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The Ohana Trail is the only pre-approved mountain bike-specific trail on the island of Oahu.
This trail was originally constructed by the IMBA Trail Care Crew, although the locals have since added onto it with more hand-built singletrack. Despite being an authorized and approved trail, the Ohana Trail starts like all trails in Hawaii: from an unassuming trailhead on the side of a random road, with no signs and no parking lot.
If you’re riding the trail as a loop without a shuttle vehicle, the paved road forms an obvious climbing route to get from the lower trailhead to the upper trailhead.
However, some riders choose to pedal Ohana as an out-and-back from either end in order to maximize the time on the singletrack. Even though you’ll have climbed several hundred feet on the paved road, once on the singletrack, the trail keeps going up.
The mountains in Hawaii are all incredibly steep-sided, and even though this trail features superb benchcutting and sweeping corners and is located in some of Hawaii’s mellower terrain, the elevation gain is still notable.
Thankfully, all the climbs are manageable when they’re dry. There’s no guarantee that they will be dry, however.
The Ohana Trail is located on Oahu’s east side, which is the wet side of the island.
This side of the mountains catches all of the precipitation, as the dense jungle threatening to reabsorb the trail will attest. Ohana's machine-built singletrack can be a welcome breath of fresh air after pedaling Oahu’s tighter, twistier trails.
The singletrack flows through dips and rollers, and almost every corner has a low berm on it.
After climbing and traversing along the hillside, the singletrack drops rapidly back downhill, losing all of its elevation in a flowy, bermed-up descent.
Despite being such a short trail, the descent feels long and luxurious.
The trail ducks and weaves through Oahu’s dense undergrowth, passing beneath the soaring boughs of a “Big Tree.” You’ll even get to enjoy one beautiful overlook of the nearby mountains.
In an interesting turn of events, the machine cut singletrack ends abruptly in the middle of the forest.
It feels as if the crew just packed up and left before the project was completed, although I’m not clear on the exact history.
However, more hand-built trail has been cut to bring you back to the paved road.
A rooty climb heads up and over a low ridge, subsequently dropping into more high speed descending with a few abrupt switchbacks.
Before you know it, you’ll pop out of the woods, back at your car.