Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Big Island's White Road to a Cliffhanger

White Road is a rural cul-de-sac just outside of Waimea in the high cowboy country on the Big Island of Kauai. You'd never guess guess that the trail, a 1.5-mile meander along an irrigation ditch in the tropical Kohala Forest Reserve, reaches a 2,000-foot precipice at the edge of Waipio Valley, directly across from Alakai Falls. After rains, a half-dozen or more other white ribbons carve the steep green walls of the valley.

From the precipice, hikers can continue up the valley along the edge (acrophobics beware) to the head and the Bamboo Altar—an opening in a thick grove that looks down the 6-mile gorge to the beach. The White Road Trailhead—one of the best in Hawaii—was closed in recent years because a landowner at the beginning of the trail (in Hawaiian Homelands) barred access to the first few hundred feet of his lease, to the forest reserve boundary. The controversy apparently has been resolved and hikers once again are enjoying this awesome walk. See page 34 of Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer.