It is well documented that I crave adventure and challenge, especially when it comes to melding travel and extreme sports. When I find an activity that carries on from my daily life and can easily foray into something more of an exciting experience, say, going from my daily 10-speed commuter bike into mountain biking, I’m stoked. Upon finding such a thing, my natural inclination is to pack up and try it out in a new location.
North America has awesome bike trails, from coast to coast, and it’s tough to narrow it down to just a few regions. To narrow it down, I’ve focused outside of the continental U.S. and settled on Hawaii, which is rich with biking trails. But, choosing favorites must be done, so I’ve compiled a list of some of my top locations to hit the trails.
Who doesn’t love Hawaii? You’ve got a variety of terrain to explore, pristine natural beauty, a vibrant culture and an abundance of ways to spend your vacation. I usually try to hit a few islands every time I’m there, starting with Oahu. Oahu is great; user friendly and accommodating but also well-versed in the wild outdoors. There are lots of great Honolulu hotels like the Modern Honolulu that have ample space to bring along your gear, and most are located fairly near to many trails.
The dramatic, lush beauty of Kaawaa Valley against the backdrop of the majestic Koolau Mountain cliffs and the Pacific Ocean make this a truly unforgettable biking experience in Oahu. To get an idea of the difficulty of this place, keep in mind that the scenic dirt roads and challenging climbs through historic Hawaiian valley also serves as the site for the Hawaiian Mountain 24 Hours of Hell Mountain Bike Race and myriad other triathlons.
Lanai’s Garden of the Gods is by far one of the most mind-blowingly amazing trails. Lunar-like rock formations of varying sizes, shapes and colors make it unique to any other Hawaiian terrain, and is best experienced in the early morning hours. The light hits the boulders, bringing out the pure colors and casting incredible shadows. Accessing the garden via bicycle is highly encouraged, and with good reason.
Bisecting the island, Powerline Trail is an amazing path that starts in Wailua and is a grueling hill climb. It starts at an elevation of 620 feet, but quickly reaches an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet just five miles in. Fortunately, the worst is over and you are treated to a glorious descent into the Hanalei Valley on the north side of the island. The verdant rainforests full of native plants and flowers will reinforce Kauai’s nickname of the “Garden Island,” and the cruise down will get you geared up for another ride in no time!
[Image via Flickr/snowpeak]