Our Favorite Motorcycle Routes to Ride in Hawaii

Nov 26, 2023


hawaii motorcycle routes, motorcycle routes in hawaii; woman on motorcycle in hawaii near ocean next to palm tree

The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, ten smaller islands, and 137 islets, all waiting to be explored. Not only is Hawaii a signature family destination, but it’s also a motorcyclist's paradise. Between touring the famous volcanic chains around the Big Island and cruising down the scenic H3 in Oahu, there are so many beautiful roads to travel. In this blog, we’ll be highlighting our all-time favorite motorcycle routes in Hawaii. 

Motorcycle Routes on Hawaii Island

Also known as the Big Island, Hawaii is home to the largest (and one of the most active) volcanoes in the world, Mauna Loa. It also has a second volcano, Mauna Kea, which offers sweeping island views. 

Circumnavigating the island on a bike means a 230-mile trip. You can decide whether to do this in a day or split it up into a couple of days. Wherever you travel, you’re accompanied by never-ending ocean vistas, truly unique sights, and smooth, curvy roads. The island is dotted with macadamia nut and coffee plantations that are great for country drives, as well as pristine sandy beaches that are great for coastal tours. Here are two routes that give you just some of what Hawaii has to offer.

Route 1 - Hamakua Coast (Hawaii Belt Road)

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  • Route Description: Start in Hilo and head north on Highway 19 (Hawaii Belt Road) towards Waipio Valley.
  • Scenery: This route offers lush landscapes, ocean views, and a chance to see some of the Big Island's beautiful waterfalls and botanical gardens. The road winds along the coast with dramatic sea cliffs and lush valleys.
  • Length: About 40-50 miles one way to Waipio Valley Lookout.
  • Road Condition: Well-maintained roads with some curves. Suitable for all skill levels. Be mindful of occasional rain in this region.
  • Points of Interest: Make sure to keep an eye out for Akaka Falls, Laupahoehoe Point, and Waipio Valley Lookout if you decide to take this route! You can learn the history and local legends of the impressive Akaka Falls or take in the unbelievable views of Laupahoehoe Point and Waipio Valley Lookout. 

Route 2 - Chain of Craters Road in Volcanoes National Park

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  • Route Description: Begin at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park entrance and take the Chain of Craters Road down to the coast.  Note that there is a $25.00 entrance fee for motorcycles to enter the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. However, the ride you get to take after is priceless! 
  • Scenery: This unique route descends from lush rainforest to a stark, lunar-like landscape of volcanic rock, offering views of craters, lava fields, and, if active, lava flows.
  • Length: Approximately 21.8 miles one way.
  • Road Condition: The road is well-paved but can have steep grades. Check for closures or restrictions due to volcanic activity.
  • Points of Interest: Thurston Lava Tube and the Holei Sea Arch are great pit stops to take during this ride. Enjoy the ride down, but make sure to take the time to see just how breathtaking these two landmarks are. If you’d like to start the excitement early on, take a detour and head over to Kilauea Caldera, just 2.5 miles west of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!

Motorcycle Routes on O’ahu Island

Nicknamed “the Gathering Place,” Oahu is the most developed island in the region. This is where Honolulu, the state capital and largest city, lies. Over 80 percent of all Hawaii’s residents live here, which makes the island vibrant, with a bustling nightlife and great restaurants. Looking to get out of the city for a bit? Try these amazing motorcycle day trips around Oahu to see all it has to offer. 

Route 1 - Windward Coast Ride

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  • Route Description: Start in Honolulu and take the Pali Highway (Route 61) north to Kailua. Continue on the same highway as it becomes the Kalanianaole Highway (Route 72) and follow the coast around the island's eastern side.
  • Scenery: This route offers stunning coastal views, lush greenery, and the opportunity to see some of Oahu's famous beaches, like Lanikai and Waimanalo.
  • Length: About 28-30 miles one way, depending on how far you take your journey. 
  • Road Condition: Well-maintained and mostly smooth roads. The route includes some curves and elevation changes but is generally suitable for riders of all skill levels.
  • Points of Interest: Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout, Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse, and several beautiful beaches along the coast await you if you decide to take this route. If you need a break from sitting during your rides, Nu’auanu Pali Lookout and Makapu’u Point Lighthouse offer fun walking trails with amazing views at the end! 

Route 2 - North Shore Loop

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  • Route Description: Start in Honolulu and take the H-2 Freeway north towards Wahiawa. Continue north on Kamehameha Highway (Route 83) towards North Shore.
  • Scenery: This route provides a diverse array of sceneries, from pineapple fields and agricultural lands to the famous surfing beaches of the North Shore.
  • Length: Approximately 40-50 miles one way.
  • Road Condition: Good quality roads with some traffic in popular areas. Be mindful of surfers and tourists in the Haleiwa area.
  • Points of Interest: Need a breather? The Dole Plantation, Waimea Bay Beach Park, Banzai Pipeline, and the historic town of Haleiwa are all available pit stops to take on this lengthy motorcycle ride! Enjoy a serving of the world-famous soft-serve at the Dole Plantation, or have a scoop of Haleiwa’s flavored shaved ice, a delicacy to all locals and visitors. 

Motorcycle Routes on Maui Island

The second largest island of Hawaii, “the Valley Isle,” is home to the 10,023-foot tall mountain crater of Haleakala. You’ll probably fly into Kahului, the commercial center of the valley with the two biggest shopping malls. On the island's west side, you’ll see the popular resort areas of Kapalua, Kaanapali, and Lahaina. High-end resorts, sandy beaches, five-star restaurants, and world-class golf courses await. Lahaina is the most visited spot in Maui, with over two million visitors a year.

Maui is also known for its diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery, offering fantastic motorcycle routes. Here are two recommended routes that are both scenic and suitable for motorcyclists:

Route 1 - Hana Highway (The Road to Hana)

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  • Route Description: Start in Kahului and follow the Hana Highway (Route 36/360) towards the small town of Hana.
  • Scenery: This iconic route is famous for its lush rainforests, waterfalls, and stunning coastal views. It's a winding road that takes you through some of Maui's most beautiful landscapes.
  • Length: Approximately 54 miles one way.
  • Road Condition: The road is narrow and winding, with over 600 curves and 59 bridges, a lot of which are one-lane. It requires cautious and attentive driving but offers an unforgettable experience.
  • Points of Interest: There are numerous spots for photo ops and great food when you cross paths with Paia Town, Twin Falls, Waianapanapa State Park, and Hana Town on this route. Paia Town and Hana Town offer delicious local food like Tobi's Poke & Shave Ice in Paia and Hana Ranch Restaurant in Hana Town. 

Route 2 - West Maui Loop

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  • Route Description: Start in Lahaina and follow the Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30) north, then continue on the Kahekili Highway (Route 340) around the West Maui Mountains.
  • Scenery: This route offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, and remote valleys. The northern part of the loop is less traveled and offers a more adventurous ride.
  • Length: About 63 miles for the complete loop.
  • Road Condition: The southern part of the loop is well-maintained and easy to navigate. The northern part (Route 340) is more challenging, with narrow, winding roads and some rough patches. It's recommended for more experienced riders.
  • Points of Interest: Enjoy Kapalua, Nakalele Blowhole, Kahakuloa Village, and stunning viewpoints along the coast while you venture out on this route! Get views from the neighborhood islands of Molokai and Lanai when visiting Kapalua, take a hike to see the Nakalele Blowhole in action, and learn how Kahakuloa Village was once a main population center during ancient times. 

Motorcycle Routes on Hawaii’s Smaller Islands

Smaller islands like Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai are also potential tourism destinations, though their small sizes limit how long motorcycle trips are. 

Kauai, known as the "Garden Isle," is a fantastic destination for motorcyclists, offering scenic routes that showcase the island's natural beauty. Lanai is a small island, but it offers some beautiful routes for motorcyclists. Molokai is larger than Lanai and offers a more diverse range of landscapes. Below are routes for each of these islands:

Route in Kauai Island - Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park

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  • Route Description: Start in Waimea and head north on Waimea Canyon Drive (Route 550) towards Koke'e State Park.
  • Scenery: This route takes you through Waimea Canyon, often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," offering breathtaking views of deep valley gorges, lush vegetation, and cascading waterfalls. As you continue towards Koke'e State Park, the scenery shifts to include alpine woodlands and stunning vistas of the Na Pali Coast.
  • Length: About 18 miles from Waimea to Koke'e State Park, but 22 miles if you stop over at the Kalalau Valley Lookout (which we recommend!)
  • Road Condition: The road is well-maintained but winding and includes several switchbacks. It's manageable for riders of all skill levels, but caution is advised due to the winding nature of the road.
  • Points of Interest: Drive your bike to Waimea Canyon Lookout and the Kalalau Valley Lookout for a chance to look at some breathtaking views. The Koke'e Natural History Museum is also en route, and we’d recommend going in to get an overview of Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park’s history! 

Route in Lanai Island - Road to Garden of the Gods

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  • Route Description: Start from Lanai City and head north towards the Garden of the Gods.
  • Scenery: This route offers a mix of coastal and inland views. The Garden of the Gods is a unique rock garden with stunning formations.
  • Length: Approximately 7 miles one way.
  • Road Condition: The road is paved but can be winding and narrow in places. Caution is advised.
  • Points of Interest: Garden of the Gods, or Keahiakawelo, is one of the very few pit stops that you’ll absolutely need your motorcycle to get up to, which makes it the perfect destination to stop at. If you’re a nature lover, this is the place for you, as it houses many geological wonders. 

Route in Molokai Island - Kamehameha V Highway Coastal Route

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  • Route Description: Start in Kaunakakai and follow Kamehameha V Highway east along the coast.
  • Scenery: This route offers beautiful coastal views, including beaches and cliffs.
  • Length: About 28 miles one way.
  • Road Condition: Well-maintained paved roads, some curves. Suitable for all skill levels.
  • Points of Interest: Take a break and learn some ground-breaking history at Halawa Valley. 

Motorcycle Rental in Hawaii With Riders Share

Whether you're planning to navigate the lush routes of Kauai or the iconic roads of Maui, Riders Share offers a diverse selection of bikes to suit your adventure. Our convenient, user-friendly service ensures a seamless rental experience, allowing you to focus on the breathtaking Hawaiian landscapes. With Riders Share, you're not just renting a bike; you're gearing up for an unforgettable ride across the islands. Visit our Hawaii Page to see motorcycle listings for your next vacation!

Let’s Wrap Up

Riding in the Hawaiian islands is an experience that all motorcyclists should try. There’s nowhere else in the world where you’ll get to experience superb topography. Hawaii offers something for everyone, from ultra-luxury resorts to laid-back surfing towns and secluded beaches. From Hawaii Island, Maui, and O’ahu to some of Hawaii’s smaller islands, there’s a breathtaking route for you everywhere. You may not be able to island hop with a motorcycle (unless you want to be swimming), but you can surely see so much of the beauty this paradise has to offer by sticking to any one of these routes.