Kihei to Kula Cycling Route – Advanced

45 miles, 2,800’ elevation gain

Itching for a big climb? This route is for you! Warm up the legs by following a flat bike path into the center of the island. Then, make one right turn and embark on an 11-mile, 2,500’ foot ascent up to the mountain town of Kula. Desert turns to lush green landscapes as your elevation increases. Enjoy a well-earned descent back down the way you came. Let the easterly trade winds push you right back toward Kihei!

What bike will I ride on Maui?

Planning a cycling trip to Maui? The idyllic island is an excellent cycling destination for cyclists, with a number of world-class road routes and a couple of mountain bike trail networks. Check out some details on how to bring your bike with you, or consider renting a bike from us. 

Here at Maui Sunriders, we offer a fleet of rental bikes on Maui. Maui Sunriders is your destination for high-end road bikes, full suspensions, hardtails, e-bikes, 3-speeds, or single-speeds. Our top-notch staff of cycling enthusiasts will be excited to help you find the right bike for your adventure (at either of our locations...Paia or Kihei!).

From the hot desert…

Turn right out of our Kihei shop, and continue straight for a mile. Then, hang a second right up E Lipoa St. Follow the Piilani highway to the left (northward!) to connect to the Maui Veterans Highway, hop on the bike path that runs parallel to the highway. Ten miles into the ride, at the light, hang a right onto Hansen road. You’ll pass by the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum – a relic of the sugar plantation era of Maui. 

After another mile, turn right onto Pulehu Rd. By now, we hope your legs are warmed up and ready to climb! It’s an 11-mile, 2,500’ foot climb from the hot and dry center of the island up to the cool upcountry town of Kula! The gradient is gentle for the first few miles, and slowly becomes increasingly steep. The gradient maxes out in a few spots in the 11-12% range.

Pulehu Road

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…To the cool temperatures of upcountry Maui!

Once up in Kula (phew!), cross the Kula Highway to hop onto Lower Kula Road. You’ll pass a couple of restaurants on this 1.5-mile stretch. A great opportunity to refuel before embarking on the glorious descent back downhill. Follow Lower Kula Rd until the left turn onto Omaopio (Don’t continue on Lower Kula Rd…it becomes chunky gravel!). Cross back across the Kula Highway, and enjoy your well-earned descent down Omaopio Rd. You’ll rejoin Pulehu Rd, and, from there, backtrack all the way to our Kihei shop.

Make note – once you hop on the Maui Veteran Highway bike path leaving Kihei, there is no opportunity to re-up on water/nutrition until you get up to Kula. The bike path and Pulehu Rd can be very hot and windy, particularly in the middle of the day. Plan accordingly!

Conor O'Brian

Conor O'Brian

Maui Sunriders contributing writer, photographer, and route builder

Conor is an avid bike rider, racer, adventurer, photographer, and graphic artist who spends his winters working for Maui Sunriders. All routes, photos, and written descriptions are his own.

Maui Veterans Highway Bike Path

Need a bike?

We have a full rental fleet of carbon and aluminum road bikes, as well as e-road bikes!