Mountain biking on Maui

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 27-April 3, 1996
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Mountain biking on Maui
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Mountain biking on Maui
Q: I would like to find out about mountain biking on Mount Haleakala on Maui. I've heard they have sunrise trips. Also, where else is good to ride on Maui?

Mark Friedan
Alexandria, VA
[email protected]

A Maui must: Sunrise at Mount Haleakala followed by a mountain-bike descent
A: Talk about self-indulgence: The only way to mountain bike legally in Haleakala National Park is to sign on with a group trip that makes the 38-mile downhill run from the top of the crater to the bottom of the park road. Skip the lung-busting climb amidst a steady stream of rental cars and instead pamper yourself with a pre-dawn pick up at your hotel, shuttle service to the top of the park road, and a long, satisfying descent back to the bottom.

Three park concessionaires run these popular sunrise trips, which generally last about nine hours, and a whole handful of other outfitters offer similar rides from just outside the park entrance--about nine miles below the summit. One of the concessionaires is Maui Downhill, whose $115 sunrise ride includes round-trip hotel shuttle; the use of a windbreaker, helmet, and one-speed cruiser bike designed specifically for whizzing downhill at 30 mph; and a full breakfast at mile 19. Call 808-871-2155 for more information.

To comparison shop, contact the other two licensed park outfitters, Maui Mountain Cruisers (808-871-6014) and Maui Mountain Riders (808-242-9739). If you're looking for a more true-to-life biking experience, consider Haleakala Bike Company's 27-mile sunrise descent on 21-speed Fisher mountain bikes (call 808-572-2200). Expect to pay a scaled-down $59 per person, including a pre-cruise tour of the crater. For this price, though, there's no 3:30 a.m. wake-up call--you're on your own getting to the base.

As for other good riding on Maui, the only open-to-the-public bike trails are at 7,000 feet in the Poli-Poli/Kula Forest Reserve. Here you'll find about ten to 15 miles of singletrack, ideal for all ability levels, that wind through redwood and eucalyptus forests and gulches erupting with giant ferns. The Bike Shop (808-878-1535) in Kahaului, on the north coast, rents GT mountain bikes for $15 a day or $80 a week. They'll also be able to provide you with maps and additional trail information. Before you go, check out "True Hawaii" in the Destinations section of our March 1995 issue.

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