Great workout. The first part of the trail is a series of switchbacks. Not difficult but it did contain loose rocks. Once you reach the picnic area, the trail after that is wide, flat, and easy to hike (it's actually an access road and I did encounter one vehicle). The only difficulty would be the fact that the trail continues to ascend and doesn't really "flatten out". Once you pass the picnic area, follow signs for Kuaokala. The first sign is an arrow with a picture of a vehicle pointing RIGHT, and a weathered orange ribbon tied to it, nothing else. After this, you'll pass a painted water tank on your left. Follow the road as it curves. You'll eventually hit a T-junction with a sign for Kuaokala pointing LEFT. The trail dips a bit but you're back to climbing again. You'll eventually hit a waist high fence with a gate. At first I thought I couldn't go any further, but you just have to open the gate and walk a little to your left where you'll hit the lookout that everyone comes here for. I understand the trail can take you on for several more miles going left or right but from this point returning back to the trail head was close to 7 miles. There were some pink guavas that I ate along the trail. Walking sticks for the return may help the knees. Great elevation gain, the AllTrails app clocked me at 2,218'.
Love this trail! Safe as far a landscape danger being a factor. However every trail has a danger factor this one is just more comfortable and totally fine to do on your own once you know which way to go. Trail leads to different trails higher up. Just don't sprain your ankle other wise you're s.o.l haha. The trail I did was a round trip of around 9.62 miles. Awesome that you can see Makua Valley from Mokuleia side! Also fucking amazing work out! I don't walk fast so I took a little over 4 hours to do! Heart break hills galore! Great for your ass and legs!! Bring water and snacks! My go to for a actual hike plus kick ass work out! I did this trail twice 4 days apart with a 5 mile work out in between on one day..killers lol.
Kealia Trail has fantastic views of the entire North Shore (Waialua to Sunset Beach) and Makua Valley throughout the hike, but lacks a rewarding view at the summit. The trail has 19 switchbacks that make the climb manageable, even carrying a baby, and runs under moderate cover that provides some relief from the intense sun. Even so, bring plenty of water because the humidity makes this hike a sweaty one.
If you plan on through-hiking Kealia Trail to Peacock Flats to camp, you must coordinate with Dillingham Airfield Security to leave your car in the parking lot overnight.