05 Jan Kuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail – Oahu, Hawaii Hike
Kuli’ou’ou Ridge is a beautiful hike near Honolulu (where Jedd grew up) with several interesting changes in landscape. It is challenging enough that you feel you’ve truly earned the magnificent view at the top!
The Ridge Trail is 5 miles round trip. It’s listed on Oahu Hiking as “Beginner to Intermediate” but with the elevation gain, you will no doubt get a work-out! Step carefully as you are often walking on a gnarly tangle of roots and the trail gets slick when wet.
A note about the Kuli’ou’ou Valley Trail: Both the ridge and valley trails start from the same spot (see directions below). The valley trail is a much easier 1.2 mile (each way) out and back. It’s a nice walk for exercise but somewhat anti-climactic.
Hiking up a mountain of tree roots!
To get an idea of the overall lay-out of the hike, I like this map: Kiapolo’s Flicker Map
Directions to the Kuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail
From the Kalanianaole Highway, turn onto Kuliouou Road at the light. Follow it back into the valley and then make a right on Kalaau Place where you’ll park near the end of the street.
Click on a thumbnail below to see a larger image:
Shortly after starting down the dirt path, you’ll take a right to get on to the Ridge Trail. Here, I picked up a walking stick, which – though not obligatory – came in handy while maneuvering back down some of the steeper sections of the hike.
Most of the time, the trail is easy to follow but occasionally you’ll want to be extra observant of where the path is most matted and worn to stay on track. (There are a few side trails which frequently seem to lead to little camping spots.)
About half-way up, you’ll see a covered picnic hut. This is one place to take a snack break, but I recommend continuing up just a little farther. Go through the crazy doorway of trees (pictured above) and park yourself on the bench (pictured below) to enjoy the first great viewpoint looking south.
From this point on, the trail gets a bit steeper. The last 1/3 of the climb has less tree cover, more views, and – eventually – lots of stairs!
At the peak, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views. Stunning!
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