Mountain biking at the Makawao Forest Reserve
A short 10-15 min drive from Krank Cycles front door, if you choose to ride a bike to Makawao Forest be prepared for a 35-45 min all uphill climb before you get on single track. Within the the Kahakapao Recreation Area, is the perfect place for riders of all ages and ability levels. There are seven trails and three skill areas in the Forest Reserve. With terrain suitable for beginners as well as the all-mountain Enduro expert. The first 100 yards of trailhead will clear your sinus due to the strong smell of massive eucalyptus trees surrounding you. Wind blowing through the Cook Pine grove make’s it hard to believe that, this too, is Hawaii. Most who visit are in agreement that a day mountain biking around this forest is much more than one of those bike tours down the volcano! Enter the Makawao Forest Reserve Trails and you will fine many multi-use trails that are open for hiking and horseback riding. All trails are marked with red arrows and there are maps posted at the trail intersections.
Makawao Forest Reserve Pump Track & Skills Area
Pineapple Express a.k.a. Downhill Flow Trail. Everything on this mountain bike trail is ridable by everyone. Period. Whether you’re a five-year-old ripper, an expert, or a 70-year-old grandpa, this trail holds true to it’s name. It’s all about flow. The two-mile downhill trail (downhill traffic ONLY) is packed with table tops that can be rolled by a beginner or intermediate riders or doubled up by big-air riders. Designed by Trail Solutions and local IMBA Chapter—Maui Mountain Bike Coalition, there’s also a 10-foot tall, 30-foot long curved wall that looks like something you’d see on the trails in Whistler, B.C. The red dirt is fast when dry, but can get a little greasy when it rains. If you don’t have a big smile after dropping 1,300 feet of elevation on this trail, we suggest riding it again.
Fong Ridge Trail Access. The Fong Ridge Trail is a service road that parallels the Pineapple Express/Downhill Flow Trail. It’s a great option for riders with long-travel downhill mountain bikes who are pushing up to the top to ride down. Pushing up this road takes about 20 minutes less than pushing up the Kahakapao East Loop Trail.
Kahakapao East Loop Trail. This trail has the added level of difficulty of roots, tight switchback corners and an average of just over a seven-percent grade. It’s just a bit shorter than the West Loop Trail but more technical. Also one of Makawao Forest Reserve Trails that uses a two-way traffic trail, it takes riders through eucalyptus and pine trees and over their roots. There’s also a section of trail that passes through tropical plants (take time to smell the flowers in this section, particularly the white ginger!).The East Loop tends to be wetter than the West Loop Trail, so plan your ride accordingly—if it’s raining or has been raining, be ready for slippery conditions.
Kahakapao West Loop Trail. This is the easier way to the top and connects with the Kahakapao East Loop Trail, Pineapple Express/Downhill Flow Trail and the Renegade Trail. The West Loop Trail climbs just over 2 miles and includes single track and plenty of places where the terrain flattens. It’s a two-way traffic trail that travels over some roots and a few switchbacks. It’s less technical than the East Loop Trail and also tends to be drier.
Renegade Trail. This is the Throwback Thursday Trail. It’s the trail that started it all, the first mountain bike single track at the Makawao Forest Reserve Trails. The Renegade Trail is a two-way traffic trail and is as challenging to climb as it is to descend. There’s a lot of exposed off-camber roots, narrow trail sections, and hair-pin turns. One section borders the gulch and is extra challenging. Renegade is a true cross-country mountain bike trail.
Note: All the trails listed above intersect at the top so that those riding up the East, West, Renegade, or pushing up Fong Ridge can easily access the Pineapple Express/Downhill Flow Trail trailhead.
The Ravine Trail. The Renegade Trail and the Kahakapao West Loop intersect with the Ravine Trail to keep the thrill ride going. The Ravine Trail is like a little brother to the Pineapple Express/Downhill Flow Trail. Like it’s name, it borders on a huge, picturesque ravine, and it includes berms and a mini-rhythm section that smoothly empties back onto the end of the Kahakapao West Loop Trail.
Tweener Trail. This is a short section of single track trail that links the Kahakapao West Loop Trail to the mountain bike skills area and Makawao forest reserve trails parking lot. Rather than ride the double-track fire road up to the start of the Kahakapao West Trail or to finish your ride, take the Tweener Trail.
Skills Area: For Novice, Intermediate, & Expert Riders
Because there are trails for every rider ability, the Makawao Forest Trails also have skill areas and pump tracks to help riders hone their existing bike skills and take their bike riding skills to the next level.
‘Akahi Akahi Skills Area includes berms and small teeter toter to build the mountain bike skills of novice and beginner riders. The Hawaiian word ‘Akahi Akahi means inexperienced or trying it out for the first time. This skills area is the first area on the right as you enter the trailhead from the parking lot.
Pauma Skills Area is made up of two pump tracks. The Hawaiian word Pauma means to pump. This area includes an uphill skills area and is meant for intermediate riders. This skills area is on the left across from the ‘Akahi Akahi area.
Akamai Skills Area contains a wooden step-up jump. Step-up jumps are learning tools for riders who are ready to catch air with their bicycles. The Hawaiian word Akamai means expert, smartness, or to show off. There are also other jumps and berms for riders to hone their already expert skills. This skills area is located on the right just after the beginner area and is always a hit venue at the Makawao Forest Reserve Trails.