Official scenic drives on Big Island of Hawaii are plentiful. In fact, nearly every drive on the beautiful isle can be considered scenic. Some of the most popular scenic drives require a four-wheel drive to access the entire drive. Rental companies specialize in vehicles just for this purpose, and most can be rented by the hour on the Big Island.
Onomea Bay Scenic Drive
This is one of the most popular scenic drives on the Big Island. This narrow, winding road takes you through gorgeous rain forest terrain with beautiful bubbling streams visible from the road. This trip also allows you to view the collapsed Onomea Arch and the Tropical Botanical Garden.
Chain of Craters Road Scenic Drive
This unusual scenic drive offers view of lava trees and a large petro glyph field. The trip lasts about two hours and is entirely on paved roads.
Kahinahina Scenic Drive
This is a beautiful drive, but requires four-wheel drive due to the condition of the dirt road in some areas. The entire trip lasts about seven hours. You can choose between two different paths. The high road, Kahinahina Road, empties onto Saddle Road and the low road, Mana Road, comes out near Waimea. Both routes offer exceptional views unique to this beautiful scenic drive. Hiking trails and rest areas can be found all along the route.
Crater Rim Scenic Drive
This three-hour drive circles the rim of the Kilauea Volcano while passing through Hawaii’s Kau Desert and a tropical rain forest!
Mauna Loa Scenic Drive
This seventeen mile long, rambling drive takes you along a paved route as you travel up the side of the world’s largest mountain, Mt. Mauna Loa. You will view spectacular lava flows, beautiful vista views, and natural Hawaiian landscapes. This scenic drive ends at the Mauna Loa Weather Observatory, where a scenic hiking trailhead is located for the adventurous to hike to the mountain’s summit.
Kumukahi Lighthouse Scenic Drive
This serene scenic drive takes you from Honolulu Landing to Kumukahi Lighthouse. It travels for six miles on mild dirt roads and takes the average scenic driver two hours to complete. This scenic drive offers spectacular views of both flora and fauna found only on Hawaii.
The Kaalaiki Upper Road Scenic Drive in Ka’u
This 15 mile stretch of paved and well-maintained dirt road runs between Pahala and Na’alehu on the Big Island. It offers spectacular views of forests, vegetation, wildlife, and the sparkling blue ocean 2,000 feet below you.
Mauna Kea Summit Scenic Drive
This 43-mile long trek takes visitors to the summit of Mauna Kea. Once at the top, you can visit the astronomical observatories located nearby. On a clear day, this trip provides views of the neighboring Hawaiian Islands! This scenic drive takes you across a wide variety of Hawaiian landscapes from Rain Forests to the sparsely livable summit of Mauna Kea. The trek may require four-wheel drive to reach the summit.
Road To The Sea Scenic Drive
This scenic drive requires four-wheel drive to reach the secluded pockets of green sandy beaches that are created as a result of volcanic activity. You should plan for a four-hour drive to traverse the six miles of rugged terrain.
Every trip to the Big Island should include at least one spectacular scenic drive. The scenic drives on The Big island of Hawaii offer countless photograph opportunities and boundless potential for creating one-of-a-kind memories available only in Hawaii.