Official scenic drives on the Big Island of Hawaii are plentiful. In fact, almost every tour of the beautiful island can be considered picturesque. Some of the more 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 beautiful rainforest terrain with beautiful bubbling streams visible from the trail. This trip also allows you to see the collapsed Onomea Arch and the Tropical Botanical Garden.
Panoramic walk through the chain of craters
This unusual scenic drive offers views of lava trees and a large field of petroglyphs. The trip lasts about two hours and is done entirely on paved roads.
Kahinahina Scenic Drive
This is a beautiful drive but requires four wheel drive due to dirt road condition in some areas. The whole trip takes about seven hours. You can choose between two different paths. The upper road, Kahinahina Road, ends at Saddle Road and the lower road, Mana Road, exits near Waimea. Both routes offer exceptional views unique to this beautiful scenic drive. Along the route you can find hiking trails and rest areas.
Scenic drive along the crater rim
This three-hour trip circles the rim of the Kilauea volcano as it passes through Hawaii’s Kau Desert and a rainforest!
Mauna Loa Scenic Drive
This seventeen-mile-long winding road takes you along a paved route as you travel up the side of the world’s largest mountain, Mount Mauna Loa. You’ll see spectacular lava flows, beautiful scenic views, and natural Hawaiian landscapes. This scenic drive ends at the Mauna Loa Meteorological Observatory, where the beginning of a scenic trail is located for adventurers to hike to the top of the mountain.
Kumukahi Lighthouse Scenic Drive
This serene scenic drive takes you from Honolulu Landing to the Kumukahi Lighthouse. It travels six miles on smooth dirt roads and takes the average scenic driver two hours to complete. This scenic drive offers spectacular views of flora and fauna found only in Hawaii.
The Kaalaiki Upper Road Scenic Drive in Ka’u
This 15-mile stretch of well-maintained, paved dirt road runs between Pahala and Na’alehu on the Big Island. It offers spectacular views of forests, greenery, wildlife, and the brilliant blue ocean 2,000 feet below you.
Mauna Kea Summit Scenic Drive
This 43-mile long hike takes visitors to the summit of Mauna Kea. Once at the top, you can visit the nearby astronomical observatories. On a clear day, this trip offers views of the neighboring Hawaiian Islands! This scenic drive takes you through a wide variety of Hawaiian landscapes, from tropical rainforests to the barely accessible summit of Mauna Kea. The hike may require four-wheel drive to reach the top.
Path to the panoramic sea walk
This scenic drive requires four-wheel drive to reach isolated corners of green sand beaches that are created as a result of volcanic activity. You have to plan a four-hour drive to traverse the six miles of rugged terrain.
Every trip to the Big Island must include at least one spectacular scenic drive. Scenic drives on the Big Island of Hawaii offer countless photo opportunities and limitless potential to create once-in-a-lifetime memories available only in Hawaii.