One of the nicest rides on the island, Beach Road in Puna allows you to ride down the coast without much traffic. The bike ride visits lovely neighborhoods, allows for a little adventure on gravel and explores old growth forested area. Like most rides on the Big Island, you end up in a lava field.
An out and back bike ride, starts southernly from Puna Trailhead (aka Shipman or Ha’Ena) to an intersection formerly known as Four Corners in Kapoho. Park at the end of Kaloli and Beach Road at the Puna Trailhead parking lot. The route follows Beach Road straight through four sections: Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP), Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaiian Beaches (changes name to Papio) and Nanawale-Kapoho until you reach where Four Corners existed prior to the 2018 Leilani lava flow.
Hawaiian Paradise Park neighborhood has frequent opportunities to get closer to the ocean. Watch for opportunities to your left and head that way if you’re inclined. TIP: Note which street you take. I always get a little turned around coming back and that makes it easier. As you come to the middle of the neighborhood, you’ll get an opportunity for an off-pavement adventure with a breathtaking ocean view and a lovely spot for reflection. I love how this space allows the neighborhood to connect with the land, ocean and spirit.
At the end of HPP, the Hawaiian Homelands segment of Beach Road is a 2-mile gravel stretch that is less populated and feels a bit remote. If you are not used to riding on gravel, take it slow. There are numerous potholes to avoid, especially after it rains. Unfortunately, people dump garbage and stolen cars in this stretch. This, along with its long stretch of sparsely inhabited, makes it less than welcoming. I’m not sure I’d comfortably ride it alone.
After that segment, Beach Road pops out in a really nice part of Hawaiian Beaches neighborhood and turns into Papio. Stunningly large houses decorate the neighborhood. Kahakai and Papio Park provide additional opportunities for public-access ocean views.
Back onto Government Beach Road and into Nanawale Forest Reserve where the paved scenic single-lane road meanders through old thick jungle forests with gentile hills, curious curves and peek-a-book ocean views. Plenty of opportunities to stop for pictures or a picnic. TIP: Recommend to go earlier as it gets busy with traffic, most of which is respectful and very friendly.
As you exit this shangri-la, you’ll find yourself crossing Kapoho lava flow from 19060s. Follow it along until you hit a right corner where the 2018 Leilani lava flow destroyed the road and the amazing Wai‘ōpae Tidepools.
If it’s too far, or if you are uncomfortable with the gravel section, you can park and ride from Hawaiian Beaches subdivision.
25 miles round trip.