Lanipo has been a long time coming. This particular hike, also known as Mauumae Ridge, has been on my hiking radar for a few months now. It has a reputation for being one of the more difficult (state maintained) east-side trails.
“This onset of the unshaded ridge is probably what makes Mau’umae one of the most hellish trails on the island; the trek back on the unshaded section of the ridge was a scorcher, and it was so bad that I almost fainted.” Kaleo Lancaster
“The shape of this ridge goes up then down then up then down then … well you get the picture. Combine this with the mud and you’ve got a hike that’s sort of an endurance challenge. Try as we might, we all ended up on our asses several times, our knees were sore and shaky, and when the sun burned through the clouds it felt like we were hiking in an oven.” David C.
For the most part, I agree with Kaleo and David. The constant rollercoaster of hills and false summits is what makes Lanipo somewhat of an excruciating experience. You gain elevation only to lose it shortly thereafter and this process repeats itself until you’re left wondering “what the heck did I get myself into?”
If it’s views that you’re after then it’s difficult for me not to recommend Lanipo. From the start, you are treated to magnificent views of downtown Honolulu, Palolo, and Manoa. And when I say from the start, I literally mean from the start. Unlike other ridge hikes that require you to meander through valley before reaching the ridge crest, Lanipo forgoes this and instead offers a true ridge walking experience shortly after passing the trailhead sign.
Once you’ve taken in the initial sights, be prepared to lose significant elevation. The trail will descend down into a saddle. Some other blogs have reported this initial descent as very steep, however, I found it to be more gradual than anything else. I didn’t find it very difficult at all and was a bit let down. I was expecting a hair raising descent of sorts, but got none of that. The end of the saddle will lead you to a clearing with a nice lookout bench. Based on observation, it seems like many people hike out to this point and then turn around. It does make for an excellent rest section if you do decided to trudge forward.