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.