We’ve written about the Kuliouou Ridge Trail here and elsewhere on the site. It’s one of my favorites because it’s very accessible and the views are stellar. It’s also one of those hikes that I always recommend that visitors and locals try. For one, it’s legal (no breaking any laws here). Second, it’s a solid hike that’s worth the required workout. Finally, for many, it’ll be just a short drive away. Of course, you’ve got to get past those, errr, damn switchbacks. Don’t let those switchbacks deter you, though, because the views that await ahead…they’re complete bliss.
Looking to experience Hawaii’s ridge hiking scene? A good place to start would probably be the Kuliouou Ridge Trail. We first reviewed Kuliouou Ridge Trail way back in 2011. My gosh, 2011 seems like eons ago. This intermediate level trail hasn’t changed much since 2011. The tiresome switchbacks are still followed by the walk through ironwoods and cook pines, with the last third of the trail being a nice climb up to the spine of the eastern portion of the Koolau Summit Trail (KST). If you’re new to the island, or new to hiking in Hawaii, then I’d definitely give Kuliouou a try. I’m pretty sure that once you’ve tasted what Kuliouou has to offer, you’ll want to experience the rest of the eastern ridge trails that lead to the beautiful KST.
A short trip along the Koolau Summit Trail (KST) would be how Exploration: Hawaii would kick off the recent Memorial Day Weekend. The previous week, fellow hiker, Allison, suggested that we do a short non-grinder type hike. I like non-grinders. I mentioned Hahaione, a little known trail in Hawaii Kai that quickly leads to the eastern portion of the KST. Waianae Ahnate, as he has been nicknamed, thought that it would be a good idea to use this hike as a meet and greet for the group of people that would be joining the usual Exploration: Hawaii suspects on an upcoming backpacking trip to Haleakala. New hike and new hikers. I was in.
One of my goals is to complete all of the Honolulu hikes listed in Stuart Ball’s popular book, The Hikers Guide to Oahu. Eventually I would like to finish the entire book but for now my focus will be on completing Honolulu. Up to this point I had completed 5 of the 15 Honolulu trails. Kuliouou Ridge Trail would be my number 6.