Maakua Ridge Trail is a 4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hauula, HI that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Ma`akua Ridge Trail (Papali Trail) is located near Hau'ula, Hawaii. The trail is great for trail running and normally takes 1-3 hours. It's a nice distance, and with lots of shade, it's a good one to do any time, any season. This one can be a bit moister than the Hau`ula Loop Trail.
This Trail is the hardest of the 3 Hauula Trails in my opinion, but frankly offers the best view at less than a quarter of a mile in. The rest of the time you're spending it back in the valley, it does clear out slightly near the "end" of the loop to give you another view of Hauula, but nothing as good as the first view port. If you're just looking for a view it's about the best you're going to get early on.
A LOT of mosquitoes, come prepared as they will feast on you unless you brought your DEET.
When I was there in June 2016 near the very back of the trail fallen trees and a small stream made a difficult crossing to get to the second half of the trail.
After crossing this stream and fallen trees I noticed that this portion (the back portion) of the trail had been lightly trafficked if at all in recent months, lots of over growth, so its recommended that you're either wearing long socks or something to protect your legs.
Near the end of the back portion of the trail you'll find it completely washed out, forcing you to shimmy down into a gully of sorts, and then shimmy back up, definitely not something I'd attempt with a kid on my back nor with small children, nor after a big rainstorm.
Even with all of these issues I felt this was the superior trail, take a look at my photos, the view is worth the hike alone!
We did this loop and part of Papali ridge on National Trails Day. The loop trail is well graded but there are many fallen trees blocking the path. The interesting part of the hike was the short jaunt up Papali ridge. It was choked with uluhe and lantana which proved to be a nuisance especially if one was wearing shorts. We went as far as we could and we promise to return with long pants and long sleeve shirt!
We were looking for another hike to do on my daughter's birthday. This one seemed to be what we were looking for: short, easy(~ish), and great views. Here is what we found:
- Distance: about 4.4 miles from where we parked. The Loop is about 3 miles.
- Terrain: some hills, but a well-marked path with switchbacks keeps it from being too steep
- Mud: not really. Lots of leaves and hills keep most of the water from pooling.
- Parking: don't park at the trailhead! There is a sign that warns of a high theft area. We parked a couple of streets away near a cemetery and walked to the trailhead, not very far.
- Wonderful views! There are sections where you get a great panorama of the Windward side.
- Switchbacks. The trail goes up and down hills a few times, but it never is too steep. All my little kids made it with no trouble.
- Shade. And better, shade without bugs. We did not have one bite among us.
- Loop: I love it when the whole trail is a different view. Out and backs are OK, but loops are better.
- Restrooms nearby on the main road right before you turn off to find the trailhead.
The Not So Good:
- No parking right at the trailhead
- No water
- Some areas of the trail are narrow with steep slopes on each side. Be careful.
Bottom Line: Great day hike for the whole family. This is one of 2 loops in the area. You will see the right-hand turn for the Hauula Loop before you find the left-hand turn off for this trail. Both are about the same length. If we get the chance, we'll come back here and do the other one. Not 5 stars because while we had a couple of good views, we did not have as many as we would have liked.
A few nice views of the water once you make the initial climb then the rest is valley and woods. Make sure you scout out the area before you park. You will notice entrance is in the back of a neighborhood but may not be best place to park. Consider parking across the way at the beach park.