Summary: I have been in love with the North Shore since I was a kid. Growing up on a Boogie Board in the 70’s and 80’s, it was hard not to hear the tales of Sunset and Waimea and to become enamored by the sales of sand and surf and the beautiful sea. Since returning to the island, I’d been trying to work out a decent run to do across the North Shore, something more than just the 3 miles of bike path but something that would been me off of the thin and dangerous roads out past Turtle Bay. Shark’s Cove to RFF Opana seems to fill that need nicely — a good length (11 miles round trip), with plenty of bike path (6 of the 11) and sidewalk running, with great views of the beaches and plenty of places to divert to see the sand and sea. Over the 11 miles, the elevations changes very little, while the route is a mix of shade and exposed roads and paths.
The Good: This route is flat. Gloriously flat. The bike path sections also have a lot of shade, low volume of bike traffic, and slow bike traffic (the serious riders keep to the street, it seems, while the beach cruisers stick to the bike path). The many beaches along the way feature decent enough bathrooms and the occasional water fountain, making this an easier run to do without a camelbak. The bathrooms come in handy for cleaning up after the run, though I favor a dip into the cove more. There are also some good eats in the area for afterward. This run would be amazing if the bike path were longer, but hey, it is what it is.
The Bad: It gets a wee bit warm mid day and into the early afternoon; this is definitely a run to do in the morning. If vehicle traffic is abnormally high, some stretches of this route won’t be much fun to run, as there’s not a lot of spare room on the side. There can be some traffic in and around the entrance to the Kahuku Motocross Park, but the riders always seem to do a great job leaving plenty of room for folks to go by.
The Ugly: None. For me, the worst is looking off to the hills, knowing I can’t run there. Out past Turtle Bay, the road really has no spare room for runners, though I know people do run it.
Type of route: Paved. Some is bike trail, some is something like a sidewalk (though not really), and for some stretches, it’s running along the edge of the road.
Good to run in the rain? Yep.
Length: 11.5 miles, round trip.
Options for the route:Yep, with some risk. The best would be to keep right on going, and to run to La’ie Point State Wayside. That’d make it about 13 miles one way — and a perfect place for family or friends to come get you before spending the day at the PCC or the beach.
Elevation change on the run:Less than a hundred feet.
Water used: None, though if I’d had some with me, I’d likely have used a liter at most.
Where to start: Shark’s Cove, just past Waimea Bay
Where to park: Here
Point your car’s GPS towards: 21.645300,-158.063600, or Kamehameha Hwy at Kapuhi Street. If you get to Foodland, you’ve gone too far.
Water? Yes. Water fountains at public beaches along the way/
Toilets? Yes, near the start / finish of the run
Medical care? Nothing specific. Bring your cell phone to call 911, though there are plenty of people around.
Ranger / park folks? Nope.
Picnic areas? Plenty, at the beaches along the way.
A place to change afterwards? Yes, public restrooms.
You’d run this route when….you want to relax and put in some miles without getting smoked. With so little elevation change, this is a great cruising run.
My rating: 7. The sun can be mean, and the whole running-on-the-edge-of-the-road thing isn’t so cool. I did not give it extra geek points for going to the entrance to RFF Opana, though the thought did cross my mind.
Music: Jimi Hendrix.
Weather / Trail warnings (no) / Permits (not required)