community. As military presence decreased in the years after the war, many of the storefronts closed up and remained empty for some time. Makawao finally saw a resurgence of interest in the 1980’s when an eclectic group of artists began to set up shop in the rustic, country style storefronts at the center of town. Today, you can experience the feel of Makawao’s rich history in the shops and eateries where local farming and ranching culture intertwines with artistic craftsmanship. Food You’ll find plenty of great places to eat in Makawao. Polli’s Mexican Restaurant is a local favorite, serving everything from chile rellenos, fajitas, and fish burritos to vegetarian taquitos and margaritas. Across the street is Casanova, an Italian restaurant with a...

Stopping for Lunch in Paia

On your visit to Maui’s north shore, be sure to stop for lunch in Paia. This charming little beach town has a variety of fun shops and restaurants, all within walking distance. In between Baldwin Beach and Hookipa Beach Park, you’ll find the center of town where Hana Highway meets Baldwin Avenue. Take some time to stroll along the storefronts and do a little shopping while you check out all the food choices. There’s something for everyone, from seafood to pizza and burgers to vegan and raw foods. Here are a few ideas for a great lunchtime meal: Paia Fish Market 100 Baldwin Ave. paiafishmarket.com If you’re looking for fresh fish, this is the place. Since 1989, Paia Fish Market has been serving up quality seafood, salads and more. The menu is varied and the prices are affordable. Each day the fish offerings are listed at the counter, with choices ranging from ono and mahi to opakapaka and salmon. Lunch plates can be prepared charbroiled, Cajun, or sauteed. The fish and chips is nicely portioned, crispy, and well seasoned. The salads are big and full of fresh veggies, and they can be topped with fish or chicken. The market also has a number of appetizers and even serves burgers and pasta. Beverages include beer and wine. Milagros Food Company 3 Baldwin Ave. milagrosfoodcompany.com With indoor seating and an outdoor patio dining area, Milagros is right in the middle of all the Paia town action. Serving gourmet southwest food with local ingredients, this family run restaurant combines Maui flavors with freshly made salsas, beans, guacamole, and tasty entrees. You’ll find...

The 5 birds you might meet exploring upcountry Maui

The island of Maui is home to a variety of beautiful birds, and the Upcountry area of Haleakala is a great place to enjoy the wonders of bird watching. At just below 7,000 feet, the higher altitude of Hosmer Grove Campground at Haleakala is a perfect spot to catch a glimpse and hear the sweet songs of Maui’s avian wildlife. Along the summit route of Haleakala National Park, you’ll come across a number of distinct birds. Enthusiasts are always on the lookout for the forest songbirds called honeycreepers. While some honeycreepers are more abundant in the area, sighting of others can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Here are five birds to look and listen for on your adventures: Maui Alauahio Known as the Maui Creeper, the Alauahio is a foraging bird that creeps along tree trunks and branches searching for insects to eat. The Alauahio is a social creature with bright yellow feathers and a short, straight bill. In small flocks, they are known to boldly approach people. This creeper is a more commonly sighted bird in the area. Listen for their chirping song. Maui Alauahio https://mauisunriders.com/app/uploads/2015/11/alauahio.mp3   Hawaii Amakihi Similar in appearance to the Alauahio, the Amakihi is Hawaii’s most common native green bird. Males are a bright yellow-green while females are a more graying-green. Both have short, downward curving bills that are slightly longer and more curved than the Alauahio bill. Another distinguishing feature is the black streaked lore between the bill and the eye. Hawaii Amakihi https://mauisunriders.com/app/uploads/2015/11/amakihi.mp3   Kiwikiu (Maui Parrotbill) With only an estimated 500 of these honeycreepers remaining in the wild, Kiwikiu...

An Epic Maui Experience on the slopes of a dormant volcano called, Haleakala

Connect with a part of Maui far above the resorts and the reefs. See views of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, and Kahoʻolawe. Glance around and you may also spot a few rare and fragile Silversword (ʻāhinahina in Hawaiian which literally means, “very gray”), which only live inside Haleakalā National Park. Motivate yourself to wake before dawn to behold one the most breathtaking sunrises on earth at a place known as the “House of the Sun.” Witness the beginning of day from Haleakala summit, standing with friends awaiting the first glimmer of the distant Sun. As it reveals itself and rises, light spreads across the clouds in dazzling patterns that demand non-stop photos and respect for nature. Every epic minute the view changes, beautiful and dramatic. As Sun rays beam over the vast volcanic floor, distant cinder cones and the Sliding Sands Trail appear in sight. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely! Seeing the sunrise at Haleakala is one of the most unforgettable Maui activities you will experience on vacation. To add more unique, exhilarating fun to your trip, you can bike down the mountain all the way to Paia—literally from the mountain to the sea. The downhill bike option is extremely popular because it allows you to see Maui sights and scenery you would never see otherwise—at your own pace. When you really want an adventure that you can’t stop talking about, check out any of these highly recommended Maui bike tours: On the Haleakala Sunrise Tour, spend an hour at the summit at sunrise snapping photos and experiencing your place in the Universe. On the...

Maui Sunriders launches a new bike tour fleet

What kind of bike would you pick to cruise down a volcano while on vacation in Maui? One with good brakes, we’d hope. Fortunately, this important question is one that we’ve already answered for you! Recently when we were ready to renew our fleet, the company that we usually use, Trek,  did not have any bikes in production that could fulfill our needs. After careful research we found a bike specific for our volcano ride the Redline Monocog Disk. Throughout the years we have learned the our clients need a bike that would minimize any potential issues due to mechanical mishap or technical inconvenience. We needed a bike that would guarantee a hassle-free experience, one that performed well and did not impose on the less technically inclined customers the burden of shifting and other bike functions not necessary in an all paved road downhill ride. We needed a workhorse bike– a bike  that could handle heavy daily use, but was well constructed and light enough for our guides to load on the top of the van. So, we looked for a single speed bike,  with a reliable disk brake and good handling, that was light weight and easy to use. The  Redline Monocog Disk from Accell North America Group met all these criteria.  We are very pleased to be using Redline in our bike tour fleet.     So far the feedback from our customer has nothing less than great. Many of our clients have said they would love to have a bike like this for themselves! We would be honored to have you come experience the bike ride of a...

Maui Sunriders Gives Back to Paia Community

Maui Sunriders is located in the small town of Paia, Maui. We love our little bohemian town for it’s unique town center, great shopping, colorful community members, and of course, awesome location– a great little beach town on the North Shore. A few months ago, we upgraded our bike fleet. We feel like it’s important to have top of the line gear for our downhill bicycling customers, so we upgrade every year or two. But we wondered what to do with 45 Trek bikes that we were retiring? They were all in reasonably good condition and Trek bikes are high quality machines. Then it hit us, the Paia Youth & Cultural Center! The Paia Youth & Cultural Center or PYCC as it’s more commonly called is a local United Way agency that provides daily activities– including counseling, mentorship, and homework assistance–  and life skills education for the town’s youth. They run a local radio station, a skate park, and a cafe. The PYCC serves children and youth from 9-21. We have raised our own children on the island and have seen some of the challenges that teens face in finding positive outlets and activities.We know that the PYCC offers a very valuable resource for families and youth in our community. So, we decided to donate our fleet’s bikes to the PYCC, as a way to support the work that the PYCC is doing. The kids could keep the bikes at the PYCC or take them home. We really enjoyed donating the bikes, but clearly, the kids were the ones who enjoyed it the most! Thanks for letting us give back, PYCC! Mahalo! Psst,...

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