Cycling Waipio Road
19% average over about a mile.
This road is often referred to (incorrectly) as the steepest road in the US and world. Of the climbs we have recorded, Waipio is the steepest road bike climb in the world over ½ mile (several short stretches of roadway exceed Waipio’s 19%, but not for more than 2/10’s of a mile).
Waipio Valley is at the northern end of the Island of Hawaii (Big Island), 50 miles from Hilo and 65 from Kona. The 1 to 1 ½ hour trip to reach this brief climb is worth it - this is an iconic and special bicycle climb. But, why?
It is very scenic:
The scenery is spectacular and this climb is fantastic - on a crumbling, narrow road in a jungle setting with the Pacific Ocean visible for much of the climb.
Hi'ilawe Falls can be seen about ¼ mile past the start of the climb.
I stopped at the stream about a mile past the climb start.
Next time I’ll take my shoes off and carry my bike across - shoulda done it this time.
Great views along the climb . . .
. . . but, really, who’s enjoying the scenery on this beast!
The roadway is unique - very rough and narrow:
Downhill traffic must yield at the steepest sections to uphill traffic.
It is the steepest road in the world (that is longer than 400 yards):
Only 4 wheel drive vehicles are permitted on the road.
This road could not be ridden if it were wet (and it is often wet in these parts) - you must get out of the saddle on several 30%+ sections of the road and if the road were wet, there would just be no way to maintain traction on the rear wheel.
Made it. 👍👍