Maui Bike Tours Shut Down

The National Park Service has suspended popular bike tours from the 10,000-foot summit of the Haleakala volcano on Maui after three deaths in less than a year. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has the story.

Some tour companies that start their trips around 6,500 feet of elevation, outside the national park, will be able to continue operations.

These bike rides have become one of the signature tourist attractions of Maui, just as helicopter rides above the mountains and canyons of Kauai have become the thing to do on that island.

I  did the helicopter thing on Kauai in 2004, after much lobbying by the kid and the husband. And I’ve always wanted to do one of these bike rides down the volcano, even though my timidity about downhill speed on my own mountain bike prompted the kid to call me "brake girl."

I guess we’ll find out when we get to Maui someday whether brake girl has the guts – or the opportunity – to do the volcano bike thing.


2 thoughts on “Maui Bike Tours Shut Down

  1. Sumit

    We did the bike trip from 6500 ft downhill once and went up Haleakala more than once. I would recommend starting outside the park for a few reasons –
    1. The tours that start outside the park are “self-guided”. You can bike down at your own pace, stop as you like and the descent is not too steep.
    2. Any tour from the summit is organized. You are in a pack of cyclists. And, given that the shepherd wants to keep a schedule, you will be herded to keep pace with the pack. [I am sounding too much like the sales person from the tour company I went with but there is an element of truth to it]. From the summit to the park entrance is relatively steeper and you are focused on experience the thrill of going downhill rather than enjoying the vistas. You get to stop on the way at a few designated stops BUT the timing is such that you have to share the road with those who are driving down in the cars (fast) to get to their breakfast or their beds after a cold morning on the summit.
    3. The rides from the summit are definitely more popular compared to the one we took. So, there are several people in the summit pack(s) while our group was small enough to fit in a van. This gaves us an advantage – the guide took us to a more secluded viewing point for the sunrise compared to where the summit bikers park. Gave us a better vantage point.
    Good luck in burning those brakes as you go downhill but don’t miss the views. I saw the most complete rainbow during that trip – ending on the back of a cow grazing in a meadow.

  2. Jeanne Leblanc

    Thanks, Sumit. Great info. Sounds like I’d prefer the less steep, less organized ride, too.
    (I’m still wondering whether I ought to start off around, maybe, 2,000 feet? Just to spare my nerves and the brake pads.) 😉


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