If you’re looking for a little bit of excitement and adrenaline, you won’t want to miss the White Road hike to the Big Island water slide. Not on any official maps, we were lucky enough to know some locals who had heard about it and were keen on the adventure. For those of you who aren’t so lucky to know someone to lead the way, keep reading for a step-by-step guide to the White Road hike, one of the best hikes on the Big Island.
HOW TO GET TO THE WHITE ROAD HIKE
The White Road hike going to the Big Island water slide is pretty off the grid, so you’ll need to follow this Google Maps pin to the trailhead. This is your first of many warnings telling you the hike is on private property. Hiker discretion is advised.
It’s about a four-hour round trip to the Big Island water slide and back and we don’t recommend doing it in the dark, so you’ll want to start around midday. It’s higher elevation so the temperature is a lot cooler which makes for a more pleasant hike. Regardless of how sunny it is at sea level, there’s a good chance you’ll run into fog further up the mountain.
CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK
Whilst the White Road hike to the Big Island water slide is technically illegal, it’s still a reasonably popular hike amongst locals and in-the-know tourists. The gentleman at the first house along the trail will let you pass if you give him $10 per person. We don’t like to think of it as an entrance fee or bribe, more of an aloha gift! Out of respect, please don’t try to sneak past him, and for the love of Mother Earth, make sure you keep the trail clean. There’s no one there to pick up after you.
WHAT TO BRING TO THE BIG ISLAND WATER SLIDE & WHITE ROAD HIKE
Prepare for your trip to the Big Island water slide with our must-have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick-dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
To see our complete camera gear read this post here.
BEST BIG ISLAND TOUR PACKAGES
WHITE ROAD HIKE TO BIG ISLAND WATER SLIDE
As we mentioned, the White Road hike begins on private property, so you’ll need to hop the gate at this pin and walk to the house a few hundred metres down the path – you’ll see it from the fence. You’ll likely be greeted by the man of the house and expected to leave your aloha gift. Continue the trail past his house and go through the next gate that gave us Jurassic Park vibes, but instead of trying to keep the velociraptors in, it’s there to keep pesky tourists out.
From there it’s smooth sailing and not a lot of incline the rest of the way along the White Road hike until you end up on top of Waimea Canyon.
If it wasn’t for the Big Island water slide farther along the trail, we’d forgive you for thinking the Waimea Canyon was the grand finale of the White Road hike. From your vantage point, you’ll have the most insane views of the canyon. We couldn’t help but stop here for a little while to snap some photos.
We continued our journey along the White Road hike until we reached a bridge which isn’t really a bridge at all but a giant water pipe. If you’ve seen the Lion King (who hasn’t?) the bridge gave us major Hakuna Matata dance scene vibes. We Hakuna Matatad our way to the other side, but if you’re afraid of heights or slipping and falling to a dramatic demise, you can go around the pipe instead.
The bridge will lead you to a tunnel which is your home stretch to the Big Island water slide. Follow the tunnel all the way through, even when you think you’ve missed your exit, just keep going until the very end. We thought the tunnel was a dead end so we turned back and went around the mountain, which takes so much longer and isn’t an advisable trail. You might want to bring a flashlight for this part.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE BIG ISLAND WATER SLIDE
The tunnel will spit you out right at the Big Island water slide, but since we backtracked we had to follow the water upstream until we reached the slide.
The slide is around 30ft long, and you’ll need to climb up a very narrow slot on the right of the slide using the provided rope. Give it a good yank first to make sure it’s still strong and secured.
The slide itself is pretty mossy which makes it nice and slippery to go down, but for this reason, you definitely don’t want to wear light coloured swimmers. Tip: don’t drag your heels like Carson, lest you want to end up with big friction blisters on your heels.