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Kuli'ou'ou Ridge

O'Ahu

O'ahu, Hawai'i

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Kuli'ou'ou Ridge

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  • The trail begins with mild switchbacks.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • Ironwood pines and their needles drape the trail.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • Pine needles provide a clean bed across the trail.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • Young Norfolk pines.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • A small clearing and the shelter.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • Views start to emerge as the vegetation thins.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The lush landscape starts to become visible from the trail as it ascends more steeply.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The strait and steep trail is covered with thick roots that provide excellent traction.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The view of Koko Head and Koko Crater to the south.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The trail becomes narrow as it straddles the ridge.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • Stairs provided by the Sierra Club.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The trail becomes even steeper and more narrow toward the top.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The higher, steeper ridge ascends to the northwest.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The view over the ridge to Waimanalo.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • View from the top of the ridge of Hawaii Kai to the south.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The steep trail.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
  • The Norfolk pine grove almost looks planted.- Kuli'ou'ou Ridge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Expansive views of Southeast Oahu. Few crowds. Unique flora.
Cons: 
Steep trail. Trailhead is difficult to find. Lack of safety railings.
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Region:
O'ahu, HI
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,791.00 ft (545.90 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
225.00 ft (68.58 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Sponsored Contributor

The top of Kuli'ou'ou Ridge provides unimpeded, expansive views of the entire southeast portion of Oahu. If you're looking for an escape from the sandy beach, a workout that will definitely get your heart racing, or you would like to get away from some heavy crowds, consider this adventure. 

Once you've found the trailhead at the end of a cul-de-sac in a suburb, find the trail by staying to the right and heading uphill on the unpaved path. 

The trail initially ascends mildly up several switchbacks to the ridge itself. As you near the ridge the vegetation changes from the typical lush greenery one would expect to see in Hawaii to pine trees, which apparently aren't actually pines. Invasive evergreen species of Norfolk pines and ironwood pines have taken over the forest through the midsection of the trail. They are not actually pines as they do not yield cones. The long needles of the ironwood whisper through the wind and provide a unique soundtrack to your hike. As you reach the saddle of the ridge the trail basically continues straight and up. It may become somewhat difficult to see the trail as needles have nearly completely covered it in a soft, almost clean bed. 

Before the steepest section of this trail, be sure to stop off at the day use shelter and picnic table for a snack or lunch. After this, thick roots run across the trail and provide some needed traction for your ascent. The vegetation begins to thin and views become more abundant. The Sierra Club assisted in preventing trail erosion by installing several welcome stairs as the trail ends at a spectacular viewpoint. If the light is right in the mid-day, the waters of the Pacific will shine a bright blue that contrasts with the yellow beaches and green flora of Windward Oahu. Spend as long as you like up here, but be prepared with a windbreaker as it can become gusty and cool at this altitude. Be wary of the looming edge marked by a solitary sign, and be sure to keep your dog on a tight and secure leash.

Return down the steep trail taking in the views as you descend back to your vehicle.

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(6 within a 30 mile radius)

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