Did you see my warning about trying to drive a 2WD vehicle down the Waipi`o Valley access road with its 25% grade? If not, go to my Off the Beaten Path section titled Waipi`o Valley. If you did and you still plan on trying it, here's a photo (left portion of photo) of the new look your car will sport. :)
This car (what's left of it) is at the bottom of Waipi`o Valley. We were told the owner attempted to drive down. His brakes failed and it took the express lane to the bottom. Luckily, the owner didn't go with it.
The photo portion on the right shows the grade. Although not precise, it's close. The camera was held level with the horizon and the car door was close to parallel with the ground. I placed the square digitally for comparison. A grade is an equation of altitude gained (or lost) compared to distance traveled and shown as a percentage. The square shows the 25% grade (if not more at this particular spot).
You definitely need to rent a 4WD to go down here. It's worth it! Lock it into 4-wheel-low, put it into D-1 for automatics and just idle down. You'll never have to touch the brakes. Keep in mind that vehicles coming up and pedestrians (hikers) have the right-of-way. Since the road is very narrow (just wide enough for one vehicle for much of the way), if you see on-coming traffic, stop early at some of the wider areas and wait.
Also note: we read our Jeep's rental contract exclusions and this road is listed as off limits. So, if you go down here and get into trouble, don't call the rental company.
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Waipio Valley may be beautiful and a nice place to have a picnic but the winds can be deadly. Along the way in, you'll find memorials on the side of the road and at the park itself. Exercise caution on windy days. If it's windy on the way in, it's going to be worse at the park. Even with my Oakleys on, I got dirt blown into my eyes.
On the way in, there was so much debris on the road you had to swerve to avoid it or drive in the other lane! On the way out, there was a full tree on the road!!!