Ka`u Scenic Byway- the Slopes of Mauna Loa

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Kau Scenic Byway- the Slopes of Mauna Loa - Hawaii Island

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Highway 11 in Kau, the Kau Scenic Byway, is the route a traveler would normally follow from the Kona (west side) direction and driving towards the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The western slopes from Manuka State Park to the entrance to the Kahuku section of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park feature a forest reserve and broad vistas with sweeping views of the ocean and mountain. This section includes landscape passing over relatively new lava so the traveler can experience transitions from substantially untouched to well vegetated volcanic terrain and rain forest. The southern slopes from Kahuku to the county park at Honuapo Bay include the green segment that winds into the Waiohinu Valley then down towards the ocean, with a panorama that may extend to a distant view of the Kilauea volcano. The eastern slopes cover the area from Honuapo to the main entrance to the Hawaii Volcanoes National park and offer long, sweeping green views towards the Mauna Loa summit as well as the spectacular and unusual Ninole Hills. The road rises from sea level to over 4,000 feet and is partly within the boundary of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Kau Scenic Byway offers by far the longest stretches of unspoiled natural scenery to be found anywhere in the inhabited Hawaiian Islands.

Click below for travel guide to the Kau Scenic Byway:
Kau Travel Guide (PDF)

For information on news in the Kau area please visit kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com
For information on events along the byway please visit The Kau Calendar website, The Kau Coffee Mill website or visit the “Events” section of this site.

Byway Sponsor Group:
Ka`u Chamber of Commerce


The Manuka Park end point of the Byway is located an approximately 1 hour drive from Kona airport. Take Highway 19 south from Kona Airport; the Hawaii Belt Road becomes Highway 11 in Kailua-Kona.  The drive that includes a 15-mile narrow, winding section of Highway 11 in South Kona.

The National Park end point is about a 40 minute drive from Hilo airport. At the airport exit turn left onto Highway 11 and follow it towards the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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Corridor Management Plan

Maintaining state designation as a Hawaii Scenic Byway requires the approval of a Corridor Management Plan. The byway sponsor community group, Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, has submitted the following draft for approval to the Hawaii Department of Transportation and the Hawaii Scenic Byways State Advisory Committee.

Ka’u CMP Draft Narrative (PDF)