For Hawaiian vacationers looking for an adventure a chance to show their athletic prowess, mountain biking can be a great option. It also gives willing and in-shape tourists a chance to see some really beautiful and often less accessible areas of the islands. One of these areas ideal for mountain biking is Kaupo Road (Highway 31) on Maui. The unpaved and often treacherous road for cars, is perfect for mountain biking and offers those able to do the realitively difficult ride spectacular views and an adventure that is definitely off the beaten Hawaii path.
The 40-mile journey starts on the southern edge of the island near Hana and the edge of Haleakala National Park and ends on the northern side of the island near Kahului. Plan on arranging transportation either to or from the end point, unless you want to turn around and do the 40 mile trek back to where you started.
The bike trek will take you by many points of interest, including Charles Lindberg’s grave, which is only about a mile and half from Oheo Gulch at the edge of Haleakala National Park. The famous aviator, who was the first pilot to navigate across the Atlantic Ocean, later found peace on the Pacific isle and died in Hana in 1974 from cancer. He is buried under river stones in a seaside graveyard behind Palapala Hoomau Congregational Church.
As the treak continues, bikers will wander in and out of lush valleys, bike around blind curves hugging jagged ocean cliffs, ride though guava trees and perhaps even spot a wild pig or a stray cow. Bikers will have the opportunity to sight-see along the way if they so desire. Along the way are many historic and restored old churches orginially built in the mid to late 19th century. Among these is reconstructed Hui Aloha Congregationalist Church, which was built in 1859 and is located about 6 miles past Oheo Gulch.
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Bikers should definitely stop at the famous Kaupo Store for a beer and some snacks during their ride. You will often find a horse tied up outside, as that is the main type of transportation for many locals in this ranching town. Past Kaupo, the last leg of the ride has more barren landscape before you will end up near Kahului.
Make sure you bring lots of water, enough food to keep you going the 40 miles, and sunscreen! The road is exposed to hot sunshine much of the time.
Also, the road can get washed out during storms, so call Maui Public Works beforehand to make sure the road is navigable. 808-248-8254.