Address: Route 190 South of Waimea, State Route 200
Hours: Open Daily and Nightly 24 hours
Location: Big Island, Hawaii County
Directions: State Route 200 enters from Hilo and North Kona
Official Website: SaddleRoad.com
Additional Resources and Information:
Ever since the road has been paved residents and visitors can now feel much safer trekking on this journey through the middle of the Big Island. Once upon a time it was a road less travelled due to it's hazardous conditions and unstable road features. Now, more then ever, Saddle Road is utilized on a daily basis especially for those traveling from Hilo to the Kona side for work. If you are a traveller, then you must love taking different roads and ones less traveled. That use to be the case with travel road but now it is very traveled. Road trips have their charm and beauty. Salle Road is a road that leads you to and from Hilo and Kona. The most beautiful and mystique scenery awaits those who travel down it. The mountain views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are superb. These mountains have their charming beauty that makes each road trip super fun and enjoyable. If you are an adventurous person then this is the place to go for you. At first sight you might just think that Saddle road is a plain and simple highway, but it is not. There are many things to do along the way like stop and go on short bird watching hikes. As you explore further you will be lead to seeing and imagining how all the lava actually flowed.
The dried lava field flows, desert or moonlike fields, and fantastic rainforest as you enter into Hilo make it all that much more worthwhile. It gets better, the further you move along the road, the more you will start noticing small details like the red cinder rocks along the site of the road with the yellow flowers growing around them. This is what life was meant to be lived like, enjoying the natural scenes and surrounding beauty. Saddle road will also lead to the Mauna Kea Summit and Mauna Lao mountain peaks. It is also a very important part of the US military training center in Hawaii. Along with this, you can also see the Bradshaw Army Airfield on this road. Saddle road passes through some of the most pretty landscapes in all of the Big Island of Hawaii. Portions of it you will see will say that you are actually traveling along part of the Hamakua Coast. Many car rental companies did not allow for travel through saddle road before it was paved. Now, they do as it is a fantastic and safe drive. Previously the route was known to be very hazardous due to its poorly paved roads and even spots. Everything has been upgraded now but all drivers still need to use caution at all times. The area is very rural with no major amenities along the way.
There is a park with restrooms however halfway along the route. Please ensure you have plenty of gas before embarking on this journey. The highway's mile 0 sign is located along Kamehameha Avenue, directly hear the old Hilo local farmers market on the shoreline. The first 10 or so miles brings you nearly a mile high above sea level, where you will pass across beautiful native woods and over lava flows as old as four thousand years. That section of the land tends to get up to 300 inches of rainfall every year and can flow thunderously down in tropical floods. There are very few locations with lava flows and new flora and trees around the nineteen and 23 mile markers. If you drive early in the morning you will see the peaks and demonstration of the 1936 stream that came to a standstill two miles further and immediately after Saddlehouse Road. You will pass close to Pu'u Huluhulu, a prominent historic site, and older Mauna Kea Cinder mountain, or kipuka, accompanied by smaller lava flows, only after the twenty three mile marker. After this point, you will have reached the highest end of saddle road at 1.25 miles. Saddle road is the Big Islands best place to drive directly through the middle of the island. A place so adventurous that the whole family can spend their Sunday afternoon traveling through it for fun.
Photos of Saddle Road:
Live and Interactive Google Map of Saddle Road: