Loop Road Closed 2024

Loop Road Closed Through End of 2024

June 19, 2024

The Wailua Forest Management Road, commonly known as “Loop Road,” will remain closed through the end of 2024 due to hazardous and impassable conditions caused by recent storm damage. This announcement comes from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).

The dirt road, located within the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve on Kauai, starts at the Keahua Arboretum and continues for about four miles, ending at a small concrete dam. This is a very wet and tropical area that has been subject to numerous heavy rainfall events over the past six years, significantly impacting the road.  Even during non-events, the road is often pockmarked with large potholes and uneven terrain.

The floods of 2018 were particularly destructive, prompting DOFAW to secure $2,000,000 from the legislature and other sources for essential road and crossing repairs. Following this funding, DOFAW initiated the development of new designs, specifically for the “Queensland Crossing” or “3rd Crossing,” aiming to secure the necessary permits and commence work this summer.

However, April’s heavy rainfall events have further complicated repair efforts. The floodwaters drastically altered the stream channel at Queensland Crossing, necessitating a redesign. This revised design will require a new hydrological survey and additional permits, which are currently delayed due to a permitting backlog. This delay means that it could be several months before work can begin.

DLNR has contracted work for the needed repairs along various segments of Loop Road, including the recently damaged 2nd Crossing and the Queensland Crossing. Additionally, DOFAW will oversee repairs on a 4.5-mile stretch of road inland of the crossings. The DLNR Engineering Division and professional consultants are collaborating with DOFAW to ensure all repairs are conducted efficiently and safely.

For safety reasons, the entire Loop Road will remain closed to all traffic until the completion of the project. The repairs, contingent on weather conditions and permit approvals, are expected to be finalized by the end of December 2024. Until then, the DLNR advises the public to respect the closure and avoid the area to ensure their safety and the smooth progression of the repair work.

Loop Road is popular with a select few local residents who are familiar with the remote area. The 2nd stream crossing (with the bridge crossing at the Keahua Arboretum being the first) is a popular hangout for local families looking to cool off from the heat. The “weir” concrete dam at the end of the road is a perfect place for a picnic. A popular attraction on Loop Road for tourists is the location of the Jurassic Park gate filming. Several trailheads are found along Loop Road, including the Powerline Trail, the Secret Tunnels Trail and the Blue Hole (Weeping Wall) Trail. Some guidebooks list the entire Loop Road as the Jungle Hike, due to the lush scenery found along the road.