A strenuous uphill climb with rewarding views of Waianae and the leeward coast when completed as outlined in Stuart Ball Jr's, "A Hikers Guide to Oahu." The trail was recently marked with purple markers (engineer tape and gatorade caps), which alleviated a lot of confusion as there are multiple side trails and hunting paths that can lead you astray.
The first portion of the route follows a maintenance road past several water wells before the trail finally takes shape. The next mile aggressively climbs a spur to the summit of Kamaile'unu Ridge that requires the occasional use of ropes to negotiate some steeper and slicker portions of trail. Once on the ridgeline you have the ability to follow a animal fence towards the summit of Mt. Ka'ala with some rewarding views of the coastline to the west. To return, backtrack along the animal fence until you intercept the Kumaipo Trail, which we followed down a spur until we intersected with our original trail.
Some portions of the trail were overgrown and have the potential to be extremely slick if it recently rained (in addition to being wet since you have to cross about half-a-dozen stream beds).
Cat S. on Waianae Kai Trail
The Waianae Kai trail can be done in many variations but I feel that the best way of doing it is via Kumaipo trail, an ancient Hawaiian trail that starts near a stream in the valley, following a streambed, and up a finger ridge till you hit the saddle of Kamaileunu ridge. From there, continue northerly untill you get to 3 poles. From here, turn down and follow the Waianae-Kai -Kaala trail back to the starting point. Also, check out Stuart Ball Jr.'s book where he describes another variation to this hike where the loop starts further in, where the first stream crossing is via the Waianae-Kai -Kaala trail. For those of you who think this trail is all about walking in concrete road, well thats only the first mile in.
Chris F. on Waianae Kai Trail
From beginning it is a continuous uphill hike to the top. Great views of the Waianae coast line. We only did the 4.5 mile hike did not go to the peaks of the no name mountain.