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Which route is best

North Vancouver...
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Which route is best

Will be staying in Mauna Lani. Meeting our guide at Kalapana for a Lava Proximity hike. Have to be at the Kalapana Cafe by 10 am on a Sunday. Which route is best? North? South? Or across? First time to BI and unfamiliar with route. Returning the same day when our tour ends at 4pm. Again, which route is recommended?

Thanks!

Big Island, Hawaii
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1. Re: Which route is best

Yikes, any way you can spend the night before in Volcano or Hilo? Trying to get to Kalapana by 10am on an unfamiliar road with all the unknowns (weather, road closures, etc) is going to be challenging. If everything goes perfectly and you can take Saddle Road (check your rental contract), it will take you a little less than three hours, but I would allow four. If you get there early you can get some breakfast. If you can't take the Saddle, between your other two routes, the north would be better than the southern route in terms of time, probably three hours, but is more prone to bad weather and slowdowns. The southern route though would take you almost four hours under good conditions, so I'd allow five.

You'll have the same analysis on the way back.

Spending the night on the east side would also allow you to more leisurely take the crossing and see the sites along the way.

Island of Hawaii...
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2. Re: Which route is best

It's not a good plan to drive any of the routes for the first time in the dark. Whichever way you go, you'll be driving against headlights from the morning commute. The only routes that make sense are Saddle Road or Hamakua. Both are subject to intense weather in parts.

It's also going to be an exhausting day, with all that driving and hiking.

Coconut Cottage B&B is a nice place to stay nearby in Pahoa.

North Vancouver...
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3. Re: Which route is best

Thanks Shea, Thanks Kamaaina. I was going to take Saddle Road until I read all about the intense weather in parts. I had planned on taking the Northern route but wanted confirmation - which you've provided. Thank you.

I agree. It will be an exhausting day. But it'll be okay. Unfortunately, overnighting is not an options. We'll make sure to drive slow and take our time. By the time I make the drive to Kalapana, I would have driven to Hilo and back a couple at least once already as I am planning on visiting the Farmer's Market on a Wednesday.

Thanks again. :)

Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: Which route is best

Actually, I would take the Saddle. I think Hamakua has more commute traffic on it, and the Saddle is shorter. I might even take the Saddle on the return, because it is shorter and it will be getting late. Take Hamakua on your trip to the FM.

The Saddle's challenging part will be the first climb through Waiki'i Ranch, IF the heavy fog is on the road. If no fog, it should be fine.

What is the sunrise time for your dates of stay?

Big Island, Hawaii
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5. Re: Which route is best

I would also take the Saddle without question as the lesser of three evils, assuming rental contract covers it.

Cranbrook, Canada
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6. Re: Which route is best

I plan to overnight somewhere close to Volcano. Any suggestions for a reasonably priced stay for 1 night. Getting there, should I travel both ways via the Saddle road or can I come back an alternate route. I plan to drive during daylight hours.

LA
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7. Re: Which route is best

razbone- Please start your own thread.

It is not helpful to piggyback onto someone else's post and you won't get as many views as if you had your own topic.

Big Island, Hawaii
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8. Re: Which route is best

Agree, and In your new post please advise where you are traveling to and from on the west side and your nightly accommodation budget, number of people, etc. Also make sure you read through the Top Question on where to stay on the east side.

Edited: 26 April 2013, 20:48
9. Re: Which route is best

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