Hike the Kuli'ou'ou Ridge Trail
Hawaii › Kuliouou Ridge Trail
Added by Shauna Simons
The Kuli'ou'ou Ridge Trail is a diverse and beautiful 5-mile round-trip hike with great views of both Hawaii Kai and the Windward Coast from the summit.
The view from the Kuliouou summit is one of the most rewarding on the island and well worth your time. This diverse hike is somewhere between a beginner and intermediate level and takes 2-4 hours, depending on your pace. The trail is well maintained and very popular on the weekend. Start early to avoid the heat and the crowds.
The Kuliouou Ridge Trail starts at the end of Kalaau Place and proceeds through a series of switchbacks that zigzag up to the ridgeline, treating you to occasional ocean views along the way.
The final push to the summit involves hiking up a steep set of stairs. From the top of the ridge, look left to see the Mokulua Islands, straight ahead is Waimanalo, and to the right you'll find Rabbit Island and Koko Head Crater. As you head back down, you'll be met with a beautiful panorama of Hawaii Kai.
- Trail shoes
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Intermediate Plus. In my opinion, a better description of this fun hike. Roughly 5 miles round trip (3 1/2 hours). Pregnant girlfriends like it going up, hate it just before the summit and love it all the way down. A very vertical hike that originates at the base of a neighborhood street. Although the trail is maintained by groups (obvious by the installed stairs, the lack of trash and attempts to keep encroaching growth at bay) it is best summed up as: lots of buried rocks, exposed tree roots and switchbacks. Each elevation change brings a different layer to the hike. Starting with a rocky trail covered by low shrubbery. Next level would be higher trees with massive tree roots covering the trail floor. Next level puts you strangely in the middle of a pine forest with a soft carpet like covering of needles everywhere. At one point a weird, small, desert-like section that I can only describe as similar to Moab, Utah. Finally the last quarter of the trip consists of in-earth dirt stairs through a rain forest backdrop that rewards you with a very worth while view of the southern side of the island at the top. It rained on us sporadically (February) so a light rain coat or something weatherproof is suggested (Your pictures at the top will look sweaty). We made it in tennis shoes but wished we had something better. Wildlife was pretty scarce but we did see a rat. So that happened. Take water. Take water. Take water...and maybe a little something to munch on at the top. Nice view at the top to watch the world roll by for an hour.
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