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Saddle Road

Saddle Road

Hawaii State Highway 200, also known as Ala Mauna Saddle Road or simply Saddle Road, is a very scenic drive located in the Island of Hawaii, in USA. Along the way, the road reaches a maximum elevation of 2.062m (6,765ft), at Humuula Saddle.

The road is 52.7 mi (84.8 km) long and links Hilo and the junction with Hawaii Route 190 near Waimea. The road was marginally maintained but now it has been enhanced and improved a lot. It feels like a highway and reduces the trip to around an hour. The surface of the road is asphalted. Excellent road surface. Two roads intersect Saddle Road close to Puʻu Huluhulu at its crest near mile 28 at 6,632 ft (2,021m) above sea level, the Mauna Loa Observatory Roadto the south, and the Mauna Kea Summit Road to the north.
The drive is definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera! The highway reaches a maximum elevation of 2.062m (6,765ft) at Humuula Saddle and experiences heavy use as it provides the shortest driving route from Hilo to Kailua-Kona and access to the slopes of Mauna Loa and the Mauna Kea Observatories. There have been major improvements to most stretches of this road over the last few years. Since 1992, there has been increased attention on the road, with efforts to rebuild and renovate the highway into a practical cross-island route. This resulted in repaving some sections and complete rebuilding of others. It's no longer off limits to rental cars (but check your contract to be sure!) and it's smooth and has adequate shoulders the whole way. In the uphill sections there is a separate lane for trucks and slower cars. There are areas on the road with no cell service, though call boxes have been placed along the highway. There are no gas stations or stores or manned places to get help - take the number of an island tow company with you in case you need help. During bad weather or heavy cloud cover, visibility can be close to zero. Wild animals and birds can be a hazard by running across the road - drive cautiously. Pavement edges can be rough and head-on collisions are still a real problem. Newly paved road makes this a lot easier and saves time getting to the other side of the island. 

 

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