North Hilo, East Big Island – Old Highway 4 mile scenic drive
Address: Highway 19 between the 7 and 8 mile marker
Going North leaving Hilo, after the 7 mile marker, look for the Old Mamalahoa Highway sign with a “scenic road” sign on it. This is not to be missed and should be taken together with a visit to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. The scenic road is free of course. See my separate post for the botanical garden.
Modern Highway 19 didn’t always exist. Before it was built, Old Mamalahoa Highway was the way one traveled across the island. There are still many parts of the highway around, like this one, and they are always beautiful. This stretch of road is especially nice. Stop to enjoy scenic one way bridges and streams running through lush jungle. This is Hawaii as seen in postcards. Stops should include Onomea Bay. Stop on the side of the road and walk at least part way down the paved walking road. As shown below, there are other bridges and streams that allow you to stop and simply take in the beauty. You will pass the entrance of Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden along the way. If time permits, this may be the nicest botanical garden you will ever see. It isn’t the diversity that is special, it’s just really pretty with the end of the internal trail arriving at the ocean. Continue after the garden and the road loops back to the main Highway 19.