Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
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The Wiliwilinui Trail is a popular ridge hike along the southern coast of O'ahu that affords sweeping views of both sides of the island from its windy terminus at the top of the Ko'olau Range. This roughly 5-mile out-and-back trail starts at the end of Laukahi Street at the top of the Wai'alae Iki subdivision, which means that most of the elevation is gained on the car ride up to the parking area. Still, the trail itself gains approximately 1,300 feet in elevation to the summit.

The beginning of the trail follows a dirt and gravel access road through Cook Pines, strawberry guava, and native koa trees. The trail begins to narrow after passing a lookout of Koko Crater and the southern coast of the island along the powerlines. The undulating ridge is rather pleasant, with not many steep sections to start.

At the first set of plastic stairs, the elevation becomes much more intense as hikers begin ascending directly to the summit. The stairs are mostly maintained, with some missing in the steepest sections. There are, however, ropes in places that require them, but these sections require scrambling up eroding dirt ledges.

After the leg-burning stairs, the ridge peaks out at a radio-transmitting cell tower. Here, the trail may very well be socked in, with clouds passing by frequently, even on relatively clear days. The views of the windward side of the island can not really be appreciated from the cell tower, so continue along the trail to the summit lookout, just a few hundred yards away, where a small bench and steep drop mark the end of the trail. From here, hikers can see all of Kāneʻohe Bay, Three Peaks, and Waimanalo directly below. The overgrown trails to the left and right head along the Ko'olau summits to Lanipō and Hawai'i Loa ridges, respectively, although these are not for inexperienced hikers. 

The parking lot for this hike requires a free parking permit, which can be acquired at the security checkpoint along Laukahi Street. There are only 20 legal parking spaces for cars, so on busy weekends or holidays the guard may deny passes to avoid overcrowding. It is best to start early in order to ensure access to the parking area, as well as to avoid the intense mid-day heat and sunshine. However, there is plenty of shaded areas along this hike, which makes it ideal during most weather conditions. Be sure to bring plenty of water and some power snacks for the journey up this iconic Hawaiian ridge hike.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Scenic hike. Shaded.

Cons

Busy. Few parking spaces. Muddy.

Trailhead Elevation

1,200.00 ft (365.76 m)

Highest point

2,500.00 ft (762.00 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)

Features

Big vistas
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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