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White Road hike is one of the most adventurous hikes we’ve done. The hike is located on the north side of the Big Island at the back end of the Waipio Valley. The hike takes you through irrigation tunnels, includes spectacular views of the valley below and finishes off with a natural waterslide at the end.
NOTE: THIS HIKE INVOLVES TRESPASSING ON PRIVATE LAND. IN RECENT YEARS DNLR OFFICERS HAVE STOPPED AND CITED HIKERS
Time Required: 3 Hours
Trailhead: 3.5 miles east of Waimea
Distance: 8km round trip
Highest Elevation: 800m
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Difficulty: 7/10 – Route finding/slippery trail with exposure
Season: Year round.
Additional Requirements: Headlamps, inflatable tubes, swimsuit
From Waimea: Head East on Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 19) for 3.5 miles, turn left onto White Road and go north for a half mile where you’ll come to a gate. This is the start of the hike.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes. Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected blisters. A pair of water shoes might come in handy as your feet will get very wet when walking through the tunnels.
- Water: Always bring water.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing: You will be exposed to the elements throughout this hike. Be sure to bring a swimsuit! Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Inflatable tube: If you want to try the slide bring an inflatable tube to sit on.
- Headlamp: The irrigation tunnels are dark. A headlamp will make them easier to navigate.
- Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
- Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
- This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike
Trespassing: This hike is illegal. The route passes through private property. Hikers have been fined by DNLR officers!
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
Summary: The starting point is at the end of White Road. The trail continues through a gate and along some irrigation water channels to Waipio Valley. From there the trail follows the edge of the valley to a mile-long irrigation tunnel. This tunnel will lead you to the slide.
There is a gate at the end of White Road (Route marker #1 on the map) that you will have to hop over to start the hike. The road still continues along the same path, it just changes from paved to dirt. The path will zig zag around a large circular pond and then into the forest. The trail is well tracked and pretty easy to follow. You will come to a gate, go through the gate, and close it behind you.
From there the trail follows along an irrigation ditch. Water may or may not be flowing through it depending on the rainfall in the last few days. The trail is full of lush, dense jungle but is pretty easy to follow. It will stray from the irrigation ditch to a lookout point of Waipio Valley (Route marker #2 on the map). The views from the lookout are stunning!
Turn left and take the trail along the edge of the drop off to the valley below. Be careful on this trail, it follows the edge of the valley and one wrong step and you could fall off a cliff. Keep walking on the trail until you reach a black irrigation tube (these act as bridges for the water to run over the valley). You will have to either cross over the tube or go through it. Water levels through the irrigation tube vary. Both climbing through and climbing on top of the tube present risks. If the water flow is too high it may be dangerous to enter the tunnel but falling from on top of the tube could be fatal. Use your judgement on what the best option to get across is at the time you are there.
From here the most straight forward route to the slide is through the irrigation tunnel. There is also a trail to the slide that continues to the right and goes back along the valley to the waterfall. If the waterflow is high it may be easier to follow the trail along the valley instead of goiing through the tunnel.
If you choose the irrigation tunnel hopefully you have a headlamp with you! The tunnel is dark and has fast flowing water in places. The tunnel is about a mile long and will open up a couple times before you make it to the waterslide. If you follow the tunnel you will eventually reach the waterslide (Route marker #3 on the map)! The alternative route is along the valley and can be slippery with a steep drop into the valley. Be careful of your footing if you take this route.
After enjoying the slide head back to White Road by heading back on the route you came.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
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Have fun out there!