The Ride Experience
Bike Upcountry Maui – From The Mountain to the sea
As you make your way along the Haleakala volcano tour, you’ll find unique stops along the way. Exploring Maui’s Upcountry by bike allows you to take in the bi-coastal views, unique vegetation as well as the opportunity to stop and explore all the great stops Upcountry Maui has to offer.
On your Haleakala bike tour, you can chose to stop to have lunch at the charming Kula Lodge. Located at about 3,200 feet on the western slopes of the Haleakala Crater, the Kula Lodge and Restaurant provides a quiet and peaceful oasis on your Maui bike ride.
The Lodge sits amid a garden of flower farms teeming with color. Blossoming carnations, protea, and other tropical flora provide the perfect backdrop for a photo op on your sunrise bike tour of Maui.
The Kula Lodge and Restaurant with its breath-taking views of the west side of Maui is the perfect spot to stop for lunch and really take in the rich scenery of Upcountry Maui. Here guests can sit in an outdoor garden terrace above the green hills of Kula and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the Kula Lodge and Restaurant’s Executive Chief. On the garden terrace, a quaint wood-burning pizza oven creates tasty pizza dishes that are as delightful as the view. Herbs grown in the surrounding garden are used to flavor the succulent dishes at the restaurant. Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Kula Lodge and Restaurant offers a great sojourn on your Haleakala bike tour.
Located in the quaint town of Kula, the Lodge puts you right in the heart of upcountry Maui. Kula is a part of what’s called “undiscovered Maui,” a place outside the usual tourist spots where nature seems virtually untouched. This quiet, rural area is a part of your bike tour of Maui that can’t be missed. Spectacular views of the West Maui Mountains and the Pacific Ocean at 3,200 feet above sea level provide an unforgettable experience. With remarkable scenery surrounding you, the Kula Lodge and Restaurant is the “romantic hideaway” along with your Haleakala bike tour that can’t be missed.
When you think of Maui, what comes to mind? Most probably think of surfers riding impossible waves, beaches lined with people sunbathing, or pineapples and gorgeous tropical flowers. And they would be right. But Maui is also home to Paniolo or Hawaiian cowboys and especially is this true in gorgeous Upcountry Maui. Thus, along with your Maui volcano bike ride down Haleakala, you’ll venture in to what’s known as Paniolo Country.
Here there is a long-standing tradition of cowboys, ranches, and rodeos. So on your Haleakala bike tour, catch a unique glimpse of real Hawaiian cowboy life. See working cattle ranches along the ride down Haleakala volcano. Talk to horseback-riding paniolo roaming the lush pastureland with their cattle in Maui’s beautiful interior Upcountry along the slopes of Haleakala.
The tradition of the Hawaiian cowboy or paniolo dates back to even before the mainland cowboy conquered the Great Plains of the American West. The need for paniolo began when a British explorer gave longhorn cattle to King Kamehameha I of Hawaii in the 1790s. When the first cattle given to the king were quickly killed and eaten while others got sick and died, the king had a kapu or order of protection put on the second gift of cattle so that they wouldn’t be slaughtered. But soon the cattle multiplied so much that they overran the area destroying towns and crops.
In 1832, King Kamehameha III sent one of his chiefs to California to hire Mexican-Spanish vaqueros (cowboys) to round up the wild cattle. These vaqueros taught Hawaiians the skills of herding cattle and ranching as well as the lifestyle that accompanies the cowboy profession. Hawaiian cowboys became known as paniolo (thought to have been derived from the Spanish language), and the tradition carries on even today in gorgeous Paniolo Country Maui.
In the cool air of Upcountry Maui, this beautiful rustic area set amid the hills of Haleakala gives you a window into a unique side of Hawaii, one that many may never see, but one that shouldn’t be missed on your Maui volcano bike ride.
As you make your way along the Haleakala volcano tour, you’ll find a small town that carries on the traditions of the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) life. In the heart of Paniolo Country sits the historic town of Makawao. This quaint town located on the slopes of Haleakala is rich in paniolo heritage with rustic charm as well as being a flourishing arts community.
As you take the Maui volcano bike ride down to the beach, you’ll pass by the Oskie Rice Arena just above Makawao, home of the Fourth of July weekend rodeo that has been held here annually for more than 50 years. This annual rodeo competition is the largest rodeo in Hawaii featuring paniolo calf roping, barrel racing, and bronco riding. Along with the annual rodeo, the town of Makawao also holds a Paniolo Parade through downtown every year. Country and western dancing, live music, and chuck wagon-style food are all features of these renowned annual events celebrating the paniolo lifestyle.
Although small, with a population of about 7,000, the historic ranch town of Makawao has much to see and do all year round. Along with weekly line dance lessons and a farmer’s market on Saturdays, you can find a number of charming art galleries, boutiques, and shops to stop in at on your Haleakala bike tour. In Makawao, you can see glass blowers, painters, and wood sculptors and order a piece of art to take home with you. As gohawaii.com noted, “This charming town was once named one of the top 25 arts destinations in the United States.”
So don’t hurry through Paniolo Country and Makawao on your Maui bike tour. Stop to have lunch or browse through one of the fascinating shops or galleries scattered throughout this historic town, reminiscent of the Old West and famous for its Hawaiian cowboy, or paniolo, heritage.
Old Paia Sugar Mill
As you near the small town of Paia on your Haleakala bike tour, you’ll find what’s now mostly ruins of the historic Old Paia Sugar Mill. This mill once helped to make Paia a bustling plantation town in the golden days of Maui’s sugar cane industry.
In this abandoned mill along the road heading to Paia, you’ll see where sugar was once processed from the surrounding cane fields of Maui. This historic site with its rustic pieces of metal frozen in time tells a story of days gone by when Paia was the largest city on Maui with a theater and hospital. The Old Paia Sugar Mill produced sugar in Paia for more than 125 years until it was closed in 2000. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, sugar plantation workers at the mill lived in plantation-built homes near the mill.
Paia was established in 1896 with a company store for plantation workers, and then independent merchants began opening shops around what was known as “Lower Paia.” Today, Paia is a charmingly small town nestled near the beach filled with colorful shopping boutiques, art galleries, and a unique blend of restaurants. It’s a hospitable, laid back beach town that still has sugar canes surrounding it. Paia is also now known for having one of the world’s best windsurfing spots at Ho’okipa Beach Park where windsurfers gather from around the world.
So as you ride Haleakala downhill on your Maui bike tour and make your way to the town of Paia, just past the Old Paia Sugar Mill, plan to spend the day here enjoying all the interesting Maui activities and shopping Paia has to offer, as you see a little bit of sugar plantation history and the quaint surfing town Paia has become.
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