Oahu Dangerous Roads
Every island in the Hawaiian chain has its fair share of dangerous scenic roads, but did you know that some get so bad, car rental companies refuse to cover them?
Unlike many areas of the mainland, the roads on Oahu can be affected by a variety of conditions such as rock slides, livestock, lack of guard rails, unpaved roads, uneven pavement, and massive potholes.
Fortunately, the following three roads on Oahu will simply give you the willies (they're not closed as of this writing). Just know that if you want to have a relaxing rest of your vacation, you should take it easy while exploring these twisting island trails.
Considered one of the world's scariest roads, Oahu's Pali Highway can be very intimidating to those unaccustomed to navigating its steep and winding path. Located just 5-miles north of Honolulu, the section of the highway leading up to the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is Oahu's shortest scenic drive—but it is also terrifying.
Also known as Highway 61, the super steep trail delivers 360-degree cinematic panoramas of the Ko'olau mountains that make it totally worth your white knuckles. Careful for haole not watching where they are going, though, as this is only a two-lane road and it's a long way down!
The trail to Ka'ena Point runs along what was once a railroad bed and an old dirt road that runs along Oahu’s westernmost point. The entire area remains unpaved and is an off-roader's paradise. The city of Honolulu now requires permits to traverse this region, but it is totally worth going with a guide.
If you can get the passcode to the gate, the trail ends at an incredibly scenic and remote protected area known as the Ka'ena Point Natural Reserve. The region hosts some of the last remains of coastal sand dunes on the island and is home to a variety of native plants and animals.
A simple, two-lane country road, the area can be completely lost to flooding during coastal storms. The highway—formerly known as Highway 83—stretches for 30 miles along the Windward Coast, past wild beaches and ancient valleys. Along the drive (complemented by dangerous surf and bumpy throughways) you'll find small farms, incredibly old fishing ponds, and untamed and unexplored stretches of sand. The serpentine curves of the Kamehameha Highway make this a road on Oahu that is sure to give you the willies.
Out of all of the islands, visiting Oahu is perhaps the tamest when it comes to scary drives. That may work out for the faint of heart, however, because any roads that pose a true danger to the public are already closed off.
To ensure your safety while exploring these regions, never cross into any areas that are roped off, ignore signs, or proceed when unsure. Regardless of how great the government is about maintaining these roads, you are still traversing a thin stretch of pavement along mountainous island peaks. So if you freak out too easily, perhaps just hit one of Oahu’s best beaches, but if you want scenic visions that could make a bird jealous, the roads on Oahu should make your hair stand up.
About the Author
Andrea Griffith is passionate about Hawaii and enjoys sharing her love of the islands at Live Your Aloha.