Dirt Biking in Movie Set Paradise
Don’t feel bad huffing and puffing as you climb the Green Monster; your Bike Hawaii guide did warn that it’s a cardio workout. This steep grassy slope is just one of the ascents awaiting you when you dirt bike at Kualoa Ranch in Kaaawa Valley on Oahu. Along the way, too, you’ll peddle fast on dirt roads dodging cow patties and the cows they came from. And from time to time, you just have to stop and look down the steep cliffsides at the kayakers paddling through the azure ocean toward Chinaman’s Hat, the pointy spit of island nearby. On your trip you’ll also enter a World War II bunker that was converted in a movie museum. And dotted along the terrain you’re exploring are sites where parts of the movies Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, and the television show Lost, were filmed.
Dirt-bike riding choices vary on this scenic 4,000-acre (1,619-hectare) ranch. While wimpier friends or family members might stay on dirt roads, you can charge up single-track trails toward hilltops, or thread among trees on a zigzagging path. You may encounter swollen river streams, so get ready to jump, but be prepared for the muddy bank on the far side. Ride along the rutted ground covered with tree roots that’s interspersed with rocky terrain and you’ll reach the site where some of the Windtalkers war scenes were filmed. Who knows? If you’re lucky, you might even stop for a rest and get to watch a monster movie being filmed.
Bike Hawaii, based in Honolulu, offers 2- to 3-hour dirt biking excursions twice a week. The company will pick you up at your lodging and bring you to the ranch. Bike rental is included, and a Kona full-suspension upgrade is available. After an intro session, the groups go out with a few guides, so the more skilled and stronger riders can take the single track over rugged, jagged terrain and hillsides, while the less adventurous take tamer trails. While the mileage listed on the website is approximately 6 miles (10km), don’t be fooled. Bicyclists and runners training for the XTERRA and Mountainman competitions train here. Though the courses might be relatively short, they can be challenging.
Bike Hawaii has several other adventures including an Oahu Hike, Kayak, and Snorkel Adventure, and a Bike, Hike, and Snorkel Adventure. The family-owned Kualoa Ranch, a working cattle ranch, has its own offerings for tourists. On the ranch you can go horseback riding or drive an ATV tour on rough trails around the ranch. —LF
When to Go: Year-round.
Honolulu (18 miles/29km).