Saddle Road (Hawaii Route 200)
Saddle Road crosses lava flows and moon-like landscapes and visibility can be difficult in poor weather conditions. Go with a tour and avoid having to navigate this windy, remote road on your own. There are many options for exploring the Saddle Road region. You can visit as part of a full-day Hawaii circle tour, a Mauna Kea summit and Volcanoes National Park tour, or as part of a Mauna Kea sky gazing experience.
Things to know before you go
- Saddle Road is remote and no gas stations or other facilities are available along the way.
- Cell service is limited along Saddle Road.
- Temperatures are much cooler at altitude, so bring along a sweatshirt or light jacket.
- Due to the nature of the terrain, many Saddle Road tours are not wheelchair accessible.
How to get there
Saddle Road stretches 80 miles (129 kilometers) from Hilo to Kona along Hawaii Route 200. Driving the road or taking a tour is the only way to explore the road. Most rental car companies used to prohibit their car from traveling on the Saddle Road, but nowadays most companies allow their cars on the road.
When to get there
Hawaii’s consistently warm weather makes it a great year-round destination. Hawaii tends to see more tourists during the summer months and winter holidays, so visit outside that season to avoid the crowds. Driving the Saddle Road is not recommended at night due to limited visibility and its best to avoid the road during rainstorms.
Visiting the Mauna Kea Observatories
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano and the highest point on the Hawaiian islands at 13,803 feet (4,207 meters). Its summit holds some of the world’s largest telescopes and is a popular stargazing spot. You can hike to the summit on your own or catch a ride to the summit on an organized tour. Choose between sunset and stargazing tours or rise early and watch the sunrise from the summit.
- Anaeho'omalu Bay
- Waikoloa Village
- Kohala Coast
- Puako Bay
- Parker Ranch
- Honopua Farm
- Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory
- Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary
- Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation
- Kahua Ranch
- Hualalai Volcano
- Kekaha Kai State Park (Kona Coast State Park)
- Honokohau Harbor
- Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
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