“Scenic upcountry Maui singletrack in the Makawao Forest Reserve.
— Leslie Kehmeier
The Kahakapao Loop is an excellent singletrack ride in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Ride the loop clockwise for the best climb/descent option.
The route and has a steady but very manageable climb and a fun, non-technical descent.
Need to Know
The Kahakapao Loop can be extremely slippery and muddy after rain. It's best to wait a few days for the trail to dry out after any significant precipitation.
As with all trailheads and parking areas in Hawaii, keep your valuables out of sight when leaving your car.
The Kahakapao Loop is best ridden clockwise and starts with Kahakapao East
. From the parking area ride out on doubletrack past the bottom of the Makawao Flow Trail. Climb for a short distance and then stay left past the kiosk and turn right on singletrack. From here, follow the red badges on the trees.
The east side is a steady climb up but not necessarily steep. It winds through mostly dense forest with several turns. The trail is generally smooth, covered with leaves and has a few roots to keep you engaged.
Continue straight through the intersection with the upper end of the Makawao Flow Trail.
The top of the climb brings you to an intersection. Stay right here to continue to Kahakapao West
and the second half of the loop. Left provides access to Fong Ridge Road.
The west side Kahakapao singletrack starts with a roll out along a steep bench cut trail and then dips through a drainage below a large forest of lush ferns and eucalyptus trees with an open canopy.
After climbing a short pitch, the loop continues to descend gradually through a series of turns. The forest through this side of the Kahakapao Loop tends to be a more open. The trail is also a bit drier.
The route continually crisscrosses an old doubletrack route so watch for the red badges on the trees to stay on the singletrack.
finishes through a beautiful section of verdant green jungle filled with more ferns and moss covered rocks. Turn left at the kiosk to retrace your steps back to the parking area.