Scramble the Okolehao Ridge Trail

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A scenic, humbling trek above one of the most beautiful beaches in the world will have your stomach in your throat, your heart breathless and your bum covered in mud.

They don't call it the butt slide trail for nothing— the Okolehao Trail (translated to iron butt, for more than just the glutes involved) —is a short drive from Princeville, just before Hanalei Bay. Filled with lush vegetation, ample wildlife, and stunning viewpoints, the full trail isn't for the faint of heart, particularly if it rains at all.

When I embarked on this route I had no idea having an attitude of "I'll go until the path ends" would lead to such an inspiring surprise and yes, humbling life lesson. Have it be, that even on a small island, to make such a grand personal challenge it is recommended to be prepared for an uncertain road and the power of human hydration needs.

To put access the trail head take from 56W, coming from Princeville. Right after crossing the one lane bridge make a slight left on Ohiki Rd. Continue down the small country road for just over half a mile. You will see a dirt parking lot next to the river on the left and the trail marker in the right.

The trail begins with a short bridge crossing and proceeds up a path about the size of an ATV track. Along the first 1.5 miles there are a few scenic outlook rest spots but what many fail to experience is the trek beyond the marked trail. So trade in the gripless tennies and fanny packs for your day pack and a solid pair of hikers. Dry clothes for the return recommended.

Once you reach the end of the marked trail, most people turn around. However, continuing up the ridge line trail you'll reach a sharp downhill steep incline, only passable via a self-belay. Continue along the steep, narrow ridge through canopies, root tunnels, rock scrambles, and seemingly impossible vertical launches and the reward of the lone tree summit is worth it all— even the sharp and somewhat troublesome reality of having to make it back down.

The trail is steep, muddy, and super sketchy at times, but the connection between the mountain and climber is unparalleled. It is the mountain that humbles me, quiets my mind to listen, because for some thing I walk on and tread every day it's power and beauty is mystifying. This hike couldn't speak to this aspect of mountain climbing more.

Ropes are often slippery from the mud and rain, if even existent, and the drops on either side make for a strong saddle across some parts where a flat ridge is not carved. Be prepared for it to take longer than expected for a imitate distance and vertical due to low maintained conditions and Kauai rainfall.

Parking is free and open if you arrive early enough. No bathrooms at lot or otherwise.

Follow 56 W up to Hanalei after for a refreshing dip in the cool waters you've enjoyed from above. Look up on your drive and see the lone tree sitting at the top.

Pack List

  • 2 liters of water
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunblock
  • Snacks/ lunch
  • Camera

Optional* Hiking stick* Change of clothes and shoes* Hawaiian shaved ice

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How to Get There

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Added by Elsie Vanderveer

There is this one life to live wildly.

Activities:

Photography, Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

4.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1200 Feet

Features:

Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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