Mountain Biking Maui | Paradise on Two Wheels

One of the many things I love about living the Maui Life is that I get to balance out the ocean activities with the mountain activities.

‘Surf and Turf’ it is sometimes called.

Finding balance is something very important in our lives, and what better way to find it than by enjoying paradise – on a bike in the great Hawaiian outdoors?!?

Headed down the spine on Skyline Trail

I’ve mountain biked lots of places in the world; the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia and the Sierra Nevadas of California are some of my favorites. Maui is an island and has it limitations when it comes to extensive trail networks, but when you remind yourself that you are biking on a volcano in paradise, it all gets put into perspective.

Freight train coming through!

Although there is a huge network of abandoned agricultural dirt roads throughout West Maui from Lahaina to Kapalua, there are no real places on West Maui that you can ride without private landowner’s permission.

The Xterra World Championships (off-road triathlon) are held on Maui, and the last few years have been held up in Kapalua. They cut out some pretty sweet trails for the competition, but it is not maintained and gets overgrown quickly as it rains fairly regularly in Kapalua. The mountain biking trails are partly on Kapalua Resort property and partly on other private land. Some day, there may be a system of trails that are open to mountain biking on West Maui. For now, there is great hiking.

Feeding the ducks at the top of Kapalua Village Trails

Fear not! 10,000 ft of elevation change can be yours. In one day. In a few hours. People ride to the top of Haleakala from sea level (I’d recommend some energy bars and a road bike for that). Mountain bikers can swoop down from above the clouds at the top of Haleakala on the Skyline Trail (throw in the Mamane Trail in Poli Poli State Park) all the way to the ocean. That would be a little too much asphalt, so our gang prefers to stop at Joe’s house in Kula every year post Thanksgiving for turkey sandwiches. 6,000 ft elevation drop is good for me.

Gearing up for the descent


Super stoked

Midway down at the top of Mamane Trail

The other Upcountry gem is Kahakapao in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Great example of mountain bikers getting together and creating and maintaining a trail network. When you are up there, you forget that you are on a tropical island, and are surrounded by canopies of Eucalyptus and evergreen trees. Truly magical.

Kahakapao Loop Trail

Makawao Forest Reserve Magic

Ready to Hit the Trail?

Visiting Maui and need a bike? Check out Jamie at West Maui Cycles in Lahaina and Moose at Krank Cycles in Makawao.

Visiting Maui and need a property? Let’s go for a ride and talk about starting your Maui Life.

Comments (3) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

George Walter

August 3, 2016

Great read, Owen. I’m a road biker so haven’t spent any time in the dirt on a cycle without a motor. This looks epic though. I think I’ll try it.

George Walter

August 3, 2016

Great read, Owen. I’m a road biker so haven’t spent any time in the dirt on a cycle without a motor. This looks epic though. I think I’ll try it.


September 13, 2018

For great prices on your Bike tours, you can check out:

More Articles from Hawaii Life