Get off the Road in Hawaii

Flying Saucers in Hilo!!!

On this side of the island, we have several public courses which are certainly worth packing your favorite disc in your luggage.

There are two public disc courses downtown, one at UH and the other down by the beach at Wailoa, both have 18 'holes'. Here is hole 17 'tee' at Wailoa.

The pic and some great disc-golf info were taken from

Not surprisingly there are some serious disc golfers on the island and around the state. There is even a yearly Golf Championship somewhere in Hawaii. Here is a short video of that contest in 2014 when it was on the Big Island.

While not exactly in the neighborhood, Mackenzie Park, which is sorta close to Pahoa, is still a great park to visit especially if you find yourself driving along Puna's "Red Road" for other reasons. Since it is usually quiet and breezy, and right next to the cliff edge and ocean, this makes for an interesting place to golf - with a Frisbee at least. The trades blow in off the water helping to lift the discs away from the edge for the most part... though sadly, more than a few Frisbees have drowned after flying off the edge.

At the Head of Waipi'o Valley

A couple of miles inland from the Waipio Valley beach is an absolutely fabulous waterfall. The Big Island really is a great place to visit waterfalls for the most part. While it's true that someone in the planning department put most of the waterfalls away from roads, there is a fulfilling quantity to be experienced close-ish to paved roads anyway. This waterfall in Waipio, really does not meet that criteria as it is a bit of a hike to get back there. Also, you will also need to trespass on private property to get there.  I remember being shocked by how seriously locals take the idea of "private property" in general, being from off-island will not improve your situation either. My suggestion is to enjoy this photo, its nice isn't it?, and then take your exploration to some of the other waterfalls, many found at the end of a hike, across the windward side of Mauna Kea. If you are into adventuring - be forewarned that it is astonishingly easy to get lost in the jungle - waterfalls are found somewhere along every river gulch on the Hamakua Coast, and they are all awesome.

Lets take a dip!

It seems that "tropics" and "getting in the water" are nearly synomyous and while they usually go together, getting wet can often seem difficult despite being an island. We have a huge chunk of a tropical island in a very dry desert. Our ocean is often dangerous to get in, beach is at a premium and Puna is so porous that there are no streams there at all.

While I do not hear the Koi fish complaining (nor do I hear them say anything for that matter) our two Koi ponds are really not for getting into. Sure they are nice but I'd rather go to the beach.

There are two places closeby where one can get into the ocean, just a short walk down the road either way will get you there. I suggest you head left back towards Hilo. Its not even half a mile down to the beach and park that you will find next to Hakalau town and stream. The other direction to the right is only for those who want an adventure. If you do head right you'll go down to Umauma stream. You can probably find a trail and beat your way down that way, but no, the "park" is the other way and much more recommeded. Hakalau and this park are sweet little places. Usually both are quite sleepy but there is a local group working to keep it up. I took this picture from their website.

Hakalau Hawaii Beach Park
Discover the real Hawaii

Go take a Hike!

Hawaii island is big. It is hard to imagine just how huge it really is before returning from an island wide round trip. After that though you know... the Big Island really is huge.

It will be easy to fill your days with car trips if you don't plan ahead on a hike. I recommend at least one day hiking, makes you really feel like you went somewhere, if nothing else! And honestly it is really close to impossible to experience the Hawaiian wilderness from your car or rest stop. A whole other Hawaii opens up for you when you get a mile or so off the road. So I like encouraging the moderately fit to spend at least one day trekking.

Much of the island is genuine wilderness with very few humans ever happening by. The main reason it is so, is that there are few passable roads here. Much of the island is really quite hard to get to by car though there are miles and miles of trails available which are ideal for a day hike. While this is not in Volcanoes Park nor out in Kohala one fairly long hike is the Pu'u O'o trail in the Waiakea Forest Reserve. The 7+ mile round trip is long but not with strenuous elevation changes. You'll get to experience lava flows of many ages, as well as rain forest in several stages of development.


The best information I can find for you is from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife here. Find the Saddle Rd just out of Hilo and head on over to Kona. About 23 miles up start looking for a sign of the Pu'U O'o trail on the left. There is not much parking. Expect it to be cool enough for long pants and a sweater. If you don't like hiking soaked then bring some rain gear, rain can come in the blink of an eye.


The following pic and the one above are from where you will find lots of other great hiking in Hawaii information.





See it on your bike!

I just love biking in general... though I think I only tolerate the uphill parts. I often find myself on dirt roads and trails usually all alone. I know plenty of hikers and still do a fair amount myself, but on a bike I can easily go 3 times as far. Moving quietly, like a bike can allow you, often gets you close to the wildlife... bird songs and the song of the breeze... Heck I even just like the silence pervading the Hawaii wilderness.

On the Hamakua coast there is quite a bit of good biking roads. You can find many old sections of the Mamalahoa Hwy. that have become fairly unused since the new Highway was put in. There is a nice long section that starts right by the Oceanfront Legacy in Hakalau. There are also several nice roads that go up the mountain a piece.

Up the road a few miles by Honokaa and Paauhau is the Nanaina Kai Rd with lots of twisty coast, gulch and jungle road which I think is ideal.

The photo below is from Hilo Bike Hub

Also to the south in Puna is the long Kalapana/Kapoho Rd which I just love. A great deal of it goes through old mango jungle and don't forget the hot pools along the way. You may hear it still called the Red Road from using red cinder in the asphalt.

For basic bike ride descriptions this site is great. A long list with brief descriptions:

Did I mention volcano yet? How about the green sand beach? The scenic road from Waimea to Hawi? Did you really not reserve your bike yet?

So how does one find a bike to ride over here? Assuming biking is not your life then you probably won't be taking your ride on the plane. If that is the case then I recommend the Hilo Bike Hub at 318 E Kawili St. in Hilo. See if you can get a rack to put it on the back of your car.

One last thing, depending on your experience level, biking on busy roads demands a bit extra skill and focus. I don't recommend most island highways just because the roads are too narrow and cars drive too fast. And since there are so many trails and back roads is there really any need to your holiday time riding in traffic?