12 Apr Wilhelmina Rise Mau’umae Trail Hike in Honolulu – Oahu, Hawaii
We’ve always called this the Wilhelmina Rise hike, although the trail name is Mau’umae and it’s also known as Lanipo. It’s one of several ridge hikes between the valleys east of Honolulu city center, off highway 1. In our opinion, the first section of the trail is the perfect first Oahu hike for visitors. You get beautiful views over neighborhoods, mountains, valleys, and all the way out to the ocean.
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About the Hike
The first stop at the bench is 0.7 miles. You’ll make a significant descent and then ascend back up, with a little bit of scrambling. It’s not technical or scary, but you do need to be somewhat agile, wear decent shoes, and pay attention to your footing. If you have bad knees, this hike is probably not for you.
Turn around at the bench for a 1.4 mile hike
There are spectacular, panoramic views almost the entire way, as you are following the top of the ridge between two valleys. Consequently, you are exposed to the sun and the elements with very little shade, so be prepared with sunscreen – or better yet, do the hike first thing in the morning like we did!
Photo credit: Brother, Josh Chang
Photo credit: Brother, Josh Chang
For even more spectacular views and a glimpse into Ka’au Crater, continue on to the end of the trail – it is one of many “summits” you’ll encounter.
After passing the bench overlook, you’ll go through at least three little shaded pine tree sections. Then, at one point when the trail opens up again and it’s all smooth red/orange rock going up, you’ll see a couple ropes at the top of the hill to help you up. You can actually skip this section by looking for a small trail off to the right, which is marked with pink ribbons. The two paths reconnect after a very short distance, and then you’ll be in the fern section.
The ferns apparently get very overgrown and can really scratch up your legs and snag soft fabrics. When we went through (Spring 2017), the trail had recently been cut back so it was no problem. But whenever they grow back, it would be wise to wear good trail pants.
The full hike is 3.5 miles one way. On our most recent hike, we turned around a bit earlier – between the bench and the end point. There’s a nice grassy clearing on the top of the second big peak which has a great panoramic view of the coastline. From there, you can see all of Diamond Head unobstructed.
Mau’umae Trailhead Directions
To get to the trail, you can head straight up Wilhelmina Rise. It’s a steep road, so if you prefer, there’s also Sierra Drive which weaves up the hill on a slightly more gradual incline. At the top is a loop, Maunalani Circle.
We completely missed the entrance the first time we drove by. There’s a chain-link fence for the Board of Water Supply that says “No Trespassing” – don’t worry, you’re not going in there but rather, around it. Sandwiched between the chain link fence and another fence belonging to some houses, is the start of the trail.
Parking on the street is free. As always, be conscientious of the neighbors.
Jedd and Michelle at the trailhead. Photo credit: Brother, Josh Chang
What to bring
- Decent, sturdy shoes
- Plenty of water
- Sunscreen and hat
- Cell phone – and tell someone where you’re going if you do it alone
- Pants that don’t snag if you’re going through the fern section
- Walking stick – if you like the extra support
When to go
Watch for recent or incoming rain as the trail can get muddy, like most hikes on Oahu. Early morning was perfect to avoid direct sun. We would not recommend going too close to sundown to avoid getting stuck in the dark.
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