Welcome to Saddle Road
You won't find much on the grassy lava-strewn plains between the massive shoulders of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, except for overwhelming scenery and an acute sense of your own insignificance.Hastily built by the army to move troops across the island, the original Saddle Road's tight turns, blind hills and poor surface made it terrifying and downright dangerous, which motivated most rental companies to prohibit driving... Read More
Top experiences in Saddle Road
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Saddle Road activities
Small Group Tour: Deluxe Volcano Experience with Restaurant Dinner
Drive over to Saddle Road in a brand-new Mercedes van between the largest volcanoes in the world (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa), and make a brief stop at Mauna Kea State Park for a catered light lunch. From there we'll travel across the Saddle to Hilo, where we will visit Rainbow Falls and the King Kamehameha Statue. Our next stop is at Big Island Candies for smoothies, ice cream, and free samples of their famous cookies. Then, we’ll head directly to one of the world’s most-active volcanoes; Kilauea at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.At Kilauea National Park, Kailani’s guides will show off the amazing landscapes including: Steam Vents, Halemaumau Crater’s Smoke Plume, Jaggar Museum’s view of Kilauea Caldera, and Thurston Lava Tube. Just before sunset, we’ll provide an all-inclusive sit-down dinner at Volcano’s finest restaurant – Kilauea Lodge! Choose from three entrees, bread, soups, salads, and a beverage of your choice. After dinner, we’ll drive to Jaggar Musuem, the best viewpoint for the nighttime glow at Halemaumau Crater! Finally, leave the driving to us as we journey back over Saddle Road to return you to your hotel. Depending on the weather, the guide may stop briefly for stargazing along Saddle Road.Lunch options (please specify your preference in the 'special requirements' field at checkout):Ham and Cheese SandwichChicken Caesar WrapVegetarian Hummus Wrap*Each selection comes with either local fruit or a green salad. Bottled water will be provided. Dinner options (please specify your preference in the 'special requirements' field at checkout):Eggplant MarinaraNew York Steak Fresh Catch Dinner entrees include a choice of homemade soup OR locally grown salad and our own homemade bread.Includes 1 non-alcoholic beverage. Coffee, Tea (Hot or Iced), Soft drink or Juice
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour
The drive to the summit of Mauna Kea is one you’ll never forget. It’s hard to believe you’re in Hawaii as you climb to 13,796 feet above sea level. Once at the summit we are afforded spectacular views of the horizon, Haleakala on Maui, Mauna Loa and Hualalai, and Mauna Kea’s world-class array of telescopes. Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest mountain, rising over 32,000 feet from the ocean floor to its summit, which is considered by many Hawaiians to be the most sacred place in all the islands. You’ll stand in awe at both nature’s sublime creation and man’s astonishing technological achievements.Starting out from Kona or Waikoloa, we travel up the coast over desolate lava flows for about a half hour before proceeding up the rolling pasturelands on the flanks of Mauna Kea. Turning onto the Saddle Road that travels the island between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, you’ll see a dramatic and diverse landscape of ranchland, sub-alpine dryforest and rainforest (with striking features such as cinder cones, lava flows, lava tubes and kipuka). We will first spend some time acclimating at the 9,200 level while enjoying hot soup. After dinner and with a jacket in hand, we’ll make the 45 minute drive to the summit. As your make your way up, you’ll be fascinated by your Interpretive Guide’s interpretation of Hawaii’s remarkable natural, cultural, and geologic history. After sunset we descend to the Visitor’s Information Station at 9,200 foot elevation for a special stargazing show from your guide and volunteer astronomers. Wrapped warm in your jacket, enjoying hot beverages, you will marvel at the brilliance of the Hawaiian night sky. Your Interpretive Guide will share with you stories of the observable universe, and offer you a personal and educational look at the heavens.
Full-Day Waterfall and Twilight Red Lava Glow Viewing Tour from Kona
You will be picked up from Waimea to Waikoloa area hotels, and taken on an adventure that you will never forget. From Kona you will start by heading through Saddle road and Rainbow Falls. Along the way, you will also visit Richardson Blacksand Beach and the Historic Banyan Drive Banyan tree sanctuary. You will then visit Hiliuokalani Gardens, followed by Mauna Loa Macademia Nut Factory for nut tasting. The visitor's center has self-guided tour of the processing plant and large gift shop with free samples of every flavor variation sold by the companyFollowing the nut factory, you will proceed on to Akatsuka Orchid Nursery. Hilo is the orchid capital of the world, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens houses over 200 different types of orchids. Next, you will head to the Volcanoes National Park, with two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa. You will take a ten-minute walk through the amazing Thurston Lava Tube, and then check out the Steam Vents and Thomas A. Jaggar Museum. The observatory at Mauna Loa has a worldwide reputation as a leader in the study of active volcanism. After an exciting day, you will see the highlight of the tour; glowing red lava at twilight.After the tour, you will be returned to your hotel.
Hawaii Birdwatching Small Group Adventure Tour
Puu Oo Trail is a historic cattle drive route located at the 6,000 foot (1800 meters) level of Saddle Road on Mauna Loa's northeastern flank. This is the windward side of the island and is often cloaked in misty clouds. It is enchanting to be serenaded by the forest birds as you cross three to four miles (5-6 km) of lava trail. At the Humuula hunter check-in station just off Saddle Road, you'll go into the Kaohe Game Management Area and four-wheel up to nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 meters) on the western side of Mauna Kea. Some of the avifauna you may spot along the way are iiwi, apapane, amakihi, omao, elepaio, and the elusive akiapolaau, with its unique multipurpose beak. In the dryforest, the track leads to a locked gate that is the entrance to the Mauna Kea Forest Preserve. Here, you'll have the opportunity to disembark from the van and take in the spectacular views. Then get down to some serious bird watching on foot in the mamane-naio forest. You'll particularly focus on sighting the critically threatened palila, which feeds almost entirely on the green pods of the mamane tree. There are two other endemics of note to be found here: the Hawaii amakihi, and the local species of the Hawaii elepaio (noted for the white feathering on its head).
Mauna Kea Above the Clouds Sunrise Tour
After hotel pickup, start with a scenic drive to Mauna Kea and cross through unforgettable volcanic terrain along the way. Travel up the coast over desolate lava flows for about 30 minutes before proceeding up the rolling pasturelands on the flanks of Mauna Kea. Turning onto the Saddle Road that travels the island between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, you’ll see a dramatic and diverse landscape of subalpine dry forest and rainforest with striking features such as cinder cones, lava flows, lava tubes and kipuka.Your guide will make sure you first spend some time acclimating at the 9,200-foot (2,804-meter) level with a breakfast of hot oatmeal and coffee. Then, with a jacket in hand, you’ll make the 30-minute drive to the top. As your make your way up, you’ll be fascinated by your guide’s interpretation of Hawaii’s remarkable natural, cultural, and geologic history.The vehicle will climb to the summit above the clouds, reaching 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) in elevation amid dozens of craters. Once there, you are afforded spectacular views of the horizon, Haleakala on Maui, Mauna Loa and Hualalai via a world-class array of telescopes. Mauna Kea is actually the world’s tallest mountain, rising more than 32,000 feet (9,753 meters) from the ocean floor, and is considered by many Hawaiians to be the most sacred place in all of Polynesia. You’ll stand in awe at both nature’s sublime creation and the astonishing technological achievements of humankind.Finish your 7-hour tour with the return drive and hotel drop-off.