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Kauai "The Garden Island"

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 222 miles / 357.3 km
  • Ride Time: A Weekend (2 days)
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $16.87
  • State: Hawaii
Submitted by:

Aloha! Just returned from a business trip to Kauai, HI. Yea, it was a tough assignment but someone must do it. I had one day off and 8 hrs to rent a bike and do this fantastic ride. I'm from upstate NY so it was a rare opportunity to ride in beautiful Kauai, the garden island of Hawaii. I rented a Buell XB12 Ulysses from Kauai H-D. Riding alone I wanted to cover as much of the island as I could; only stopping briefly for a few moments here & there. From KHD I went west on Kaumuali'i Hwy (Rt50) to almost the end of the road at the Pacific Missile Range. The western part of the island is more dry almost arid, but beautiful. I past thru a number of small towns: Kalaheo, Ele'ele, Hanapepe, Waimea, Kekaha. After turning back at the Pacific Missile Range I turned left onto Koke'e Rd (Rt 552) and continued up the Waimea Canyon State Park (Rt 550B). This is the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. The views & elevation is fantastic. The roads are twisty & tight in some areas with poor pavement the further up you go. Pay attention to your riding and other drivers as they are looking at the scenery not the road. At the top I turned around at the Pu'u o Kila Lookout. This gives you a bird's eye view of the rugged and beautiful Napali Coast. I went down Rt550B but stayed left at the fork and continued down Waimea Canyon Drive (Rt550A) until it connects back to Kaumuali'i Hwy (Rt50) in Waimea. Beautiful contrast in mountains, canyons and blue & turquise ocean.I then backtracked on Rt50 and took Rt 530 Koloa Rd into Koloa and down along Po'ipu Rd. along one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and one that is one of the top rated beaches in the world. Fantastic! This is a higher end resort & residential area and I looped around the beach community until taking Maluhia Rd. (Rt520) this road includes the famous & beautiful 'Tunnel of Trees'. Bordering adjacent farmland and mountains each side of the road is lined by eucalyptus trees (I think) planted many years ago that have formed a canopy or tunnel for a little less than a mile long. This road joins up again with Rt50. Turn right and head east towards the more tropically lush north & east part of Kauai. I rode through Lihue, the most urban of towns and headed north on Kuhio Hwy (Rt56). I should interrupt to state that the island poulation is approx. 80K people and even more chickens. They escaped during hurricane Iniki in '92 and have bred wild since. They are everywhere. The pace of driving is slow & polite here. no speeding. Be patient Brudda! The people of Kauai are beautiful, kind and helpful. Whenever I stopped even briefly I would say Aloha, Howzit! Always a smile and a brief polite exchange. I wish I had more time with them. Kuhio Hwy(Rt56) is a busy road but with lots of small towns, shops, restaurants and side roads and natural attractions to visit from a lighthouse, beaches, waterfalls, etc. No lack of scenery, just not enough time. Kauai is also a paradise for Hollywood filmmakers. The list of films shot here is long & impressive. That legacy continues and you can get a map of where all the famous film spots are to visit. I continued north through Kapa'a all the way up to Kilauea and into Hanalei. But I did not see Puff the Magic Dragon. Instead just one outstanding beach after another. Hanalei is a beauty. Laid back, comfortable island style. Still small & cozy but it can get busy with only one road in & out and the area is sprinkled with several one lane bridges. Courtesy is to let 5 or 6 vehicles over at a time in each direction. No horn honking as it is most impolite. Be patient and take in the scenery while you wait. I stopped in Hanalei for a shave ice and a rest. The farthest I got was the Makua 'Tunnels' Beach. Over time the waves have carved out expansive tunnels into the beachside cliffs which you can walk into and doa quick exploration. Very cool. Sadly it was just after 3pm. I had to return the bike by 5pm. Remember no speeding. If you get up to 50mph on the better roads for short sprints that's a lot. I backtracked on the KuhioHwy (Rt56) back to Lihue and Kauai Harley Davidson.Altogether, I logged just over 200 miles in about 7.5 hrs. The Buell Ulysses was a good choice for this ride. Probably my only chance at riding one as H-D pulled the plug on Buell last fall. It was well suited to the task. Kauai is a beautiful place to ride, visit, meet people and explore & relax. I accomplished my goal but i wish I had another day or two to take a slower pace with more lengthy stops and take in the local culture and food. I can truly say it was one of the best days I've ever spent in the saddle. As soon as I can get out from under my son's college tuition I want to plan to go back for pleasure not business.Aloha & Mahalo!Roy DennyRhinebeck, NY

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Hawaii. This motorcycle route has 5 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by roy005 in May. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by roy005

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Kauai
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Kauai
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Kauai
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Kauai
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Kauai

Ride Scenery:

BeachesOceanParksMountainsFarm Land

Best Time to Go


Road Characteristics:

Straight RoadTwisty RoadHillyLight TrafficAverageAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

Anonymous_Motorcyclist says:

My wife and I both rented at Kauai HD and rode 4 days on the island. The HD dealership was awesome. It boasts that it is the farthest west HD dealrship. By far, Waimea canyon was awesome. The short distance, but elevation gain was spectacular. It is a green Grand Canyon. The overlooks all the way up are beautiful. About 1/2 way up, there is a check station for hunters and there is a pen next to the station with lost hunting dogs. If you can, stop and water/feed the dogs. There is supposed to be food in the can next to the pen and there is water on site. The SW side of the island does turn almost arid like the desert before you reach the Waimea canyon road. The Kauai coffee company is on the side of the road and smells great. In Kapaa, on the west shore, there is a family restaurant called Ono Family Restaurant. They serve the most awesome Portugese sausage soup. We stayed in Princeville just south of Hanalei. The road goes north and dead ends into a bay. That is the last point you can reach on that part of the island. The Napali coast starts there and there are only hiking trails. Just south of Princeville is Anini Beach. It is a short ride along the coast mixed with homes and beach rentals as well as state beach parks. The road forom Princeville back to Kapaa and Lihue is a scenic ride with glimpses of the coast and many views of the mountains. Although it is only 26 miles from Princeville to Lihue, it takes about 45 minutes. SH580 at Wailua goes to a very narrow, completely paved, jungle road. It is beautiful with views of a waterfall on the way up on the right, Opaekaa Falls. Keep in mind the speed limits are 50 mph maximum. Many areas drop to 35 and even 25 mph. There are chickens everywhere on the island and are protected by the State, but I had not encountered any issues with riding. Also, keep in mind it rains on different parts of the island every day. Out of 7 days in the 1st week of September, it was not an inconvenience. The rain only lasted 5-10 minutes max. All in all, absolutely beautiful riding when compared to North Texas. We are glad we rented bikes and rode while there.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

abishop says:

Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM


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