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Big Island The Island of Hawaii
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:01 PM
 
1,872 posts, read 2,816,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCity View Post
Waipio Valley can be scene by horseback, and they provide the auto transportation into and out of the valley. I've used this company, Naalapa Stables, and it was totally fun and beautiful.
I have also used this company and it was EXCELLENT!
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Hilo, Big Island (Waiakea-Uka)
189 posts, read 282,970 times
Reputation: 177
I'd probably agree that if the Waipi'o is your only major 4WD place, let someone take you in there that can really show you the way. Many people think it will only be tourists on tours of the valley, but you're just as likely to meet other locals who are just as wise to let someone else bring them in

You can always do it on your own, but just sayin! Many tours offer local snacks or pupus grown on the Big Island, things may have changed while I was gone, but probably not!
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Puna, Hawaii
4,416 posts, read 4,906,711 times
Reputation: 8048
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCity View Post
While yes, many of the less maintained roads, are doable with a car, I'll bet that not many of us who live here would take our "good car" on those roads. Instead we will be driving our beater car... the car/truck where a few more scratches or dings or knockabouts won't matter. My warning would be that if the OP is thinking of driving on the rougher roads, they take out full car rental insurance. One unlucky dip, one unlucky rock, one unlucky bad scratch, could be costly otherwise. (Overly expensive insurance vs car rental repair fees imposed at the rental return .... the repairs could be wild.)
LOL... I live in Puna... Our "good car" is whichever one is running that day.

But your advice about scratches and rental insurance is good. We had to rent a car after my wife had an auto accident and the routine driving to/fro our house caused a few paint blemishes from getting grazed by the jungle as we went around pot holes. It was noticed by the rental company on the return. They let us off the hook, but I think being kama'aina and talking story with them had something to do with that. If one plans to do some considerable driving off the pavement then the added insurance might be a good idea. Or, just plow through the pot holes. They aren't going to notice gouges on the bottom of the car.
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Hilo, Big Island (Waiakea-Uka)
189 posts, read 282,970 times
Reputation: 177
Also good luck if you get stuck there. Word of warning: don't try to cross the river in your car!
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:36 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
32,658 posts, read 48,053,996 times
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The road down into Wiapio isn't that bad. It's somewhat steep and quite narrow, is all. However, down on the valley floor, 4WD would be nice and a winch might not be a bad idea.

You'd want a car with some guts that has power to climb hills in order to get back out of the valley.

People not accustomed to mountain driving might have a bad time with the road, but only because it might make them feel overly cautious. The road is narrow and the cliff side is steep, so drive slowly.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
5,528 posts, read 12,672,056 times
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I totally disagree with OWS. I believe that a 4WD is required to drive down into Waipio Valley. The guy at the top will stop you from going down if you don't have the right kind of vehicle. It is a 25 percent grade, and you need the extra low gears of a 4WD transfer case.

This road is extremely steep and extremely narrow, and I do not advise anyone to drive it. So much safer to walk or take a tour.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:31 PM
 
1,872 posts, read 2,816,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
The road down into Wiapio isn't that bad. It's somewhat steep and quite narrow, is all. However, down on the valley floor, 4WD would be nice and a winch might not be a bad idea.

You'd want a car with some guts that has power to climb hills in order to get back out of the valley.

People not accustomed to mountain driving might have a bad time with the road, but only because it might make them feel overly cautious. The road is narrow and the cliff side is steep, so drive slowly.
I grew up in the mountains of Oregon. I am extremely used to mountain driving. I respectfully disagree with Oregonwoodsmoke. If you are going to drive down into Waipiʻo Valley, you better have four wheel drive!
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Puna, Hawaii
4,416 posts, read 4,906,711 times
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The 4WD going into Waipio has nothing to do with traction (an AWD can do that). They want the 4WD in LOW 4WD mode so it glides down slowly without smoking the brakes and the vehicle going out of control if the brakes fail.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,969 posts, read 28,443,557 times
Reputation: 10759
I found this to be insightful:

Quote:
"While the road is now paved and only about ¾ mile long, the 25% average grade (said to be up to 45% at some points), taking the road about 900 feet down to the valley floor, is steep enough to destroy brakes on the way down, and stall engines on the way up. The road is therefore restricted to 4x4s (which you'll need anyway to navigate the unpaved roads on the valley floor), and hikers with strong legs."

Hawaii Highways - Road Photos - Waipio Valley
The author also posts photos of the 25% Grade and 4x4s Required road signs.

In addition I'd add that even with a 4X4 vehicle the average driver probably should not be trying this drive.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Hilo, Big Island (Waiakea-Uka)
189 posts, read 282,970 times
Reputation: 177
Agreed for sure - some of my most favorite childhood memories were walking up and down that road. The sights, sounds and smells are so vivid in my head. I've done it in a car, on horse, and on foot (once stupidly on a skateboard for maybe a few hundred feet or so), and getting into the valley by car still ranks at the bottom of the list.

We've all heard story of people getting stuck down there too. Here's hoping the OP comes back with his thoughts now that we've all had our say, right?
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