The Saddle Road crosses the Big Island over a high central saddle between two 14,000 foot volcanoes, one active (Mauna Loa) and one long-dormant (Mauna Kea). Until recently, the Saddle Road was notoriously difficult: sharp, off-camber curves, potholes, rocky shoulders, rain, fog, brilliant sunshine, breathtaking vistas, thin air, and awe-inspiring volcanoes, one of which remains dangerous. Driving the Saddle is in many ways like operating a small press. The active Pu'u 'O'o eruption is on the horizon.

The Saddle Road as seen from about 8,000' elevation on Mauna Kea.