Downhill bike ride kauai. Waimea Canyon & Na Pali Driving Tour app

They didn’t film Jurassic Park here for nothing!

Waimea Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth, in our opinion, anyway! The canyon is about 10 miles in length and 3,000’ deep. “Waimea” means “reddish water” in Hawaiian. The canyon has a unique and spectacular reddish hue to it. quite scenic. This bike climb is through Waimea Canyon State Park consisting of 1,866 acres. Waimea Canyon is referred to as The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

The average grade on this climb is 4.1% (5.9% if descent is eliminated from the gradient equation). 20% (3.8 miles) of the climb is descent, 27% (5.2 miles) is at 0-5% grade, 49% (9.5 miles) is at 5-10%, and 3.5% (0.7 miles) is at grade 10-15%. The steepest quarter-mile is 10.4% and steepest continuous mile 8.1%.

Parking: I parked on the side of the road at the start of the climb. Map; Street View. Or, you could park in Kekaha, a half-mile from the start of the climb.

Provisions: At the Kokee Lodge at mile 15.5. This is a nice little restaurant and market. Map; Street View.

Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don’t forget anything.

There are many wonderful hikes to do in Waimea Canyon State Park. See AllTrails. Waimea Canyon State Park page for more information. Also visit the Kokee Natural History Museum, and have a bite at the Kokee Lodge at mile 15.5: Map; Street View.

If you are looking for a place to stay on Kauai there are several different hotels and resorts to choose from or there are several homes to rent on the island.


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Highest, longest, most awesome climb I’ve ever done! I rented a nice specialized bike through spinlister while on vacation in Kauai and the day was the pinnacle of my cycling life. The road is really good, but does have some rough patches towards the end. I’d recommend avoiding the 550 in Waimea and take the 552 in Kekaha, as there is less traffic. There often is no shoulder to speak of, but most drivers were respectful on my ride. I parked by some sports fields in Waimea, and rolled over to Kekaha to start the climb. Salt Pond beach on the drive back was a great place to take a quick dip to refresh after the ride.




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Cycling Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

Climb summary by PJAMM Cycling’s John Johnson.

Waimea Canyon. one of the most scenic bike climbs in the US and world.


The traditional and more popular route up Waimea Canyon is via Kokee Road. ride 19.2 miles to elevation 4,193’ gaining 4,787’ (there are a lot of rollers) at 4.1% average grade. The steepest mile on this climb is 8.1% near the beginning of the climb (mile 0.8 to 1.8).

Start of the Kokee Road (Highway 552) climb.

See our summary for the Highway 550 route below

Ride through a mini canyon during our first 6.5 miles up the Kokee route.

Cycling Waimea Canyon from Kokee Road and Highway 550.

Pu’u O Kila Lookout. end of the climb, top of the world!

Waimea Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth, in our opinion, anyway! The canyon is about 10 miles in length and 3,000’ deep. “Waimea” means “reddish water” in Hawaiian. The canyon has a unique and spectacular reddish hue to it, making it quite scenic. This bike climb is through Waimea Canyon State Park. consisting of 1,866 acres. Waimea Canyon is referred to as “ The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

Selected photos from PJAMM’s January 2019 Waimea Canyon ride.

Some of the most spectacular views you will ever experience on a bike climb are from the top of the Waimea Canyon climb by bike, including Waimea Canyon Lookout (mile 10.5), Pu’uhinahina Lookout (mile 13.8), and Pu’u O Kila Lookout (end of the climb. mile 19.2).

Waimea Canyon Lookout. 10.5 miles up the Kokee route.

And the #1 reason to cycle Waimea Canyon

You can stop anywhere you want!

This photo taken at mile 10.8 by hopping the guardrail.

Pu’u Hinahina Lookout. 13.8 miles up the Kokee Route.

Kalalau Valley Lookout at mile 18.

VOG (volcanic fog) impaired our view in January 2023.

Pu’U O Kila Lookout. at the end of the road.

Pu’u O Kila Lookout on a clearer day. photo by Julian Fong.

Waipo’o Falls is framed by our spokes.

There are provisions at the bottom of the climb (Waimea), at Waimea Canyon Lookout (mobile), and at the Kokee Lodge and Campground, mile 15.4:

Kokee Lodge and Campground

This is a great place to eat. we highly recommend it.

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Much of the movie Jurassic Park was filmed in Waimea Canyon, including the famous helicopter canyon and waterfall scene.

The less traveled bicycle route up Waimea Canyon is via Highway 550. ride 18.7 miles to 4,068’ gaining 4,486’ at 4.2% average grade. The steepest half-mile on this climb begins at mile 15.4 and is 8.5%. This is more scenic beginning route for the Waimea Canyon climb. Along the 6.7 miles before its merge with Kokee Road, there are several points where we can see the southern portion of Waimea Canyon which is not visible for the first segment of the Kokee Road route. However, traffic is much heavier on the Highway 550 route than on Kokee Road.

Highway 550 route just after start and before intersection with Kokee (552).

Merge with the Kokee route at mile 6.7.


Six miles out-and-back gaining 1,945’. considered moderately challenging.

Three miles out-and-back gaining 1,066’. rated moderately challenging.

Where to stay and route to the start of the climb from there :

This from PJAMM contributor Grant Berry (two-time cyclocross US National Champion) regarding his stay in and trip to Waimea Canyon from Poipu: “Traffic was ok from Poipu to 550. I took as many back roads as possible because Koloa Road can be super sketchy on that section. The shoulder is good from Port Allen on. We stayed in a VRBO condo in Poipu. decent area for riding in general and probably the best place to stay to climb Waimea on a bike I would think!”

Waimea Canyon ride report. Ray Gurzynski of Woodinville, WA : I took route 552 (aka Kokee Road) out of Kekaha, steadier grade overall with less steep roller/kicker sections than route 550 (the actual Waimea Canyon road). I did this not to avoid steepness but because it gets less traffic than 550.


Located on the southeast side of the island (about 5 miles from the airport), the shop sits centrally located to all the major resorts and trails. The closest trail to the shop is only 1 mile away, making a day rental the best option for a visitor.

  • Daily to weekly rentals.
  • Cruisers to full suspension bikes available for rental and for sale.
  • Stocked Bike Shop.
  • Full Service and Repairs.

How to get in touch:

Website: : com/kauaicycle Phone: (808) 821-2115 Email: Address: 4-934 Kuhio Hwy Kapaa, HI 96746

Hours of operation Mon – Fri 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Sunday Closed – Gone Riding

Located on the north shore of the island, the Bike Doktor offers limited service. Be sure to check them out if you are up in the area.

How to get in touch:

Website: : com/NorthShoreBikeDoktor Phone: (808) 826-7799 Email: N/A Address: 5-5052 Kuhio Hwy Hanalei, Hawaii 96714

Hours of operation Tues – Fri 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Sun – Mon Closed – Gone Riding All hours subject to surf.


Using Strava’s famous global heatmap I was able to pinpoint popular trails on the island. Click each snip to open Strava’s heatmap.

North Shore: Powerline Trail

The Powerline Trail is one of Kauai’s most famous trail/jeep road. Towards the south side of the trail lies two posts on either side of the road marking the famous Jurassic Park entrance. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just google “jurassic park entrance kauai”.

On the northern end of the trail looks to be some singletrack trails that spurs off the main powerline trail.

East Side: Moalepe Road Trail and Sleeping Giant Trail

The popular Moalepe road trail seen on the left side of the image below is a great loop trail that passes through lush greenery and past the rainbow eucalyptus. The trail from the intersection of Waipouli and Olohena road to route 580 is about 4 miles long with only 630 feet of elevation change. Connect the Sleeping Giant trail (right side of image) and start from Kapaa, you are looking at a loop that is near 18 miles long and has 1,800 feet of elevation.

Kalepa Mountain Forest Reserve

This little trail system seems to be quite popular on the island as there are a number of segments posted on Strava. The only concern is that the trails are not marked. The trails are built up and around Kalepa Mountain so if you don’t see the ocean on one side you know you are on the west side, thus preventing you from getting too lost.

West Side: Waimea Canyon Dirt Roads

If you are looking to climb and gring some gravel or dirt roads, try the roads that finger off the main Waimea Canyon Route 550. From the looks of them, most are about 3 miles long and descend down towards the ocean, leaving about a 1,500 foot climb back to the main road. Beware some trails might be hiking only.

Bike Tours:

Outfitters KauaiDownhill Bike Tour

Don’t feel like pedaling or working too hard? Bike down 3,600 feet on the Kokee Road with Outfitters Kauai. For 109 they will bus you to the top and provide you with a beach cruiser to coast down the open road. Might be something worth doing with a family. In my own opinion does not seem to be worth 100, but that seems to be the going rate for tourist things on Kauai. If you want to get wet, checkout Kauai Backcountry for their sugar plantation canal tubing.

Helicopter Tour:

Then if you have extra time, I highly recommend that you take a helicopter tour around the island of Kauai. It is the best way to see all the sites. My wife and I went on the Safari Helicopters tour and really enjoyed it. Below is a short recap video of our tour that I put together with individual clips filmed on my eken H9r action camera. Look past the name as I only titled the video that way for SEO optimization.

Downhill bike ride kauai

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Kauai, Waimea Canyon & Nā Pali Coast, Driving a Mustang. Hawaii Part 7

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Waimea Canyon Tour

There are lots of tours of Waimea Canyon so make sure that you pick the one that’s right for you! Here are 10 of the best Waimea Canyon tours for you to choose from.

Entire Kauai Island Air Tour

Price: 169 per person

Duration: 1 hour

Departs From: Lihue Airport, Kauai

Rating: 5/5 (680 reviews) Best Tour

What’s Included: For breathtaking sights for visitors to soar over the entire Garden Island on this air journey of Kauai. Get the best vantage point of the natural attractions like Waimea Canyon, Opaekaa Falls, the wild Na Pa Coast, and Mt Waialeale from above aboard a plane built for sightseeing. During this exciting flight, your certified pilot will explain everything.

Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride

Price: 144 per person

Duration: 4 hours

Departs From: Hanapepe, Kauai

Rating: 5/5 (260 reviews)

What’s Included: We take you to some of the most memorable and historic lookouts in three state parks like the Puu Hinahina lookout and the Waimea Canyon lookout, we go on a bucket list-style coasting downhill bike ride, and we descend down to the ocean breeze just as the sun is setting over the island and watch the ocean waves.

Private Waimea Canyon Tour

Price: 280 per person

Duration: 7.5 hours

Departs From: Lihue, Kauai

Rating: 5/5 (120 reviews)

What’s Included: On a full-day private tour of the island’s lovely terrain, beautiful sites, and historic monuments, you’ll get to see the best of Kauai. Sample some locally grown beans at the Kauai Coffee Company in old-fashioned Hanapepe Valley, and gaze down Waimea Canyon from Captain Cook’s trail; discover the last Russian fort on Hawaii and marvel at stunning views of Waimea Canyon.

Feel the mist off Waipo’o Falls, watch the Spouting Horn lava tube erupt out of lava rock, and watch for sea turtles in a sheltered cove before finishing your tour with a visit to stunning Wailua Falls.

Kauai’s Waimea Canyon and South Side Private Guided Tour

Price: 640 per group (up to 6)

Waimea Canyon Drive Kauai Best Driving Cycling & Motorcycle Road in Hawaii 4K

Duration: 6.5 hours

Departs From: Pickup/Dropoff Included

Rating: 5/5 (50 reviews)

What’s Included: Swap the big, crowded tour buses for a unique journey around Kauai on your own. This exclusive private trip takes you to some of Kauai’s most beautiful locations.

You’ll begin by going to the Waimea Canyon and stroll along a nature trail that leads to its very edge. Afterward, you’ll go across the island to see Spouting Horn, Poipu Beach, and the Makauwahi Sinkhole Cave on the southern side.

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Kauai Waimea Canyon Koke’e Valley w/ Lunch

Price: 170 per person

Duration: 10 hours

Departs From: Pickup/Dropoff Included

Rating: 4/5 (40 reviews)

What’s Included: On this guided excursion, explore the natural beauty of Kauai’s Waimea Canyon. Learn about the fascinating geologic history of the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and stop at various viewpoint spots along the route for spectacular photos.

Visit the historic island settlement of Hanapepe to see sights on Kauai’s southern coast, including Koloa Sugar Mill, Spouting Horn blowhole, and Poipu’s luxurious beach resorts.

Kauai Shore Excursion: 55-minute Helicopter Adventure Flight

Price: 349 per person

Duration: 1 hour

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