Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,291.00 ft (393.50 m)
Trail type
3.25 mi (5.23 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

This moderately easy loop will take the hiker on a journey around the lower portion of Pu’u Ohi’a or Mount Tantalus. (Pu’u is a Hawaiian word for anything that protrudes above a normal surface level, from a little bump to a hill. Ohi’a is one of the most common trees native to Hawaii.) It features a few small stream crossings, a spring, and a fun rocky climb. It also shows a lot the jungle has to offer in a relatively short distance.

Start at the parking lot right below the gate to the Hawaii Nature Center. It’s a small lot and on the weekends, it can fill up quite quickly; if you plan to drive there, arrive earlier in the morning. Head up the Makiki Arboretum Trail which will bring you into the nature center; cross the road there and walk past the bathrooms (there’s a water spigot, the first and last one of the whole hike) and across the bridge that you’ll see there.

Follow the trail for 0.1 mile until you reach a junction with information signs and a map. Take a right turn onto the Maunalaha Trail (also known as Hogsback) and follow it for 0.8 mile. This is a rocky and rooty climb that can be a lot of fun whether you go up or down, although it might be a bit safer going up. (After all, any descent is just a controlled fall.)

Eventually, you’ll arrive at a four-trail junction. Take a left (looks more like going straight) onto Makiki Valley. This trail will take you up and down the hillside and across two streams. The first one, Moleka, you’ll have to get over on your own. The second one, Kanealole, has a small wooden bridge and is perfect for a bit of refreshment in the jungle heat; you won’t be the only one washing their face and hands in it to cool off. The Makiki Spring is just a bit higher up the stream.

After 0.8 mile on the Makiki Valley Trail you’ll arrive at another junction; turn left onto the Kanealole Valley Trail that will lead you back down, following the Kanealole Stream. This trail is much more mellow than the Maunalaha Trail and perfectly runnable (even though it still requires at least some level of focus) if you’re feeling really good or would just like to try trail running on the downhill.

The trail will bring you back to the junction you know—take a right, cross the bridge, go past the bathroom and drink some water from the water fountain, and then cross the road and follow the Makiki Arboretum Trail back to the parking lot.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Shaded. Good for families with (older) kids. Water fountain available at the trailhead. Lots of greenery. Near the city.


Nearest bus station is about a mile away from the trailhead; not very accessible by public transport.

Trailhead Elevation

305.00 ft (92.96 m)

Highest point

1,123.00 ft (342.29 m)


Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Bird watching
Old-growth forest
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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