Updated: Jan 30
Having brought my trail bike to Hawaii and not having a hire car, I needed to find the local trails. A guy in a bike shop mentioned the St Louis trail and whilst searching on Pink Bike’s Trailforks website, I managed to find out roughly where the trail started. From Waikiki it’s a 20 minute bus ride on the Number 14, caught just five minutes down the road from my hostel.
Around here the buses have a really easy to use bike rack on the front of them, I did fail the initiative test the first time I went to use it, once shown how it works, by the bus driver, it’s now easy to load up.
The bus drops you off nearly at the top of the hill in a residential area, keep the noise down or you'll spoil it for everyone! This drop-off gives you a fab view of the Diamond Head Crater, the Waikiki coastline and down on to Waikiki city. Directly opposite the bus stop you will see a sign pointing to the Wa’ahila Ridge Recreation Area. Make your way down this road, it’s not far perhaps a kilometer at most, and you reach the car park. It’s such a peaceful place, very soothing with shade being provided by large pine trees. The view across to the next ridge, and beyond, is awsome, and you nearly want to ditch the bike and hike the trail. Something I plan to do when the rain stops!
You’ll find picnic tables, a sheltered picnic area, toilets and water fountains, all in the rustic setting of the large pine trees. It really is an unassuming place but nicely maintained, probably my favourite, even more so than the beach, to just sit and forget the world.
My first time up at the rec area was mid-morning on a Sunday. It was so nice, I just sat and pondered for quite some time. I had no idea where to find the trail, and would never have guessed it headed back the way I came, albeit on a side pavement. I couldn’t follow any of the instructions on Trailforks site because I’m a dipshit when it comes to following directions!
I noticed a group of downhill bikers congregating around a picnic table, so went to talk to them, to find out where the trails were as I had no idea. I was a little intimidated, they were all on downhill bikes, some real nice rigs; S-works Demo, Trek Session, YT Tues, so I was wondering just how difficult the trails were! I was lucky because they'd decided to ride on a Sunday instead of Saturday.
The first person I spoke to was Skip, and as it turned out he was a real cool guy, and offered to show me down the trail. I felt a little awkward, as I knew it would spoil his ride having a gumby like me tag along! But he was great, waiting at every junction, he showed me a good ride down, unfortunately I didn’t take any of it in, I was like a rabbit in the headlights!
At the bottom of the run Skip offered me a ride back to the top in Russ’ truck (cheeky!!), which was so cool. Stumpy looking the odd one out with their DH rigs staring menacingly out the back of his truck! On my second run, on my own, I went completely the wrong way, which was a little rowdy but enjoyable enough with a few fucks thrown in. Little did I know that there was an even gnarlier trail, which I accidentally got on the second visit I made to the ridge. It is, I believe the one they call the World Cup run, it was mental, and not something I could ride on Stumpy. Stumpy could do it with a good rider, but I couldn’t, I’d have attempted some of it on Desmond (my Demo8)
Before the run when I ended up on the ‘World Cup’ trail, I’d been guided down by another kind local named Derick, who was super fast on a trail bike, and again I didn’t take any of it in, hence when I went on my own, ending up on something I couldn’t ride. It really wasted a run, as it goes straight down the ridge nearly to the bottom, of which I walked most of it.
If you’ve not got an uplift, the walk to the bus stop to get back up is around 15 minutes, mostly up hill. It get’s quite humid at times, so you can end up tired and sweaty before you get back to the trail. But it's nothing like the Aston Hill or Nailcan Hill pushup! And getting on the air conditioned bus is a good rest.
If you’re going to visit this trail, I’d say go on a Saturday and meet up with Skip, Russ, Randy, Dave or Derick, and take some advice from them. These guys built the trails, so know them really well. They’re in really good condition, and they’ve obviously put a lot of effort into them. The runs are really cool, all single track, quite long, what that means I don’t know, just in my mind they’re quite long!! At my pace it’s around 20 minutes top to bottom. I made that up as well, I don’t really know!!!!!! Just long.
The soil is kind of quick’ish draining and sandy, being soft, they can cut up easily, so if you’re going there, be respectful of the work that’s gone into making these abfab runs. There are no braking bumps, so let's keep it that way! From the mid section down, the terrain is more and more pumice, which is sharp and jagged. I’d wear body protection, falling on that is gonna cut.
I’ve been to the ridge twice, doing two runs each time, which was enough for an old bird. I’m itching to get back to make some improvements to my riding. I need to go down slowly and stop and observe the rockier parts to work out a route down without stopping. Stopping just ruins your run, and my tourettes sets in once I get flustered!
There’s been a lot of rain, particularly yesterday when there was a big storm, causing localised flooding. The second time I went was two days after some average rain, the trail wasn’t too wet, a little sloppy on the bottom section.
It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re on Oahu. Big thanks to Skip, Derick, Russel, Dave and Randy for their Hawaiian welcome to DH on Oahu, top guys.
To find go to the Waahila Ridge Recreation Park, it’s on Google maps.
To find the trails take the left-hand footpath down, it becomes the rooty section. Once you see two large telegraph poles on your right you then need to decide which run to take down. Again I’d suggest meeting on a Saturday with the locals.
Get there by bus take the number 14 all the way to the turn around point at the top of the hill
Facilities in the recreation area
Picnic tables and benches
Fab views and friendly locals!
Nothing! To park, ride or hike