Saddle Road
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Scenic Drives
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
3,719 reviews
Excellent
1,898
Very good
1,292
Average
430
Poor
75
Terrible
24

Steve
Kingman, AZ51 contributions
Nov 2020
We have driven many times in past years and this is very good road now. Takes about one hour or more depending on where you star from. Most of what you will see is lava fields but think about it, it’s HAWAII and there is so much beauty on this island it’s hard to believe.
When you get to Hilo side it changes into two roads 200 and 2000 so that can trick someone up a little. There is lots to see in Hilo, but it also rains more over there.
When coming back to Kona side on saddle back as you start to descend down to Kona area just make sure you have a car with good brakes. The speed can get over 75 miles per hour and start braking when the sign says 1 mile from end. One year with my family & friends and a rented van with Bad brakes I really feared we would not stop! There also is a rest stop on the way and a park area for the kids to get out and play. All and all the Big Island is just a really enjoyable place to spend some time and to take lots of pictures and take away memories.
Written November 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

psudino
Weehawken, NJ3,744 contributions
Mar 2020
Saddle road provides two purposes. From a strictly economic purpose, it is the fastest way to cross the island. From a scenic purpose, it is a very different view of the island than the 11/19 circle island road.

My wife and I did the Circle Island tour so we wanted to see the only part of the island that we wouldn't see on that tour: the center of it. We landed in Hilo, explored that charming town, so ourselves a to go lunch, used the bathroom, and started the long drive across the island.

There are many trail heads along the route and of course the entrance to Mauna Kea. The environment has dramatic changes from lava flows, to forests, to farmlands and the elevation climb and descent makes for some unique and fun driving.

The road itself is maintained wonderfully and you should have no fears driving across it. The only thing to not is that once you start the main road on either end you will not see a restaurant, gas station or public bathroom along the road. So be prepared for the journey before you head out.
Written August 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

wohdonkey
Newark, OH1,965 contributions
May 2019 • Couples
We took Saddle road driving from Kona to Hilo. It is a nice easy drive. It was pretty at sunset with the sky changing colors around the volcanos. We did drive past the Mauna Kea entrance and the protest was going on at the time so we saw all the tents and people camped out. It is a pretty dark road at night tho, tho only light was the reflectors on the roads.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steve W
Land O Lakes, FL49 contributions
Feb 2020
The saddle road is now a very nice smooth road. Its construction in the last few years has made the cross island trip a much more pleasant drive. The major irritation is the amount of slow drivers. Every time we crossed the island we spent long time behind a slow driver. We found it to not be unusual for a vehicle to be driving 10 to 15 MPH below the posted speed limit with 5 or more cars following.
Written March 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kytraveler
Shelbyville, KY209 contributions
Sep 2021
This was a tough one to review as better than average due to landscape but not really very good, so more of a 3.5 for me and I chose to round up. This is a desolate stretch of road and the weather conditions can change rapidly due to changes in altitude from Hilo to Kona. At one point we were driving in fog/mist/clouds, who knows. Flocks of free ranging goats so stay aware. Also, make sure your car's fuel tank is topped off and everybody has made a pit stop as there are no amenities on this route.
Written September 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

aucycles
Waimea, HI26 contributions
Mar 2020
Since the road got redone. Transit time between the East side and West side has dropped by about 15 minutes. The road is designed for speeds higher than 60 mph. The pavement is nice and smooth.
Written March 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cindy H
Alameda, CA1,551 contributions
Feb 2020
We drove this road several times over a couple of days to get from one side of the island to the other. Each time we drove it, we experienced different things due to the weather. The slow moving clouds that looked like a heard of animals creepy along the base of the mountain was really cool. You get a glimpse of this camp site practically in the middle of nowhere as you turn off to the summit of Mauna Kea that we later learned was because of all the protestors that shut down the road to the summit over the building of a new observatory on the mountain. I believe it lasted for 6 months but the resistance was due to the claims it will desecrate the mountain's sacred grounds. It's quite fascinating what transpired on this windy and cold site.
Written February 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MeBe
3 contributions
Jan 2020
This highway not only was a very smooth way to get over to Hilo quick and easy but it was also a nice way to see the sights we had not seen before. There was volcanic rock there that still looks like it did right after it flowed from the mountain and then cooled in its place. It was interesting to see how things started growing out of it in the middle of it with nothing else around. We saw an assortment of wildlife also. I really enjoyed the drive.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Work2travel
Orange, CA432 contributions
Jul 2021
The road itself is in great condition and the cut off on time is great.

How ever, the weather can be challenging. We experienced some heavy rain then there was driving through the clouds. Fog is one thing but the clouds cut visibility down to 20-30 feet.
Written July 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Frank P
Eugene, OR1,216 contributions
Feb 2022
Fastest way to get from Kona coast to Hilo by a long shot. Great views. On this particular trip was a bit tough as it rained pretty heavy most of the way. This is a great road in good condition. Wish there was more rest rooms I only saw one.
Written March 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Saddle Road (Kailua-Kona) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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