How Intense is the Haleakala Bike Tour?

How Intense is the Haleakala Bike Tour?

We know you probably don’t bike on the side of a volcano every day, so you may be wondering how intense our Haleakalā bike tour will be. Do you need to be a professional cyclist to take on the volcano? How fit should someone be to ride on the Haleakalā bike tour? Is it dangerous?

Let us reassure you that our self-paced Haleakalā bike tours are not physically intense or only for the professional cyclist. In fact, almost everyone can bike down the volcano on our tours.

haleakala bike ridesBecause the Haleakalā bike rides are downhill, it is a pretty leisurely bike ride. Even those who were not exceptionally physically fit have really enjoyed our bike rides down Haleakalā. We have had a 90-year-old bike rider join us as well as children as young as 10 years old. Although you won’t have any strenuous peddling uphill, you will be biking down a mountain with curved roads, so you will need to be comfortable and experienced at riding a bike and riding a bike with hand brakes. The only other basic restrictions we have is that our bike riders not weigh more than 300 pounds and not be pregnant, and that all children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Another aspect of our Haleakalā bike tours that makes them not intense is their self-paced nature. We give our biking guests a narrated tour as we drive you up to the staging area outside the National Park entrance of Haleakalā. From there we put you on your bikes and you have the option on our tours of staying in your own cycling comfort zone. Thus, you won’t have the pressure of trying to keep up with a group like many of the guided Haleakalā bike tours. You can ride down the volcano at your own pace and stop wherever you would like at the many great towns, restaurants, and shops along the route.

self-guided haleakala bike tours

We think that this aspect of our bike tours makes them more enjoyable and more like biking at home with friends and family.

Are the tours dangerous? Really, the Haleakalā volcano tours are no more dangerous than any other bike ride. You do however, need to be comfortable riding a bike, be able to focus, and be able to use hand brakes. But basically this bike ride will be dangerous only if the biker decides to ride recklessly. Our highest priority is your safety, so we take great care to provide you with all the necessary safety and biking equipment, as well as guidelines and safety briefings. And, you don’t have to be completely on your own. If at any time during the bike ride you feel uncomfortable or need assistance, just give us a call and we will come to help or pick you up.

Maui Sunriders Bike Down The VolcanoWe could say that the Haleakalā bike tour is pretty intense . . . that is when it comes to its amazing scenery. Everyone will agree that the Haleakalā bike tour is possibly the most incredible activity they’ve ever done. It’s simply unforgettable. And the beautiful countryside you’ll see on the way down is a side of Maui you can’t miss. Upcountry Maui is breathtakingly beautiful and riding down through this amazing landscape on a self-paced bike tour is thrilling and relaxing all at the same time.

Should See the Haleakala Sunrise or Sunset?

Should See the Haleakala Sunrise or Sunset?

Haleakala SunriseSeeing the summit of Haleakalā, Maui’s largest volcano, is one of the most popular things to do in Maui. The cinder landscape of this dormant volcano with its unique wildlife is an incredible sight to see. But when should you go? Many travel early in the morning to see the Haleakalā sunrise. Others wait to travel in Upcountry to the Summit area later in the day to see the sunset.

Either way, you can watch the sunrise or sunset and have time to experience our Haleakalā bike tour. On our self-guided tour you get to bike through Upcountry Maui and see it up close as you bike down all the way to sea level. On this bike tour – from the mountain to the sea – you’ll see a variety of different wildlife and picturesque countryside landscapes that stretch out to the ocean; you can stop to eat at a restaurant nestled on the slopes of Haleakalā; or you can spend a while in one of the charming small towns along the way to shop, eat, or browse one of their numerous art galleries.

It’s worth planning to see the incredible sunrise or sunset over the landscape of the Haleakalā Crater. Which is better? Both are amazing sights, but here are a few things to consider:

haleakala sunrise bike tours

Haleakalā sunrise.

Most visitors to Maui are jetlagged the first few days they are here. So take advantage of automatically waking up early and see the unforgettable Haleakalā sunrise. If you’re at the Summit a little before sunrise, you can also see the amazingly clear sky filled with stars. Watching the Haleakalā sunrise, seeing the explosion of colors as the sun rises above the clouds at 10,023 feet above sea level, is truly awe-inspiring.

Haleakalā sunset.

Of course, the main perk to waiting until the evening to venture up Haleakalā is that you can sleep in. This may be more important to some. However, if you do experience jetlag on your trip, you may want to wait until the end of your Maui vacation when you get adjusted to the time.

haleakala sunset

The sunset on the peak of Haleakalā is also a gorgeous sight. Many like to visit Haleakalā at night not only to view the picture-perfect sunset but also to afterward see the night painted with bright twinkling stars.

“Temperatures immediately before dawn and immediately after dusk are regularly below freezing,” the Haleakalā National Park Service cautions, so both sunrise and sunset will be pretty cold, and you’ll thus need to dress pretty warm.

Overall, many locals will say that the sunset experience on Haleakalā is the best! Being above the clouds when the sunsets over the mountain is unforgettable. The convenience of not getting up early maybe more appealing to some. If you have the chance while in Maui, you should see both of these amazing phenomenon.

How does the Bike Ride Fit Into All of This?

If you opt for the sunrise option, keep in mind it is very crowded and you do need to wake up around 2am to get up the volcano in time. It will be cold so dress warm & bring layers. Since our tour starts at 9am, guests that still want to experience sunrise on their own and save a bundle of money, go up on their own and then drive down immediately following sunrise. It takes about an 1 hour 30 minutes to come down and reach our shop in Paia (Leave no later than 7:30am, keep in mind everyone will be leaving at the same time after sunrise). Once you arrive in Paia, Park your car for the day and we will shuttle you up for your bike ride.

We used to offer sunrise bike tours for 18 years and concluded offering. To book a sunrise tour with any operator these days will cost you about $200-$220 per person due to changes within the National Park system! Our tour is only $70. We share with our guests the option to catch the sunrise on your own for a $25 park entrance fee per car and a $1.50 online reservation fee through the National Park website. (book ahead! or better yet – do sunset!) Save $265+ and do sunrise or sunset on your own and have a more personal experience at the summit.

Haleakala SunriseFurthermore, when you do a sunrise/summit downhill option, you have to get back in the shuttle van and drive down to 6500ft’ where all bike tours are Permitted to start and that is where we begin our ride…(right outside the National Park entrance.) You don’t get to bike down from the summit! We offer the longest self-guided downhill, with the least amount of climbing. We are the only physical bike shop for the Downhill bike tour in Paia.

Riders are often groggy and sleepy while biking which isn’t safe. You will be biking down with all the sunrise traffic coming down the mountain as well as local rush hour and for some that can be a little unnerving. With our ride beginning later, there are less cars on the road which makes it safer and a more comfortable ride down. Also most of the shops & restaurants that you get to explore on our self-guided tour will be closed in the early morning during the sunrise rides which is only part of the reason we believe that the sunset tour beats the Haleakala sunrise bike tour.

For the sunset option, finish your bike ride leisurely. Enjoy Paia and the beaches after the ride…and then drive up and watch the sunset. Bring a towel, warm clothes, beverages of choice, Hawaiian picnic and watch the spectacular sunset! You can enter the park an hour early and explore the park, hike around a bit and see it more than you would at sunrise.

It’s also warmer at the crater than it will be waiting for the sun to rise. You can look up at the volcano and see if the weather is to your liking to view the sunset! Keep in mind all the sunrises and sunsets are 50/50 that you will have incredible views due to our tropical weather and clouds that come through. At least for sunset you can decide if it’s worth it but for sunrise it’s all or nothing, due to your reservation and it’s dark so you can’t totally see the weather. It will be cold once the sun begins to set so dress warm & bring layers.

(First photo by Courtney Collison via Flickr)

(Second photo by Divya Thakur via Flickr)

Our Favorite Maui Activities

Our Favorite Maui Activities

Visiting the beautiful island of Maui soon? This wonderful Valley Isle holds so many treasures, it may be hard to narrow it down to which Maui activities you can fit into your trip here. So we’ve made a list of some of our favorite Maui activities – in addition to the volcano bike ride of course – that are sure to offer a memorable time.

Snorkel Molokini

snorkeling mauiWhen you see the amazing beauty of Maui’s mountains, beaches, and rainforests you may think: “Wow, it can’t get more gorgeous than this.” But a whole other world of unseen splendor that’s equally, if not more amazing, lies below the waters of Maui. Molokini is a small, moon-shaped island about three miles off the southwest coast of Maui. This crescent-shaped island is actually a partially-submerged volcanic crater that was named a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District. Molokini Crater is home to an abundant array of colorful coral reefs and more than 250 species of tropical fish and marine life including manta rays and whitetip reef sharks, making it one of the best snorkeling and diving destinations in Maui. The clear, calm waters of Molokini make for a great day of snorkeling with visibility of up to 150 feet. Because of the incredible marine life you’ll see around this gorgeous island crater, snorkeling Molokini is definitely a must on your Maui activities list!

Road to Hana

road to hanaThen you’ll want to spend a day on the famous Road to Hana. This rugged, white-knuckle drive from Kahului to the little town of Hana is one of the most beautiful scenic drives you’ll ever take, in addition to your Maui volcano tour down Haleakalā.

Not for the faint of heart to drive (there are van tours available) with its seemingly endless curves and one-lane bridges, the Road to Hana offers a ride into another world through captivating rainforests where you can stop and hike to unbelievable waterfalls and magnificent pools.

On this world-famous drive, you’ll see spectacular views of the ocean, its coastlines, and beaches, all from breathtaking cliffs. Stop along the way at a local fruit stand for a snack. Take your time at each scenic spot to take in the awe-inspiring beauty, but be sure to keep track of the time if you’re not staying in Hana so that you don’t have to drive this winding road at night. So if you’re up for even more adventure after your Maui bike tour, plan a day to travel the Road to Hana. 

Dinner and Shopping on Front Street

Near the Lahaina Harbor sits delightful Front Street – a quaint assortment of restaurants, charming boutiques, art galleries, jewelry shops and the ambiance of historic Old Town Lahaina. There’s also many historical buildings in this area of Lahaina including the Old Courthouse with its famously large banyan tree planted in the town square known as Banyan Tree Park. Eat dinner with a panoramic oceanfront view of the sunset at the Lahaina Fish Co. There’s so much to see and do in this historic whaling village. No vacation to Maui is complete without an afternoon of shopping and dining in this picturesque part of Lahaina on the west coast of Maui.

Whale Watching

whale watching mauiFrom the Lahaina Harbor you can take a whale watching tour to see one of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures, the humpback whale. These amazing mammals make Maui their home during the winter months, from December to May with the peak season from January through March.

During this time there are a number of Maui whale watching tours available including passenger rafts, charter boats, and catamarans that offer guided tours. Seeing these amazing creatures in person is another Maui activity that should not be missed.

Maui Volcano Bike Tour

maui bike rideThe Haleakalā Downhill bike tour is definitely a not-to-be-missed Maui activity. Viewing the the bi-coastal views on Haleakalā volcano is indescribable. It’s truly mesmerizing. Our self-paced Maui volcano bike tour is a great way to bike down Haleakalā and see all the beautiful sights of Upcountry Maui.

Go at your own pace from 6500′ onHaleakalā volcano all the way to the sea to the little town of Paia. Along the way you can stop at charming restaurants and shops, see protea farms, paniolo cowboys, and breathtaking views stretching out over the hills out to the sea. The Haleakalā Downhill bike tour is one of the most memorable things you can do in Maui.


Best Maui Bike Rides

Best Maui Bike Rides

Biking enthusiasts love Maui for its beautiful and yet diverse scenery. Maui biking trails can vary, from peaceful rides by the beach to challenging singletracks up Maui’s majestic mountains. No matter which Maui biking trail you take, you’re sure to see some amazingly beautiful sights. So if you’re planning a visit to the island soon, schedule some time to take a ride in this biker’s paradise and test your Maui mountain bike skills on the roads and trails below.

Haleakalā Bike Tour

Of course, every cyclist should bike Haleakalā at least once. Our Haleakalā Downhill bike tour starts at 6500′ feet where all bike tours are permitted on Maui to begin their rides. Wind downhill through the beautiful Upcountry of Maui and stop at little shops and towns along the way down to the sea. Our downhill Haleakalā bike tours are self-guided and allow you to explore around at your own pace.

The most advanced cyclists may want to traverse Haleakalā uphill, or maybe just part of it. Biking all the way up Haleakalā has been called “one of the most difficult bike climbs in the world” with gradients reaching up to 18% over 36 miles. Every year the toughest of cyclists climb Haleakalā in a race known as the Cycle to the Sun on the “longest, steepest paved road on the planet.”

But for most of us, biking down Haleakalā is the best choice for a Maui bike ride. The downhill Haleakalā bike tour is unquestionably an absolute must-do bike ride for those who want to see all the unique beauty Upcountry Maui has to offer.

Kahakapao Loop

For mountain bikers who want a more rigorous Maui bike ride, Kahakapao Loop is the trail to take. This singletrack bike ride in the Makawao Forest winds through “stands of eucalyptus, cook pines, and tropical ash,” the Maui Mountain Bike Coalition noted. Starting on the east side loop and riding clockwise, this steady climb has an average grade of 7.7%. “As a climb, the trail can be easy or challenging depending on the pace at which you ride,” the Coalition said. “As a descent, this trail gives cyclists speed and flow.” This singletrack through dense forests has roots and tight corners to look out for, and it’s not recommended to ride in wet conditions as it can get very slick.

West Maui Loop

west maui bike rideThe West Maui Loop bike ride is another awesome Maui bike ride to take on your vacation. Along with the Haleakalā bike tour and Hana Highway, West Maui is one of the most scenic bike rides in Maui. This challenging ride runs along the beautiful shorelines of northwest Maui. Because it is a loop, you can start and stop almost at any point along the bike ride. If you did ride the entire West Maui Loop, it would be about 60 miles. On the northern side of the loop, the road turns from a two-lane paved road into a one-lane winding road along cliffs, so great caution is needed. Because it gets windier as the day goes on, it’s best to start out early, but be careful because the roads can also be slick from dew or rain.

Along your bike through West Maui, you’ll see beautiful Honolua Bay, which is a great surfing break where many professional surfers come to test their skills. Then stop to see the Nakalele Blowhole just outside Honokohau Bay. Further on at the Kahakuloa Village, you can stop and have a bite to eat at the local banana bread stand before you continue on the meandering path. With its picturesque stops at every turn, the West Maui Loop is definitely another can’t-miss Maui bike ride.

If you love biking and want to explore Maui a little further, we offer bike rentals in Maui in addition to our self-paced bike tours. With our daily Maui bike rentals, you can rent the bike and equipment, along with a vehicle bike rack, and then the bike is yours to enjoy for the day. Call for more details.

Experience some of the most thrilling and enjoyable mountain bike rides on earth by taking one of these amazing Maui bike rides through this gorgeous island.

That Small Town Feeling can be Found in Makawao

That Small Town Feeling can be Found in Makawao

makawao-sidewalk-shadow-guyThis little upcountry town is sure to be the most charming small town you’ll experience on Maui. Don’t be surprised to see people walking around town with cowboy boots on, or even riding horses. This is Paniolo country after all.

Makawao is located at the intersection of Makawao Avenue and Baldwin Avenue on the Northwest side of Haleakalā. The Nearest town to Makawao is Pukalani. About 7 miles down Baldwin from Makawao is the small town of Paia.hitchingpost

Depending on what time and how you arrive in Makawao, parking could be a challenge, so if you arrive by bicycle you’re in luck! There’s even a historic hitching post that reminds us that horses used to line these streets back in the day.

If you just rode down the Haleakalā on a bike, this is the first town you come to. When you arrive in the afternoon you might be ready for a cup of coffee and donuts or lunch. Here’s a short list of places to get food and tasty Makawao goodness.


Cassanova Italian Restaurant and Deli Express

Casanova has a little “deli express”. The lunch and dinner part of the restaurant opens midday. You might find nightly entertainment here as well.

Makawao Rodeo General Store

The Makawao General Store is also open early and offers coffee and more.

SipMe Coffee Shop

One of my favorite places is SipMe Coffee Shop. It’s open all week and has fresh coffee, locally sourced treats and Wifi.

Polly’s Mexican Restaurant

If you’re ready for lunch or dinner, this is the place to get affordable Mexican food made with an upcountry flair.

T Komoda Store and Bakery

Hours vary so check the day before to be sure it’s open when you’re in town. Komodas is well know locally because it’s been around forever (since 1916, really). The fresh baked goodies are amazing, especially the donuts on a stick! They do close on Sundays & Wednesdays.

Satori Sushi Truck

Our specialty is serving quality sushi made with fresh Hawaiian fish and local farm to table produce. We also serve ramen, kombucha on tap, and appetizers, all using top tier ingredients. Our entire menu is gluten free and dairy free and half our menu is vegan featuring gourmet veggie rolls.

Habibi Middle Eastern

Middle eastern fusion cafe specializing in Shawarmas, mezza platters and house made pizzas. Pita bread made fresh daily.

History and More


Makawao has history. Best place to find out more is at the Makawao History Museum right in town. Walking around Makawao you’ll be immersed in a sense of history. Everywhere you look there are hints a how things used to be. In the meantime, here’s an article we wrote about Makawao that shares some of the history and more –

Websites to find out more information about Makawao and the surrounding area

Walking around Makawao –

5 Reasons to Love Upcountry Maui –

In the event you’re heading down to Paia for lunch, we’ve written an article that will give you insight into what you’ll find in Paia –

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Love and Good Vibes in Haleakala Volcano

Love and Good Vibes in Haleakala Volcano

What is something that Machu Picchu, The Stonehenge and Haleakalā Volcano have in common? They are considered to be three of the top spiritual places in the world for having the strongest energy fields. What does it mean to be classified in such a category? Let’s put it this way: there are places in the world where you feel just that much closer to “The Divine”. Places where you find answers to unresolved questions or and tap into your more sensitive side as a reaction to those-called “energetic vibrations”. According to the Schumann Resonance Haleakalā Volcano matches at 7.8 cycles per second, the same resonance of our hearts and the natural state of Earth. It brings comfort and enables the feeling of love when spending time there. It’s no wonder an uncountable number of newly weds choose to take a trip up top while on their honeymoon. Pretty neat, huh?

We won’t bore you anymore with the “hippy-dippy” stuff but whether or not you’re in search of a spiritual journey, a check off the bucket list or simply some good ol’ vacation fun we’re pretty sure it’ll still change your life!

Photo by Dave Barnum

Photo by Maria Caridad