Driving up to the Kohala mountains on the Big Island through highway 250 on the Kohala Mountain Road is a very different experience of Hawaii not many people think is a typical part of this tropical island. The area is more known as cattle country and agriculture, where large pasturelands for raising beef and dairy cows up in the Kohala range. The Kohala mountains are the oldest of five mountains in Hawaii and are over a million years in age. The beautiful rolling hills of the upper road is gorgeous and the views to the Kohala coastline below is spectacular especially for viewing some of the most beautiful sunsets overlooking the entire island. Even though it is far removed from the tropical allure of island lifestyle, it is a unique and beautiful area worth driving through from Waimea town to Hawi or coming from the reverse direction.
The area of Kohala is lush with many layers of green rolling hills and pastureland for cattle to graze. This is cattle country, once a thriving industry in Hawaii's agricultural past, but today it is now a smaller agricultural business with beef cattle being raised on the island for local consumption and export. There is also small fledgling dairy industry in Hawaii to service the entire island chain with fresh milk produced in Hawaii.
For those inclined to more adventure sports, you can visit Kahua Ranch and sign up for their horseback riding or ATV tours of the area. Afterwards, you complete the days excursion with an evening sunset and barbeque on the ranch.
Sunsets up in Kohala
On clear nights, sunsets up in the Kohala mountains are pure magic and you can see the entire Kona coastline all the way to the town of Kailua Kona. If you wait until the sun sets and gets darker, the moon rising up along the rolling hills is also gorgeous to see and gives a different view of this scenic area and illuminating the rolling hills.
Afterwards, head back down to either Hawi or Waimea town for dinner. There are many local restaurants in both areas worth trying out depending on what our interests are for dining.
If you go
This scenic road is accessible from Waimea or Kapaa through highway 250. There are look out points and shoulders that you can stop to take pictures or just admire the pastoral and coastline views of the Kohala coasts.
The road conditions change frequently with heavy fog and rain at times, so caution is necessary since there are no guard rails on the downslope areas towards Waimea.
There are no gas stations or stores along the road, so get your provisions either in Waimea town or Hawi.
Find a nice place to turn off the road and enjoy the views of the Kohala coastline and stay for sunset.