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Bicycling Hakalau Bridge, Pining for Hakalau Beach Park & Historic Hakalau Town

Hamakua’s Hakalua Bridge:
A stunning mauka-to-makai view of Mauna Kea & the Pacific Ocean

On clear days, the Hakalau Bridge crossing affords one of the most spectacular mauka-to-makai views of Mauna Kea and the Pacific Ocean. Gazing up at the mountain the morning light makes the mauna glow red.

The impressive size of the gulch captures your view until you follow it all the way down to the ocean, where you can see miles out to the horizon. The ocean beneath is far from serene, and you can watch the waves pound and stir below you. In a car, the whole experience takes about 10 seconds. On a bike, I wish it would take forever.

I’m sorry to say that it is not safe to enjoy your minute on the bridge absentminded. The cars are all traveling very fast. The tourists are not paying attention to you and the bridge is not made for pedestrian or bicycle traffic. It is very unsafe to stop anywhere on the bridge! If you must get that photo (and I admit, you might) cross the bridge and walk back.

FUN FACT: At the time, the Hakalau Bridge was the longest spanning bridge in the territory of Hawaii, measuring 772 feet wide and 190 feet tall. Like other Hamakua Coast river crossings, Hakalau automotive bridge is built upon the old railroad bridge damaged in the 1946 tsunami, which was strengthened and given a new two lane deck.

Very nice copyrighted photo accessed via

Hakalau Town, Side Road Historical Tour

Prior to crossing the Hakalau Bridge, and across from Chin Chuck road, is the remnants of upper Hakalau Town, a major sugar processing and plantation town. Cross the road and head to Hakalau sugar plantation want to explore the old remnants of hey day of King Sugar.

Hakalau Beach Park

Hakalau Beach Park remains closed indefinitely due to high lead contamination. Should it ever reopen, you’d enjoy a historic trip down the edge of the gulch into the belly of Hakalau stream. To get into the park you travel under the highway 19 bridge and over water bridges, raised concrete platforms that allow cars and water to pass over them. On the opposite side of the river is a beautiful little waterfall just past the bridge.  Visible at the river’s mouth, are the remnants of the plantation structure. You could still see the foundation platform, some of the old rooms and imagine what it must be like loading processed cane into vessels while navigating the pounding surf. A flume/rail line descending directly from the cliff top is also visible.

CONCEPT TAKE ACTION! Contact the County of Hawaii to regain access to Hakalau Beach Park!

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