Maunawili Ditch Trail: The State’s Only Designated Horse Trail

The Maunawili Ditch Trail is a short loop trail located in the back of Waimanalo at the end of Waikupanaha Street. I’ll cut to the chase with this trail. It’s boring. This sanctioned maintained trail doesn’t offer much of a challenge, nor does it offer any type of reward at the end. There is no spectacular lookout point or tall waterfall. It’s a foothill hike and not much more. This might be the only trail that you’ll step on in which you’ll be outnumbered by mountain bikers and even horses. Yes, horses. The Maunawili Ditch Trail is the only Na Ala Hele state maintained trail that allows for horseback riding. And yes, we did encounter a horseback rider.

Access to both Maunawili Ditch Trail and Demonstration Trail. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Access to both Maunawili Ditch Trail and Demonstration Trail. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

One last Facebook check. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

One last Facebook check. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Wide and flat. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Wide and flat. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

We went right. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

We went right. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Almost as soon as we began the hike, Joel and I discussed how great this trail would be for mountain bike riding. A few minutes later, a 40-something mountain biker creeped up from behind us. Our conversation quickly shifted to talk about buying mountain bikes. Biking through the Maunawili Ditch Trail sounds like a good time. Hiking it, not so much. The ditch trail wraps around the lower portion of the Ko’olaus. The trail is almost entirely flat. As you walk through it, you’ll quickly notice it zigzag through the dirt and vegetation.

Horses love this trail. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Horses love this trail. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Purple. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Purple. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Peeking. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Peeking. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Tree. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Tree. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Although the maintained trail is quite boring, the Maunawili Ditch Trail does offer some highlights off trail. There are many side trails and tunnels that scream for exploration. One side trail in particular is notable in that it leads to the base of Ahiki, or, the third peak of Olomana. Those who seek to do Anamolo will start off on the Maunawili Ditch Trail and then climb up Aniani Ridge to the backside of Mount Olomana. While on the Mauanawili Ditch Trail, we were sure to keep an eye out for this important junction. We found it. Time to check off Anamolo from our bucket list? Maybe.

Explorers: Coty Gonzales and Joel Sabugo.

Look up. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Look up. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Green. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Green. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Shaka tree. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Shaka tree. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sorte. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sorte. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

The walk back to the car. Photo by Joel Sabugo.

The walk back to the car. Photo by Joel Sabugo.

Total Time: 1 hour.

Total Distance: 2.46 miles.

Maunawili Ditch Trail Tips:

  • Bring a bike or ahorse.
  • Very kid friendly.
  • Serves as a connector trail to many other interesting things around the area.

Directions To Maunawili Ditch Trail: Take Kalanianaole Highway towards Waimanalo. You will turn into Kumuhau Street, toward the mountains. Follow Kumuhau Street and then turn right onto Waikupanaha Street. Just beyond Mahiku Place will be the trailhead to the Maunawili Ditch Trail, as indicated by the brown trailhead sign. There is a gravel dirt parking area just to the left of the trailhead.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.

2 comments

  1. Coty, is that the fastest way to the base of Ahiki to do Anamolo? I’ll do it with you. I’ve always wanted in on a EH entry. Oh wait, I’m one already. The camping trip to Ohikilolo. Let me know about Anamolo.

Comments are closed.