Big Island Running
Running on the Big Island transports you into another world. The extreme landscape of lava rock and lush rainforest make for an awe inspiring experience. We highlight the best Big Island running trails.
The island of Hawaii, more commonly known as the Big Island, is the most southern island of the Hawaiian Islands. The largest and youngest of the Hawaiian Island chain, Big Island has seemingly endless outdoor activities and is home to the IronMan World Championship in Kona. Athletes from around the world come to Kona to train and compete in triathlons. With long roads for cycling, ocean front running trails, and crystal clear water it’s no wonder why so many flock to Big Island to train. In this article, we share with you the best Big Island Running Trails across the island. We cover everything from casual evening jogs while on vacation to more extreme training runs.
The wide shoulder on both sides of Ali’i drive in Kona make this the most popular running route in Kona. During the day Ali’i drive is bustling with cars, tourists, and locals. The primary business center of the Big Island, Kona is the most populous city on the Island. Along the road you can easily track your distance with the mile markers posted every half mile.
The best running route in Kona is south along Ali’i Drive to Magic Sands Beach. Roughly 5.5 miles in each direction, this out-and-back route can be broken up with a relaxing swim at Magic Sands Beach.
The ocean front Kings Trail connects Mauna Kea beach to Hapuna beach. This trail was once walked by the ruling chiefs of Hawaii. Today, visitors and locals can walk or run the trail while soaking up the best views on the Kohala coast.
If getting a runners high isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush for you, try running next to an active volcano. Early morning runs around the cauldron and seeing the red glow of lava is a magic experience. If running close to lava isn’t your thing, Volcanoes National Park has a variety of rain forest running trails as well.
The rim trail around the caldron is best run in the early morning when they sky is still moderately dark. I recommend wearing a head lamp as the trail does have sporadic rocks and unexpected obstacles. The trails in Volcanoes park are the best Big Island running trials in my opinion.
A truly historic part of Hawaii, Hilo was once home to the most powerful ruling chiefs in Hawaii. Stories tell of the king surfing in Hilo bay on massive wood surfboards. Today, Hilo is a popular destination of visitors looking to experience old Hawaii. Located at the most South Eastern tip of Hawaii, the small bay town is the most exposed to extreme weather.
The best running in Hilo is the bay front trail. This paved path is directly on the water and curves around the bay. Along the trail are multiple beach parks with restrooms.
The Big Island Running Company in Kailua-Kona is the best running store on the Big Island. If you want to get some authentic Run Big swag, this is the spot.
The retail store carries a great assortment of accessories and apparel. Big Island Running Company carries these brands of running shoes:
The friendly staff can share with you their top picks of the best Big Island running trails. If you are lucky, they will connect with you on The Klubb app to share their private routes.