Hawaii is a bucket-list destination for travelers, but how is the riding? The 16-mile Skyline downhill run, beginning at 9,900 feet atop a dormant volcano, is the highlight of the Poli Poli Springs ride area on Maui.
Our web editor described this ride in Issue #177 after enjoying it, herself: On a good day, you can see ‘the Big Island’ (Hawaii) from the peak. Farther down, the mountain is frequently under cloud cover, lending an ethereal quality to this ride that begins by descending over six miles of pumice-and moon-dust covered doubletrack. It’s a sketchy run that begs a full-face helmet and requires an hour-long, winding shuttle drive straight up from sea level to access the start point. The effort is worth it because the view—and the sensation of riding your bike down from the top of the world—is breathtaking.
Skyline connects you to the Mamane Trail, two of the finest miles of singletrack I’ve ever put bike tires on. Beginning in grasslands over smooth trail, Mamane quickly shoots you down through foggy, lush forests of pine, eucalyptus, cypress, Chinese fir and redwoods, under which the trail grows increasingly peppered with chunky, volcanic detritus. The ride is finished off by a nearly eight-mile road descent through open grazing lands.
The half-day trip has a magical, can’t-get-this-anywhere-else feel to it that will leave you mesmerized by the multiple climate zones and unique landscapes you just pedaled through.
Due to the rough pumice terrain, a full-face helmet and body armor are recommended. Dual-ply tires or a reinforced casing are also a good idea.
Photos courtesy of MTB Project.