Mount Olympus, also known as is Awāwaloa (or long valley), is an imposing peak situated in the back of Manoa Valley. It is a popular hike along a misty and often windy ridge. Although the mountain itself is much easier to summit than the name would suggest, its Hawaiian name is much more fitting, as the valley ridge leading to it is indeed quite long. The official trailhead starts at the parking lot for the Wa'ahila Ridge State Recreation Area, seemingly already at a high elevation, and undulates along the lush ridge, requiring some light scrambling in certain places.
The lower portion of this Wa'ahila Ridge Trail is wide and passes through impressive stands of Cook pines, ironwood trees, and strawberry guava. Turn left at the signed junction to bypass a small clearing with utility poles. About 2 miles into the trail, hikers will reach the second signed junction with the Kolowalu Trail to the left. To the right is the un-maintained trail toward the Mount Olympus summit. Bearing right, the trail makes its way (steeply at points, with aids of ropes) up the ridgeline. A grassy knoll provides amazing panoramic views of downtown Honolulu, Manoa Valley, and other high peaks of the Ko'olau mountains. The strawberry guava stands eventually thin out, leading to more native flora such as 'ohia, with their bright red flowers and ti plants.
The final ascent to the summit follows a steep and heavily eroded section of red clay. Look south for a view into nearby Ka'au Crater, a remnant cinder cone now filled with a grassy swamp. On misty and rainy days, this part of the trail is extremely muddy and slick. The clearing on the pseudo-summit is perhaps the best place to rest and take in the view (if you are lucky enough to not be shrouded in clouds), as the true summit at 2,486 feet is lush and rather overgrown.
Return back down the ridge for a 6-mile out-and-back journey. For a more advanced hike, consider hiking to the summit via the Kolowalu Trail from the bottom of Manoa Valley for some intense elevation gain.