Kahinahina Road

Scout Route
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Kahinahina Road, also called the Mauna Kea Access Road, Mauna Kea Hunters Road, or simply the R-1 Road, is probably Hawaii's most epic offroad trail. Beginning at the Mauna Kea Visitor Center, it forms a 36-mile loop around the rarely visited back side of Mauna Kea, connecting to the Old Saddle Road at the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve entrance. It traverses a wide variety of terrain high on the side of Hawaii's tallest volcano, from evergreen forests and rare Silversword groves to dry washes reminiscent of Arizona or New Mexico to barren red lava fields that feel like driving on Mars. Much of the route is above timberline, and several side spurs climb over 11,000 feet above the ocean below. If the weather is clear, you can see Maui and the Haleakala volcano in the distance.

The road surface is mostly rough, rutted dirt and OK lava rock, though there are rockier sections, and 4WD is required. Though not recommended for the average tourist, visitors to Hawaii with offroading experience can easily drive in the stock Jeep Wranglers you can rent at the airport. It can be combined with a drive to the summit of Mauna Kea and multiple optional side trails for a full day of offroad adventure exploring places that few visitors to Hawaii will ever see.

There are camping opportunities at various points along the trail, though it is better to lower down near the trail's western end.

Note: Hunters most often use this road, so it is recommended to wear bright colors if walking off the road. A permit is required for unlicensed vehicles but not for passenger vehicles.