The Ride

 

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.

 

Makawao

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.

 

Paniolo Country

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.

 

Protea Farms

Along with your Haleakala bike tour, you may notice meadows filled with a strikingly unique and yet amazingly beautiful flower – the protea. Originally a native of South Africa, the Protea was found to flourish in the colder temperatures and rich soil of beautiful Upcountry Maui. Farms of this exotic flower can be seen on the bike ride down the Haleakala volcano.

Many of these farms harvest Proteas to send out across the world as flower arrangements, wreaths, and gift boxes. Proteas are said to very aptly convey the giver’s love, sympathy, joy, and best wishes. Although not native to Hawaii, Proteas have come to symbolize the spirit of Aloha that is found throughout the islands. Stop along the way on your Maui bike ride to notice all the beauty these flowers hold.
With more than 25 different varieties of proteas grown here, this exotic flower offers a colorful memory of Hawaii and the hospitality that it’s known for. Some of the more famous varieties of proteas include the king protea, the largest variety, with stately pink petals and an average diameter of 6 inches. Other types of protease are known as minks which are silky and have a feathery, almost fury tip. Minks come in a number of different color varieties themselves. These impressive flowers are known to be hardy and strong. Proteas will often hold their shape even when they’re dry.

So notice the gorgeous protea farms around the Kula area as you make your way downhill on your Maui bike tour. These exotic, colorful flowers blossoming on the slopes of Haleakala add even more beauty to this unforgettable landscape.

 

Kula Lodge

On your Haleakala bike tour, 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 sunrise 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.

 

Haleakalā Crater

From the summit of Haleakalā, Maui’s largest volcano, you can look down to see the famous crater of Haleakalā. As part of your Haleakala bike tour, the crater is not to be missed. Walk through a cinder desert and see the many volcano cones spread throughout this massive volcanic depression that’s 7 miles long, 2 miles wide, and 2,600 feet deep. See another world as you hike in this unbelievable volcanic landscape.

The Haleakalā Crater is part of what the Haleakalā National Park refers to as the “Wilderness Area.” Hikers can take two main trails into the richly-colored crater from the summit area: Halemau’u or Sliding Sands trails. Nēnē or Hawaiian geese can sometimes be seen in their natural habitat in the Haleakala Crater. “The mountain summit is one of the only easily-accessible areas of Hawaii where our rare and endemic species survive and thrive,” The Haleakala National Park Service noted. The park itself is composed of more than 30,000 acres of public land, the most famous aspect of which is the Haleakala Crater.

With its many unique volcanic features and amazing surrounding views, the Haleakalā Crater is a must-see on your Maui activities list and one most memorable parts of your Maui volcano bike ride. At this high of an altitude, the weather is cooler and can be unpredictable, so it’s good to wear layered clothing as well as sunscreen and closed-toed shoes. As part of our Haleakalā bike tours, we supply wind and rain gear as well as gloves, jackets, and pants. Please see our FAQ page for more details.

 

Haleakalā Summit

The sunrise from the Haleakala summit is nothing short of breathtaking. The peak of Haleakala stands at 10,023 feet above sea level and is the highest point on the island of Maui. As one of the most popular Maui activities, seeing the sunrise from the Haleakala summit offers an unforgettable experience on our Haleakala sunrise bike tours. This spectacular Maui volcano sunrise with the sun glistening through the clouds without the bedimming city lights or pollution is worth getting up early to see.

Haleakala is known as the “house of the sun” because as Hawaiian legend has it, the demigod Maui lassoed the sun here as he stood on the Haleakala summit in order to slow its descent and lengthen the day. Haleakala is a dormant volcano that last erupted around 1790. More than one million people visit the summit of Haleakala each year, many visiting on a Haleakala sunrise bike tour.

The summit offers a once-in-a-lifetime view across an amazing landscape of rolling mountains, surrounding islands, and the ever-expansive ocean. Gaze across the water at the island of Hawaii with its peaks of 14,000 ft. along with views of Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.

The clear skies and excellent viewing conditions at the Haleakala summit attract many Maui bike tours and also visitors who bring their telescopes to gaze at the stars and other celestial bodies. In fact, the University of Hawaii’s Haleakala Observatory is located near the visitor’s center but is not open to the public.

The Haleakala summit is one of the highlights of our Maui volcano bike rides. There’s no other place in the world quite like the summit of Haleakala. If you can see it as part of a Haleakala sunrise bike tour and experience all the wonder that the summit has to offer. But we also offer a Summit Bike Tour later in the morning where you can still view the overwhelmingly beautiful landscape that stretches out across Haleakala. Just remember to bring a jacket for the Haleakala sunrise bike tour because the temperature can get pretty cold at sunrise on the summit. Whichever Maui bike tour you take, prepare to be inspired.