Spider Loop (Yomitan/Ishikawa)
Spider Loop (for want of a better name - also known as "the same old
place we always ride", or simply "The Fence") is a
favorite place for advanced mountain bikers to hone their technical skills; in
fact some will tell you there's no place else on Okinawa to ride. It
consists of a series of short trails, each with its own character. The
Loop is mostly single-track, with surfaces ranging from dirt to clay to gravel
to (ugh) pavement. There are gnarly technical climbs and
bugs-to-fill-in-the-gaps-in-your-smiling-teeth downhill plunges. If you ride
at all aggressively, then suspension is a must.
How to get there (10-15 min., 8 km)
Turn right (north) onto Route 58 out of Kadena AB Gate 4. Follow Rte. 58
approximately 7 km north until you see a restaurant on the left with 3 large
pigs and a steer out front. You can't miss this. Go .9 km past the
pigs and there will be a traffic light. Turn right and go to the end of
the road. Park here.
Line to HLZ
This section is the start/finish stretch for most rides on Spider Loop.
It follows the fence line around the Munitions Area to the base of the HLZ
trail, with options to branch off to Double Drop (and thence to
or to the Mother of All Downhills (which becomes
Uphill in this direction - definitely not recommended, and in fact,
discouraged). The trail is wide and easy to negotiate, although heavily eroded
The trail is on the left side of the road as you face the fence. (Going to the
right sends you back down Barking Dog). A short
(100m) hill will raise your heart rate in a hurry. From this point on you will
be following a flat red clay road strewn with rocks and eroded down the
middle. Just follow the fence until you come to a hard right bend and a sign
to the left that says "HLZ 1/2 mile". (Some folks like to continue
along the fence until they reach the top of Blurred
The entrance to HLZ marks the beginning of the 1+ km climb to the Hawk missile
site. This trail is also used by motorcycles, so beware! The surface is
almost entirely red clay which gets very slick and sticky after a
rain. The stuff clings tenaciously to your bike and is almost impossible
to wash out of your clothes. The trail is fairly wide single-track, but
it's heavily eroded and therefore makes choosing the right line an exercise in
At the first sharp right-hand bend in the fence line trail there is a sign
nailed to a tree that says "HLZ 1/2 mile". (I tend to think this is
1/2 km...) Just follow the trail to the clearing at the top.
This tree-covered dirt single-track gets its name from the banana spiders that
like to build their webs across the trail. The spiders are harmless, but
they're HUGE and so are their webs. Yuck. Let your friends go in front.
From the top of HLZ, cross the clearing (about 100m) until you come to an
opening in the brush. About 30m up the trail you will see a sign nailed
to a tree high up on the left that says "Spider Alley" (and a bunch of other
stuff). This trail forks left over to the High Road
or continues up to a paved road.
If you failed to climb the last sharp uphill pitch on HLZ then you have a
chance to redeem yourself at the end of Spider Alley; this one's longer and
harder, though. It's earned the nickname Damnit. Bypass the
fence, cross the road and on to Blurred Vision
This is a nice narrow
trail that makes for a quick work out with a tight down hill finish. The
base of the chute can be hit right after Mother as you follow the double
track road, just keep a sharp eye out for a cut into the hillside on the
left of the road.
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