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Haleakala Crater Views and Guided Downhill Biking

Cruiser Phil's Guided Downhill Bike Tours



Highlights

  • Haleakala National Park admission included!
  • Views of the crater and downcountry Maui
  • Sunrise tours and morning tours available
  • Guided bike ride with support van following
  • 6000 vertical feet drop over 23 miles of biking

Description

Maui offers the longest downhill bike tour experience anywhere in the world! Cruiser Phils will take you to the summit to see Haleakala Crater and tour the national park (both on the sunrise and the morning versions of the tour) and then start your biking just outside the Haleakala National Park entrance at an elevation of 6500 feet as participants coast downhill through the famous mid-mountain switchbacks, the upcountry Kula area, and ride through the town of Makawao. From here you will proceed down Kokomo Road and end the ride in the town of Haiku for a ride distance of 23 miles and 6000 vertical feet of descent!

While the tours on this page include entrance to Haleakala National Park, ALL BIKE TOURS start the actual biking portion of the tour at the same place … just outside the National Park entrance at 6500 feet. Your tour will go to the summit of Halekala and tour the park, and the bike riding begins after the park tour is over. No bike tours are permitted to ride inside the park.


Guided Tour Options


Guided Summit Sunrise Bike Tour

The Guided Summit Sunrise is our most popular tour and space is extremely limited. Guests drive to the checkin location which is at the Cruiser Phil's / Haleakala Bike Company's location in Haiku. The tour begins with a van tour to the summit of Haleakala, including an explanation of the mountain, its geology, and rare plants that are only found here on this volcano. Upon arrival at the summit you'll watch the often-spectacular sunrise from the crater rim. After sunrise, you'll ride the van back down to the park entrance, where you will start your bike ride at the 6500 foot level. A guide leads the group downhill through the mid-mountain switchbacks, with the van following the group down the mountain. Your route will take you through Makawao and the ride concludes at 500' elevation in the town of Haiku, where breakfast is available for purchase following your tour. This tour is offered Monday through Saturday, but it is extremely popular and should be reserved weeks in advance of your arrival.

Schedule: Meeting time is 3:00am in the summer, 3:30am in the spring and fall, and 4:00am in the winter.

Cruiser Phil Guided Summit Sunrise Bike Tour Rate

$242.92 per Biker, $176.67 per Adult Van Rider, $143.55 per Child Van Rider   (Hawaii sales tax included)


If the Guided Summit Sunrise is already sold out for your dates, consider doing the MORNING TOUR instead! The biking route is exactly the same, and Haleakala Crater is more colorful and better photographed in mid-morning light! Compare the two crater images seen here for an example of the difference. You could also check Mountain Riders Summit Sunrise which operates two days a week, as well as the Self-Guided Summit Sunrise bike tour. Our first recommendation though is to do the MORNING tour which has an 8am start time!


Guided Summit Morning Bike Tour

The Guided Summit Morning Tour includes the same Haleakala National Park tour and the same downhill bike ride featured on the Summit Sunrise tour, but with a later meeting time and without the sunrise viewing. Guests drive to the bike tour company's Haiku location and meet at 8:00am for checkin. The tour begins with a van tour to the summit of Haleakala, including an explanation of the mountain, its geology, and rare plants that are only found here on this volcano. Upon arrival at the summit you'll visit several overlooks into the crater, and after your park tour you will ride the van back down to the park entrance, where you will start your bike ride at the 6500 foot level. A guide leads the group downhill through the mid-mountain switchbacks, with the van following the group down the mountain. Your route will take you through Makawao and the ride concludes at 500′ elevation in the town of Haiku, where lunch is available for purchase following your tour. This tour is offered Monday through Saturday.

Schedule: Meeting time is 8:00am.

Cruiser Phil Guided Summit Morning Bike Tour Rate

$209.80 per Biker, $176.67 per Adult Van Rider, $143.55 per Child Van Rider   (Hawaii sales tax included)


Location

GPS Address: 810 Haiku Road #120, Haiku 96708 Click to view map


Details

Tour includes: Admission to Haleakala National Park, tour of park, biking guide, Kona mountain bike with disc brakes, backpack, Helly Hansen raingear, helmet, and support vehicle that follows you down the mountain.

Transportation: The price of these tours do not include hotel pickup. Transportation is sometimes available for GUIDED tours with Cruiser Phil's at a cost of $41.77 per person.

Optional Bike Insurance: Loss / damage insurance covering the bike is available for $4.36 per bike.

Biking Distance: 23 miles / 6000 vertical feet / >97% downhill.

Restrictions: Minimum biking age is 12 …due to high elevation no pregnant women are allowed on this tour, either as a biker or a van rider. Maximum weight approx. 280lbs. Minimum height 4'10".

What to Wear: Dress warmly in layers and wear closed toed shoes like sneakers.

Reservations: Advanced reservations required and we recommend booking this a month or more before your arrival. This event is "RESERVE NOW PAY LATER"; we need a credit card on file to finalize your reservation but we do not charge you for this reservation until a few days before the beginning of your vacation!

Minimum Notice for Cancellations / Changes: For smaller parties, at least 48 hours before the start of the event. For groups of 10 or more, 7 days before the start of the event.


Kevin at Falls

Kevin's Activity Tips:

The most helpful piece of advice for doing the sunrise bicycle tour is to make your reservation in advance for the first full day that you are in Hawaii when the time change is working in your favor. The logic is simple. Due to the time change, you will find yourself waking up at 4am on the first day that you are here anyway. Since you are already going to wake up early that day, you might as well get up a little bit earlier and start out your vacation by doing something fun and exciting! In order to book this sunrise tour before your arrival you obviously need to book it BEFORE your arrival. But don't wait until just before your trip. This tour is VERY popular and space is VERY limited. Summit sunrise dates sometimes sell out a MONTH in advance!

If the sunrise tour is already sold out on your dates, don't let that stop you from seeing Healakala Crater and doing the same bike tour during the MORNING time slot. There are advantages to the morning tour ... for one thing you don't lose a night's sleep because the start time isn't in the middle of the night. But more importantly, the actual views INTO Healakala Crater are better during the morning tour than they are the sunrise tour. The sunrise is often (but not always) spectacular ... but the crater is backlit during the sunrise. In mid-morning light when the sun is higher in the sky the colors of the crater come alive and the cinder cones are much more visible. Take a look at the image above of the crater during the SUNRISE and the crater during the MORNING tour. We think you will see that the colors of the crater itself show up far better!

Remember, it gets cold at 6,000-10,000 feet, especially in the winter months. Yes, Cruiser Phil provides a wind breaker, but you will still want some layers underneath and perhaps a pair of gloves, especially for the Summit Sunrise tour. As your group heads down the mountain, it gets warmer. You will pause along the way for photos and "strip stops." Everything you don't need anymore goes in the van.

Speaking of the van, the support vehicle that follows you down the mountain is a big advantage of this GUIDED tour option. We also offer unguided tours with a "bike on your own" approach, but for most people I recommend the guided option. The guide sets a safe, comfortable pace for the group (about 12-15 miles per hour on average) and the van follows your group back down the mountain. This "support vehicle" prevents cars from passing you at times when it is not safe. You don't have to worry about looking over your shoulder to see what's coming from behind you. If there are cars backed up behind the support vehicle, the driver talks to the guide on his walkie-talkie and they arrange for a place to pull over to the side and let the traffic pass. Since the ride itself is about 97% a downhill coast few people get tired and don't feel like riding anymore, but it is nice to know that the option of getting in the van is always there on the guided tour.

The road that you bike is completely paved, and while there are lots of 180 degree turns and it is 5-6% downhill grade, it is not inherently dangerous AS LONG AS YOU KNOW HOW TO RIDE A BIKE!!! I can't emphasize this enough ... while there are occasionally accidents on this ride (and on rare occasions those accidents have been fatal), they are almost always the result of someone who lacked confidence (and/or ability) at riding a bicycle. If you are riding a bike and you fall, or you run into a guardrail, you ARE going to get hurt ... whether you are doing it on a mountain on Maui or on flat ground in Kansas! My best advice is this ... IF YOU HAVE NOT RIDDEN A BICYCLE IN 40 YEARS, THE TOP OF A VOLCANO IS NOT THE BEST PLACE TO TRY TO REMEMBER HOW TO RIDE A BIKE!!! Borrow a bicycle from someone and ride around your neighborhood before you come to Hawaii. A few hours of peddling will refresh your mind about steering and braking and give you the confidence you need to do just fine on this ride. If you are uncomfortable riding a bike in your neighborhood, then you should sit out this activity or just go along in the van for the ride. All bikers must sign a waiver of liability that acknowledges that there are inherent dangers present with operating a bicylce, as there are with any moving vehicle. The tour operators do their best to provide quality equipment and safety-concious guides, but they cannot steer and brake and balance the bicycle for you, and they can't be held responsible in cases where a participant fails to do those things and gets hurt!