The Magnificent Scenic Drive Through Rural Hawaii You’ll Fall In Love With

Join us on a Kailani Tours Hawaii tour of your choosing to experience the rural and rugged beauty of the Big Island. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride with our excellent guides educating on the surrounding areas and the culture of Hawaii. Megan Shute for Only In Your State on one scenic drive through rural Hawaii.

When you leave the tourist-packed Waikiki and head to the neighboring islands, you will find the true Hawaii: a rural paradise home to picturesque farms, rolling hills, country roads and views that seem to stretch on for miles. And while there are countless quintessential rural spots throughout Hawaii – including these 13 charming rural towns – there is one road through rural Hawaii you’re certain to fall in love with.

Meandering across the northern tip of Hawaii Island from Waimea to Hawi, Kohala Mountain Road will transport you to another place – perhaps to a place where cows easily outnumber people.

Known locally as “The High Road,” this scenic road measures in at just under 20 miles – and is positively stunning the entire way, passing by rolling hillsides, ranchlands, and some pretty jaw-dropping vistas reminiscent of West Texas (according to my husband and various TripAdvisor members).

With lush forests, open pastures, brilliant meadows, and towering mountains, Kohala Mountain Road has it all.

Despite the stupendous views and wide open spaces, this mountain road is rarely crowded, and full of magnificent pull offs to stop for either a secluded picnic or a quick photograph.

The lookout located near mile marker eight is not to be missed: on a clear day, you’ll be able to see the peak of Mount Haleakala on the neighboring island of Maui.

While driving along Highway 250, you’ll also catch a glimpse of three of Hawaii Island’s major mountains – Hualalai, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa – as you drive up this winding mountain road to approximately 3,500 feet above sea level and descend into the artsy town of Hawi.

Lonely Planet argues that Kohala Mountain Road is easily Hawaii Island’s prettiest drive, and we are certainly inclined to agree – especially with views like these.

While you can drive the Kohala Mountain Road from either direction, many agree that the best views are found when you drive from Waimea north to Hawi.