Saddle Road
Saddle Road
4.5
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  • ticoalra
    Jefferson, Maryland300 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Breathtaking views
    We used Saddle Road to transition from the Kona area to the Hilo area. The views were spectacular and really showcased the diversity of the island. We lucked out and had a really clear drive for half the way and then it clouded up. To be able to see Mauna Kea on one side and Mauna Loa on the other was awesome.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 1, 2023
  • County-Hunter
    Tacoma, Washington3,639 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A beautiful highway
    Who would have thought that I would be rating a road as a thing to see and do. And not only that, but giving it 5 stars. First of all, the road is in great shape. It is smooth and wide. It has passing lanes going up hill and you will be going uphill, from sea level to 5,000 feet or so in the "saddle" between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. If you have time, take the road up to Mauna Kea. It had some great views.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 21, 2023
  • warrenbruin
    Tehachapi, California152 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Quick commute from the West Island to Hilo
    Every time I vacation in Hawaii I am reminded of how well maintained the roads are here on the Big Island. The Saddle Road is no exception. It’s a smooth ride and as long as I don’t get behind a Pillsbury Slow Boy I am totally relaxed to and from Hilo. Make sure your phone is hooked into your entertainment system because the radio signal is weak and will frustrate you if you like listening to music during your drive. Less than an hour and a half from Waikoloa to Hilo is a time bargain in my book.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 3, 2023
  • maryjaymej
    Juneau, Alaska42 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    “Great Goats” this is a Road to Behold!
    Most of this Road is nicely and newly paved. If you’re lucky enough on the day you travel it, you’ll get to experience every weather occurrence with the exception of snow and ice. We had fog, light rain, pounding pouring rain, mist, clouds, and hellfire bright sun going towards Waikaloa around sunset. Be careful as this is a goat slalom course on many turns and with the rain they all run out to the road to try to drink fresh water. Some of them seemed very determined to sacrifice themselves to end their miserable existence….poor things… we brake checked that rental car good quite a few times…. Luckily none became hood ornaments and we’ll keep our insurance rates low….I’d recommend trying to stay within the speed limit, although it’s tempting to cannonball run this stuff only due to the constantly changing conditions and wildlife. I’d also suggest traveling it in lighted conditions, as it seemed as if the goats got bigger and bolder as the sunset… full Billy Goat Beards and Horns on a few…we traveled it 2 times during our stay. Middle afternoon was better than racing the dark to get back! Enjoy and best of luck to you all.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 20, 2023
  • CAH6145
    Madison, Wisconsin77 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hawaii-The Big Island
    The Big Island is fascinating with its lush gardens contrasting with its enormous lava fields. February might not be the ideal time to visit as we encountered a lot of rain even on the “dry” west side. The volcano calderas are amazing, Volcano National Park is worth at least a day visit; much to see and learn. The Hawaiian culture is respected and interesting in all aspects. Saddle road, which connects the two sides of the island between the two largest volcanos, is a vastly improved road and worth the ride.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 23, 2024
  • Hal72
    Olympia, Washington634 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful sightseeing trip.
    When we first came to the Big Island you couldn't take rental cars up here. The road has been improved. The new high speed part makes crossing the island fast and easy. The old road is a favorite for poking along looking for birds, pigs, sheep, and goats. Great views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Provides access to the Observatory visitor center on Mauna Kea.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 29, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,733 reviews
Excellent
1,911
Very good
1,291
Average
432
Poor
75
Terrible
24

Steve W
Land O Lakes, FL46 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

aucycles
Waimea, HI24 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

maryjaymej
Juneau, AK42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
Most of this Road is nicely and newly paved. If you’re lucky enough on the day you travel it, you’ll get to experience every weather occurrence with the exception of snow and ice. We had fog, light rain, pounding pouring rain, mist, clouds, and hellfire bright sun going towards Waikaloa around sunset. Be careful as this is a goat slalom course on many turns and with the rain they all run out to the road to try to drink fresh water. Some of them seemed very determined to sacrifice themselves to end their miserable existence….poor things… we brake checked that rental car good quite a few times…. Luckily none became hood ornaments and we’ll keep our insurance rates low….I’d recommend trying to stay within the speed limit, although it’s tempting to cannonball run this stuff only due to the constantly changing conditions and wildlife. I’d also suggest traveling it in lighted conditions, as it seemed as if the goats got bigger and bolder as the sunset… full Billy Goat Beards and Horns on a few…we traveled it 2 times during our stay. Middle afternoon was better than racing the dark to get back! Enjoy and best of luck to you all.
Written October 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MeBe
2 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cindy H
Alameda, CA1,519 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael B
Bellflower, CA24,143 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019
In down town Hilo on Kamehameha Avenue is the zero marker for the start of route 200, or as it’s known locally, the Saddle road and short cut to Kona. The drive takes about an Hour and a half at a reasonable speed along this beautiful new road. It’s a constant drive up hill for the first 20 miles from the Hilo waterfront, over the lava flows and through the bush. Be on the lookout for wild pigs in the bushes, as they might rush out in front of you. When we traveled this road, it was a little misty, and drizzling rain, but this soon cleared up near the top, allowing us to see both Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Take advantage of the pull offs to take pictures, but be warned when you get out of your car it will be cold, so take a jacket and wear long pants. There is also a nice rest stop about midway too.

TIP: Make sure your petrol tank is full before you leave.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CAH6145
Madison, WI77 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
The Big Island is fascinating with its lush gardens contrasting with its enormous lava fields. February might not be the ideal time to visit as we encountered a lot of rain even on the “dry” west side. The volcano calderas are amazing, Volcano National Park is worth at least a day visit; much to see and learn. The Hawaiian culture is respected and interesting in all aspects.
Saddle road, which connects the two sides of the island between the two largest volcanos, is a vastly improved road and worth the ride.
Written March 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John B
new london, Minnesota21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
The Saddle Road between Manu Kea and Manu Loa has been in existence for a long time. It was a treacherous route but it has now been rebuilt and is very easy and safe to traverse. If it is raining, which the East side gets often, there is little to see but consider that you are in Hawaii afterall. The road improvement is mainly from Hilo (east side) to an area east of Kona (west side). The road from Kona to the junction with the Saddle Road is narrow but very drivable. It hasn't been upgraded for some time and is about 45 miles long. The Saddle Road provides you with a much shorter, safer route from east to west.
Written March 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tom B
Salida, CO2,138 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Very diverse and interesting drive dissecting the island from the west to the east coast and back. The landscape really changes as you gain and loose elevation throughout this drive. West coast dry to the wetter east coast at Hilo make for an education in climate diversity. Not too many pullouts along this drive, but the road is in great condition.
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kytraveler
Shelbyville, KY193 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Saddle Road - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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