Oahu: Hiking the Poamoho Trail

Rate this Adventure Hawaii Poamoho Trail

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round


~7 mile round-trip hike with amazing views at the summitLimited access by permit only, so you could be one of few on the trailDuration: 3 hours (only includes hiking)

The Poamoho Trail is part of the “Na Ala Hele” Hawaii Trail & Access System. That means it is a state sanctioned trail, maintained by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and open to the public. You do need a permit to hike this trail though, but obtaining one is an easy task. You can learn about how to get a permit here.

Starting in Wahiawa (Central Oahu), you drive in 6 miles to the trailhead. The Poamoho Trail takes you up to a peak on the Kooloau Mountains where you’ll be treated to a massive panoramic view of the east side of Oahu. Keep in mind, you'll need a reliable 4-wheel drive to get to the trailhead.

If you talk to any avid hiker in Hawaii and mention the name Poamoho, they will usually pause and then talk about the trail with glowing praise. It’s no exaggeration. The whole experience, starting from the drive along the dirt road up to the approach to the summit, makes for a great day of getting in touch with nature. But, here’s the catch: you gotta go when the summit is clear. And in this particular part of the island, that can be a total crap shoot.

The first half, maybe a bit more, of the Poamoho Trail is totally groomed. The trail was carved out of the side of the mountain and is nice and wide. We got lucky and the uluhe (the green fern that is everywhere) had just been bushwhacked by the DLNR so we had a nice clean trail to hike on. As the uluhe grows over the trail, it forms overhangs that provide some nice shade. It was hot this day. But hot is good because the heat could help burn off any cloud cover at the summit. The way this trail is set up, the approach to the summit is quite dramatic. As you walk up the meadow you realize that it takes you to a cliff. And with each step you take closer to the cliff, the view gets revealed little by little. Source

Pack List

  • Hydration (2L)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Good trails shoes or hiking boots (trail is muddy)
  • Permit for the trail
  • 4-wheel drive vehicle
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Unreal Hawaii

Unreal Hawaii is owned by designer and photographer David Chatsuthiphan. All photos and text on this website are by David Chatsuthiphan (unless otherwise noted). The website was launched in June of 2010. I moved to Hawaii from California in 2007. For the first two years I lived here, I spent my free time learning how to surf and exploring Honolulu. Then, I got introduced to hiking and started exploring the islands. There were many times when I found myself at the top of a mountain or at a secluded beach,thinking to myself over and over, “this is unreal.” The stories shared on Unreal Hawaii are an attempt to document and recreate those moments for you.

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