Makawao State Forest Reserve

One of the lesser known places to bike is the Makawao State Forest. Located up slope of the town of Makawao, this ride offers a very challenging adventure into an interesting variety of forests. The main ride up through the forest is only 2 miles long, with some offshoot rides. What makes this ride challenging is that its steep and technical. Caution! This ride is best done when its dry , which isn't very often. I prefer to climb up the trail and descend via Olinda Road. This climb can be downright dangerous to descend when wet. Much of the terrain is made up of clay that can be unbelievably slippery. What may deceptively appear to be a smooth ride can be like ice under the veil of fallen leaves. Its hard to control your speed if you choose to descend it. Ruts, broken branches, rocks, drop offs and freshly dug areas (by wild pigs) add to the technical aspect. To get here, less than a half mile east of the center of Makawao, at Saint Joseph's Church, is Piiholo Road. Climb this road for 1.6 miles and 450 vertical feet later on your left will be Waiahiwi Road (dead end). Continue on this road for 2.1 miles more and an additional 1200' gain in elevation. Follow the paved road to its end, about a half mile after the Makawao State Forest Sign. Your now at Upcounty Maui's water pumping station. Climb over the gate at the road's end and begin the dirt ride. After a short steep drop the former 4wd road curves left and its all uphill from here.



Check out this video of the Kahakapao Trail in the Makawao State forest made by Eric Sodano.






You're almost there.


Some old sugar cane and mud awaits you here.


This part looks easy, it is......when dry.


The road shrinks down to almost singletrack. Watch out for Hawaiian raspberry branches, they can leave you bleeding.


This section looks cool.


About a mile up the trail, at around 3400', the lower mixed forest evolves into a Koa and pine forest with ginger plants all around. Large eucalyptus make up the upper portions of this ride. Pictured is some flowering ginger.


Into the clouds, this jeep road continues up through private ranch land (keep out), til just below the entrance to Haleakala National Park.


Here's the view looking west.

You,ve reached the end of the climb when the road "t's". Going left continues in the forest area and going right, the way out, passes below a resevoir. Follow this road. At 3/4 miles is another gate. At 1.3 miles is still another and the beginning of paved road. .4 mile further the road divides, keep left (pine forest direction) and this road will bring you back to the center of Makawao (Olinda Road). Just down Olinda Road on your left is Waihou Springs Trail. (bikes not allowed) 5 miles further and 2400' lower, is Makawao. Watch your speed on this curvy, steep, residential, all-downhill road. Enjoy.

To The Koolau State Forest