WRITTEN BY: KRISTINE HANSEN
Mountain Biking Trails in Honolulu
Often the best way to soak up an island is on foot—and that includes pedaling a mountain bicycle on the trails. Honolulu—Oahu’s largest city—features many outdoor-adventure sports that are convenient to the port and city center. Because Honolulu is right on the southeast tip of Oahu, stunning views are practically guaranteed during your bike ride.
Because there is so much open land outside of Honolulu, you’ll want to research the best trails for your ability and choose one that best maximizes the time you have in port. Here are four trails that are perfect for mountain biking in or near Honolulu.
Ohana Trail in Kailua
Considered a moderate-to-intermediate-level trail, the Ohana Trail is in Kailua. Although it’s on the other side of the island, if you’re traveling northeast, this is only a 30-minute car ride from Honolulu. Along the 6.2-mile trail are moderate climbs leading up to the last 1.5 miles, which are steep descents. Expect stunning ocean views as you ride the trail.
Maunawili Valley’s 9.3-mile Demonstration Trail
This trail is tucked into a residential neighborhood eight miles northeast of Honolulu. Maintained by the state, the trail snakes through tropical rainforest from the Pali Highway at Horseshoe Curve to Waimanalo and includes a hiking destination: Maunawili Falls. Elevation along the trail fluctuates and can turn quite muddy after a rain shower.
St. Louis Trail
If you’re short on time, but still want to squeeze in a ride, consider St. Louis Trail, within Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area, a state park in the northeast portion of Honolulu. You can even take bus #14 (which has a bus rack) to the top if you don’t have access to a vehicle.
The Peacock Flats to Kaelia Loop
This trail is 21 miles and popular with locals, ascending to around 5,000 feet. Access via the Dillingham Airfield Tower parking lot, which is about 30 miles from Honolulu near Waialua; the Mokuleia Access Road is near here, connecting with the Mokuleia Firebreak Road, followed by the Kuaokala Ridge Trail and the Kealia Trail. Note that the Kealia Trail is very steep and marked by tight switchbacks and cliffs
What to Wear on Your Mountain Bike Ride
Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and dress comfortably, with socks that cover your ankles (no anklets). Although Honolulu’s temperatures range between the 60s and 80s, and rain showers tend to be brief, choosing breathable clothing ensures you are always comfortable. Sunglasses help block intense sun so you can always see what’s on the road in front of you. (Blind spots are what you want to avoid.)
Consider a Bike Share or a Guided Tour
While recreational mountain biking in Honolulu is popular, it’s also a bike-friendly city that—per capita—has a high number of cyclists. There are two bike-sharing programs: Bikeshare Hawaii and Secure Bike Share (“Biki” bikes). The League of American Bicyclists awarded Honolulu a Bronze ranking as a “bicycle–friendly community.” For the scoop on two Honolulu parks that are bike-friendly, check out this link from the Hawaii Bicycling League.
ShoreTrips offers two mountain-bike tours in Honolulu to help you get off trail with ease. By leaving the navigation to a skilled guide, you can better focus on the lush greenery and rugged shorelines surrounding you.
Once you’ve experienced Honolulu’s wild, natural side from the seat of a mountain bike, you won’t regret it. Hawaii’s largest city is a haven for outdoor adventure and many travelers flock here just for the opportunity.