Makawao Figure 8 Cycling Route – Advanced
40 miles, 4,500’ elevation gain
Climb a third of the way up Haleakala Volcano, then loop your way back down the scenic route. Cruise through the towns of Kula, Makawao, and Haiku before finishing up your ride along the ocean as you make your way back toward Paia.
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!).
The Makawao Figure 8 Climb
Starting in Paia, aim straight up Baldwin ave for 7 miles and 1,700′ to Makawao. Continue straight through the intersection and up the steep quarter-mile pitch.
Follow the road until you turn right onto Hanamu Rd, just opposite the horse ranch. Next, bear left at each of the upcoming merges to find yourself on the Haleakala Highway. Six more miles of steady climbing brings you up to the highest point on this route – the town of Kula – at just under 4,000’. The road then crests and then starts downhill – you’ve earned it!
After two downhill miles, you’ll hit the Kula highway. Turn right, and then make a second quick right onto Lower Kula rd to continue your descent. You’re welcome to continue along the main highway, but we much prefer the quieter side roads!
If you brought lunch, the best place to stop is Harold Rice Park – the views are hard to beat. Otherwise, you’ll pass a couple of food options along Lower Kula Rd. Lower Kula Rd will merge back onto the Kula Highway before splitting off again to your right after half a mile. Hop back on the side road for another 2 miles of less traffic and better views!
For the beer drinkers out there…Mahalo Aleworks will be on your left along Aapeuo Parkway as you continue down the Kula Highway.
Descend through three iconic upcountry Maui towns
At mile 24.5 in our route, you’ll hang a right on Makawao Ave, which points you back toward the T-intersection in Makawao from your climb earlier. Either turn left to descend right back down the way you came, or follow our route for a scenic descent through our favorite roads in Haiku!
As you descend Makawao Ave (which becomes Kaupakalua Rd), be aware that there is a very tight hairpin turn at mile 28.5! Follow along that road until taking a left onto E Kuiaha Rd. This is our personal favorite for a quiet, scenic descent through Haiku. Hang a left when that road ends at a stop sign. A couple of miles of tight, windy rollers through the jungle await, popping you out in downtown Haiku. You’ll find a couple of great food options if you need a pit stop before the final push home.
Once in Haiku town, just follow our route back down to the Hana highway, and hang a left, and enjoy the net downhill (and often, tailwind) back to Paia!
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.
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