Your guide to the 5 Best Neighborhoods for Running and Walking in Kona!
Home to the Ironman World Championship, Kailua Kona is steeped in endurance athletics. If you’re a runner like me, the “run-ability” of a town is something that you can’t help but notice. “Where are the trails? Are there sidewalks or at least a good shoulder? How is the lighting?” When my wife and I purchased our home, “run-ability” was a significant factor in where we ultimately decided to buy.
For those who love to lace them up and head out, here are the top 5 walking/running neighborhoods in Kona.
On the north end of Kona, the greater Palisades neighborhood boasts some LEGIT hill climbs but also features many flat-to-mild grade roads perfect for a more manageable workout (Keokeo St & Holoholo St to name a few). In Lower Palisades, park on Ane Keohokolole and head north 1.5mi to Palamanui Community College. When the road ends, a walking path (pictured) continues up the hill for another 2mi with beautiful, panoramic coastal views.
With its higher elevation (1500-3500 ft) and cooler temps, Kaloko is a great change of pace in terms of temp and scenery. The highlight of this neighborhood is the well-kept Makuala O’Oma Trail (pictured) featuring solid elevation gain as it meanders through lush vegetation. There are multiple side roads that loop off of the main Kaloko Rd with stunning estates on acreage.
3. Pualani Estates
If you want to give your joints a break, Pualani Estates features the phenomenal “Blue Park” with soccer & baseball fields perfect for interval training, recovery runs, or cranking out a few miles while the kids play on the playground. The neighborhood itself has excellent lighting, sidewalks throughout, and is a short jaunt down to the excellent Walua Trail (see #2).
2. Walua Road
One of the most popular walking/running/cycling routes in Kona, the Walua Trail begins on Lako Street and heads south for 6miles, alternating between a dedicated walking path & Walua Rd. The well-marked, gradual grade meanders past beautiful homes and leads to some breathtaking vistas of Kahalu’u Bay (pictured).
1. Ali’i Drive
The Crown Jewel. The start/finish of the Ironman marathon course kicks off in downtown Kona and runs along the coast for 7mi to Keauhou with undulating hills, beautiful ocean views, and magnificent oceanfront property. The well-marked, wide shoulders lead runners and walkers past world-class surf breaks and beaches (Banyans, Magic Sands, Lymans, & Kahaluu).
If your favorite running spot didn’t make the list, drop me a comment — I’m always looking for new places to explore.
See you out on the trail!