The Kahakapao Loop trail is located in Makawao State Forest Reserve, which is composed of over 2093 acres of land on the west facing slopes of Haleakala. The forest reserve was established in 1908 to protect this important windward watershed. During the 1960’s, the State Division of Forestry began a tree-planting program to replace the decimated native forest. The existing forest, compromised of eucalyptus, various pines and tropical ash, is the result of these planting efforts.
Makawao Forest has long been a popular destination for local mountain bikers. In the 1980’s, prior to the creation of public access trail by the state, Mountain bikers built the first trails in Makawao Forest (see the Renegade Trail page). In 2003 the Kahakapao Loop Trail, a 5.75 mile multi-use trail, was created. Segments of the renegade trail were incorporated into the Kahakapao Loop. Since the creation of the Kahakapao Loop mountain bikers have continued to develop mountain bike specific trails in a rogue manner. The push and pull between the mountain bike community and the state, brought about the formation of the Maui Mountain Bike Coalition (MMBC) and extensive trail revisions and additions in Makawao Forest. The MMBC has worked with the State of Hawaii, Na Ala Hele, and IMBA to initiate these changes.
The Kahakapoa Recreation Area is laced with a multi-use trail system of meandering cross-country and bombing gravity trails that climb and descend 865 feet. The Kahakapao Recreation area accommodates mountain bikers of varying skill levels. The volcanic clay trails have a smooth flow that vary in technicality.
Because Makawao Forest is on the windward side of Haleakala, the weather can change quickly and drastically. When the soil here is wet its like “grease mud”, when its dry it hard packed.
The Kahakapao Recreation Area is frequently used by hikers, equestrians and runners. Please be sure to yield to other trail users.