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biking down the Haleakala volcano

Sydney, Australia
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biking down the Haleakala volcano

How dangerous/difficult is biking down the volcano,My hubby is a great bike rider my daughter (12 years) and I are average riders,I am deciding whether busing it back down the volcano might be a safer option

Chicagoland
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1. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

This is a true 'tourist activity'. There are so many other great things to do during your probably-limited stay on Maui. You can easily drive up to the crater and spend some time there. I've never understood the appeal of eating car exhaust as you brake your way down. Yes, it CAN be dangerous, but mostly...meh, what's the point?

Now, we have had guests at our condo who biked UP Haleakala -- true SPORT.

California
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for Oahu
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2. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

There are about a bazillion posts on this topic ... so you may want to do a search on the Maui Forum, or scroll down through the Maui Forum. The bike ride down Haleakala - as Sue mentioned - is a tourist trappy thing. Sounds glorious, huh? Well, that road was not designed for bike riders. Not alot (any?) shoulder in some places. And you need to keep your eye on the road ... I'd rather gawk at the scenery, personally. And it can be very cold and wet.

I'd rather spend my money on something else.

And yes, do drive there.

Edited: 27 June 2011, 16:37
Maui
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for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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3. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

Aloha,

You can't ride within the Park itself. So you are vanned down to the Park entrance and start from there. It's not something I rec anymore, for several reasons.

You're already paying for the rental car, and admission to the Park is 10.00 per car. So drive yourselves, have the freedom to explore and drive other places. You will enjoy the flexibility much more!

Edited: 27 June 2011, 18:21
Aubrey, Texas
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4. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

My boys all want to do this so badly but I just tell them, "it only takes one bad fall to ruin an entire vacation! NO bike ride is worth that much!" My husband did it back in 97 when you could still ride from the top of the crater and raves about it all the time (thus why the kids want to do it) and he's not a huge bike rider. BUT with the kids and such, not worth the risk to me.

Jamestown, New York
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5. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

I have to be honest here. After reading through this forum for the past couple of months, I really value the opinions of SW and BLBL. However, bike riding down Haleakala is one of the top 10 activities people do when they go to Maui and almost everyone raves about it. I wouldn't consider this a tourist trap if so many people enjoy what they pay for.

My fiance and I are debating doing this in a couple of weeks. SW, what are some of the reasons why you think people shouldn't do this, other than it being dangerous?

Thanks!

washington
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for Maui
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6. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

For openers you are not by any means "Biking down the mountain"...you will spend all your time "Braking down the mountain" and you start outside the park because too many folks were injured. You need to concentrate carefuly on the traffic ...according to locals, and I have no back-up but the folks I talked to... this "activity" results in almost weekly accidents. I know they will not let their own kids on the road.

Just something to consider!

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7. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

My husband and I booked a bike trip when we started planning an then I cancelled it! So glad I did. We drove up there Tuesday and saw the bikers going down. There were cars riding behind them for a while and very limited places to pull off to the side. The road is very curvy and without a railing. I was happy to have my husband drive there so I could look around. I drove back so he could look around.

Edited: 28 June 2011, 03:25
California
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8. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

One friend of mine referred to the experience as "H*LL on a bicycle."

If you are second-guessing our advice because some travel guides push it ... well, wonder about the funds that are changing hands. Some of the "name" travel guides promote the ultimate tourist traps.

Maui
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for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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9. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

Aloha,

TwoNY, I didn't take your post as "second guessing"; I took it that you are sincerely interested in learning more about what's become almost as big a hot button as some hikes and drives (we won't mention shark tours or dolphin encounters!!). Let me see if I can explain my concerns better.

Safety: Not only are you riding on a narrow "path" which is really just the shoulder of the highway, you're wearing a helmet. So your vision is limited and your hearing is affected as well. In many places, you do have to ride in the traffic lane, and as also mentioned, there aren't many guardrails that would stop you if you lost control or hit a rock and were "launched" from the bike.

You're riding a road that you've never seen before, while excited to be on vacation, and also prob trying to look around, watch your family or friends. Bad for concentration!! Lastly.........there are a whole bunch of people with a 2000 LB weapon on the road. It's called a "car", and they are also new to the road, prob distracted, driving an unfamiliar vehicle, may be jet lagged or tired, or even have altitude sickness (you could be suffering from those symptoms too). Bike vs Car??? Bike ALWAYS loses.

The above thoughts are just some of the reasons I can't support it anymore. Back in the much quieter old days, there was far less traffic, the van drove behind the bikers all the way down (bikes were in the traffic lane), and it was still dangerous to a point but not like it's become.

In the last ten years, accidents increased dramatically. The population Upcountry grew too, and many locals are fed up with the tours. That led to some changes, but that meant more riding on the shoulder and less in the lane. So it's not been a good time............I feel for the companies that were safety oriented and solid. They tried to do it right but the irresponsible ones ruined it for everyone.

I don't know what guides or sites "push" the tours. Like anything, reviews are usually either "WONDERFUL, AWESOME" or "HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE".

It's pretty rare to have somebody come on like KJS has and give the 'after' viewpoint reasonably.

Also, people don't want to come out and say, "Gee, we were warned and got hurt, wish we'd listened"......whether it's a bike, drive, hike, swim, etc.

As far as money changing hands, the companies I worked with for over 11 years would NEVER have tried--even thought of-some kind of bribe or payoff. Do they advertise? Uh, yeah. Do they ask people to do reviews? Uh, yeah. Run around with sacks of money??? Nope. That's a crappy allegation to make considering some of the companies have been here for more than 20 years, employ a number of folks, and even some of the newer ones are good people.

We're Maui...........not Chicago or something.

Socal
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10. Re: biking down the Haleakala volcano

wow...so many interesting opinions......now I did this ride years ago...twice actually. From the top both times in those days. Was it fun? Well, yeah, because it was a relatively new and cool thing to do.

Would I do it again? Naw, 'cause now it's not a big deal anymore and you start much lower down. Plus the traffic is much higher. And honestly, when you are doing this ride, you aren't spending a lot of time looking around because you need the concentration to stay on the road.

BTW, that mountain is often full of fog, drizzle and clouds. That's not much fun to ride in.