Mountain Biking and Horseback Riding on Lana‘i

Companies have rented out bikes to island visitors in the past, but currently the only way to procure a bike on Lana‘i is to either know someone locally or bring one over on the ferry from Maui. Seeing as there are only 30 miles of paved road on the entire island (compared to over 400 which are unpaved), Lana‘i is an island more suited to mountain biking than road cycling. Although there isn’t any single-track, the hunting roads and old pineapple roads crisscrossing the island are a mountain biker’s dream terrain.

Intermediate riders can pedal the seven miles of dirt road leading out to the Garden of the Gods, or more advanced riders can make the 3,300-foot descent from the summit of Lana‘ihale, down the Munro Trail, hook up with the Awehi Trail, and end at a deserted white sand beach.

For clear skies and dry conditions, it’s best to hike Munro Trail in the morning hours before enveloping clouds blow in on the trades.
For clear skies and dry conditions, it’s best to hit the Munro Trail in the morning hours before enveloping clouds blow in on the trades. Photo © Starr Environmental, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Logistics are always an issue with Lana‘i mountain biking, however, and unless you’re into a leg-burning ascent after your downhill ride, a one-way transport will need to be arranged. If riding on the Awehi Trail, Naha Trail, or anywhere on the island’s “back side,” tire-puncturing kiawe thorns can be a pesky issue, so pack a pump and an extra tube.

If mountain biking sounds a little too intense, horseback is a great way to get out and explore. Lana‘i is as steeped in its ranching heritage as anywhere else in Hawaii. Many forget this island was one huge sheep and cattle ranch where paniolos on horseback roamed the terrain. Though cattle no longer roam free on the island’s barren slopes, the island’s ranching heritage lives on. Currently, the Stables at Koele (1 Keomuku Hwy., 808/563-9385) are closed for renovation, but will reopen along with the attached Four Seasons Resort when complete. Until then, you can book through Hotel Lana‘i. Keep an eye out for axis deer or mouflon sheep as you ride at your own pace on excursions geared to your skill level. The knowledgeable guides fortify the excursion with tales of the island’s history and inside local info.

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