5/17/2021 update: Loop Road has reopened as of May 17th, 2021 reports the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). Repair efforts are continuing and only vehicles with 4-wheel-drive capabilities and high clearance should access the road at this time, reports DLNR.
The North fork low-water crossing may be usable in dry conditions, but construction of a new low-water crossing will still be required. Users should not attempt this low-water crossing during heavy rainfall events as it can become extremely hazardous. Despite the reopening, the road has not been fully repaired and we still recommend parking at the Keahua Arboretum and hiking to the Jurassic Park Gate. Loop Road, officially the Wailua Forest Management Road, had been closed following flood damage in 2018.
Jurassic Park Gate
On Instagram and elsewhere, Kauai is often referred to as Jurassic Park, and there’s good reason for that. The primeval island, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, is a favorite filming location for the Jurassic Park movie franchise. One of the most iconic images of the film series is the Jurassic Park Gate, which was constructed and filmed in the rugged interior of Kauai.
The view remains the same, but all that’s left of the gate are the cement posts. The location is on public land in the Waikoko Forest near the island’s “Blue Hole,” the mystical center of Kauai and the source of the Wailua River. For tourists, the location is not exactly easy to find or get to, but with the information below you should be able to visit this landmark site.
The Jurassic Park Gate is about 3.5 miles from the Keahua Arboretum. The road to the Keahua Arboretum is paved, but becomes a dirt road after the bridge at the arboretum.
After the Keahua Arboretum, the road becomes the Waikoko Forest Management Road. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for this part of your trip to the gate. Four-wheel-drive vehicles, including Jeep Wranglers, can be rented at the Lihue Airport. (Please note that car rental companies in Hawaii do not allow off road use of their vehicles, so proceed at your own risk when using a rental vehicle.)
The road is somewhat maintained, but heavy rains and a lack of maintenance have taken their toll in the last couple of years. Potholes that were once annoying or troublesome are now downright frightening, even for Jeep Wranglers. A safer way to reach the Jurassic Park Gate is to hike the road. (This hike even has a name – The Jungle Hike – if going by foot.)
After the arboretum, you will soon see the trailhead for the Powerline Trail on your right (at about 0.1 miles from the arboretum).
At about 0.5 miles from the arboretum you will see a spillway. Do not cross the spillway by foot or vehicle if the waters are too strong. If in doubt, wait to see how other vehicles, if any, fare while crossing the spillway.
Continue on the road past the arboretum for 1.5 miles. You will see a fork in the road. Take the left road.
After the fork, continue for another 1.25 miles. You should see a yellow gate that is open. At this point, the road becomes narrower and we recommend that you park your vehicle and walk past the yellow gate and down the road another .25 miles where you will find the Jurassic Park Gate location. There are two cement posts at the location, as well as another yellow gate that is usually open.
- While potholes are a major concern on the road to the Jurassic Park Gate, low hanging branches should also be a concern for drivers.
- Driving a vehicle to near the gate (when the road is repaired) is the preferred way, in our opinion, to get to the location. However, some people prefer to hike the 3.5 miles (7 miles round trip) from the Keahua Arboretum.
- From what we have seen, an even better way to the gate location is by dirt bike if you have one. A mountain bike might also work, but the road is wet and muddy.
- Due to flash floods, it’s possible that you could be trapped on the far side of the streams at the spillways, leaving you with no way to get back until the waters subside. This has happened to more than a few people. Bring extra water and food in case this happens to you.
- There is generally no phone service in this area, so plan accordingly.
- If at any time you are not sure which fork in the road to take, take the more well-traveled road.
- At approximately 0.5 miles past the spillway there is an underused road that cuts back to the left. There is a powerline tower on the right side of the road. Do not take this road. Keep going on the main road as it veers slightly to the right.
Jurassic Park Gate Photos
ABOVE: Kuamoo Road (Route 580), aka the Loop Road (though there’s no loop), on the way to the Keauha Arboretum.
ABOVE: The bridge at the Keahua Arboretum. The bridge was completed in 2017. Before the bridge there was a spillway at this location.
ABOVE: Keep going past the bridge. The road veers to the left. Soon you will see the trailhead for the Powerline Trail.
ABOVE: The dirt road is decent, at least on the first part.
TWO PHOTOS ABOVE: You will pass a spillway and a wide stream. Please note that the second photo directly above was shot on the return trip and is the view of the spillway coming back.
ABOVE: As you proceed farther down the road, more potholes appear. Try to steer clear.
TWO PHOTOS ABOVE: When you come to this fork in the road, go left.
TWO PHOTOS ABOVE: We recommend that you park your vehicle when you see this gate as the road becomes narrower (though off-road vehicles frequently proceed past this point). You are getting close to the gate.
ABOVE: Walk past the gate and continue up the road for about a quarter of a mile.
ABOVE: Soon, and suddenly, the famous scene comes into view. You have made it to the Jurassic Park Gate!
ABOVE: There is a yellow gate at the Jurassic Park Gate posts. The yellow gate is usually open.
Note: A reader has notified us that these posts are not the actual gate posts from the movie, and that the actual gate was about 300 feet past these posts. However, in our opinion, these posts are related to the movie, as these posts, out in the middle of nowhere, do not seem to serve any other purpose.
TWO PHOTOS ABOVE: The gate posts are made out of cement.
ABOVE: The view on the other side of the gate.
ABOVE: The view looking back from the other side of the gate.
ABOVE: The view from the gate area looks absolutely prehistoric.
ABOVE: A panorama of the view beyond the gate. Click to enlarge (large file).
ABOVE: The road back from the gate to the vehicle.
ABOVE: This box, used by hunters to post information about their lost hunting dogs, is located where we parked the vehicle to hike to the gate. Hunters pursue wild pigs in this area.
Time lapse video by turbosix at YouTube shows the entire route to the Jurassic Park Gate and back.
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