Mount Kaala Trail is a 6.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Waianae, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and rock climbing and is accessible year-round.
At more than 6 miles and 5,000ft of elevation gain it's one of the most difficult hikes on the O'ahu but it's worth the work to ascend to the highest point on the island. From certain points there are amazing views of the Waianae Valley and Coastline and of the North Shore.
Thinking about doing this with my wife in a couple of weeks when we come here for vacation. Should we pack a pair of hiking boots or should our nike free running shoes be sufficient?
Awesome hike. Awesome views.
One of my favorite hikes on Oahu. Only thing I regret was that I waited until we were moving, so I only got to go once. It was a great hike, lots of incline, decent shade, boulders to climb over, an awesome board walk through the forest. I was cloudy so my view was not that great, but still a great hike!!
I marched up Ka'ala today in 1:15, just missed the clouds for some awesome views. Passed a few other hikers but it was very quiet. The path can be easy to miss in a few spots, keep an eye out. Only took me 47 minutes to descend and I was moving pretty quickly, if you're new out there, be careful and use the ropes. Enjoy!!
The hike was incredible, constant elevation no forgiveness but the views are worth it. As of January 17, 2017 all the ropes are in good condition. A good pair of hiking footware is recommended as it can be a bit slippery at times.
This a tough trail. Be ready for steep, be ready for scrambles, be ready for mud- lots of mud. This the 2nd Kaala hike for my teenage daughter and I. Since last year, trail maintenance has improved with better purple blazes, better ropes and some convenient carved stairs. Tremendous views of west Oahu and if you're lucky the whole central Valley from North Shore to Pearl Harbor. Can be lots of cloud cover at the radar station on the summit. Wear good washable trail runners - traction is key. Also start early to avoid afternoon showers and to give yourself plenty of time for up and back - between 5 and 6 hours
Best adventure for Oahu father daughter team
hope you've kept your cardio up and haven't skipped leg day. it's a smoker until you hit the ropes make sure you check the forecast and start early In the morning, well before sunrise if you want a decent view. it's about 3 hrs up and down so make sure to pack a lunch and snacks that are light on the stomach. and take about 2 liters of water as well.
it's a pretty good endurance hike. if you don't do cardio much. your lungs are going to be hurting until you hit the rope climb
Amazing views, go on a dry day and be prepared for a lot of hiking using ropes. We did this in just over five hours and normally this length and elevation would take us about four hours. We're pretty fast hikers, but the ropes will slow you down no matter what.
We got to the top and the trail ended at an Air Force installation, there was a sign that said End if Trail. There wasn't any 360 view of the island or anything, but the views on the way up were incredible and you hike straight up the side of a really steep mountain so it made it a ton of fun. One of my favorite hikes I've ever done because of the views, technicality of the trail, variable terrain, the ridgeline, and the ropes that take you straight up what looks like a cliff from a distance.
Lovely hike requiring good fitness and a reduced fear of heights. Trail is well marked and it is easy to stay on route. Begin at parking area at end of Waianae Valley Rd. The first mile of hiking is on a paved, one lane road, climbing 800 feet to Waianae Well No 2. A trail passes a picnic table and follows a low ridge, makes a sharp left where signed, and crosses a dry stream. Keep left after the stream crossing and follow purple caps, paint and ribbon. Trail climbs steadily and steepness increases. The lower areas are filled with guava trees, which are quite slippery when they cover the ground. The upper part of this section ends with a couple of rope climbs, where the trail meets a pig fence and turns right; elevation 2700 feet. The trail now follows a ridge to the east, climbing less steeply until it reaches a couple of boulder patches, elev 3280 feet, protected by ropes. These are the hardest elements of the climb for one without bouldering or rock experience. Study the rock and find the best route. There are reasonable ways up both. The trail now climbs steeply and ropes are provided to assist with most of the next five hundred vertical feet. After one reaches the crater, the path becomes gentler, and soon becomes a wooden boardwalk. The great views are easier reached from the north side of the USAF installation, so when facing gate, go left, following the fence, to the high point and the views to the north and east. Bring gloves for the downhill on the ropes, as it is easier to slide down the rope. Gloves are less important on the way up. The path is muddy, especially at higher elvations even when dry below. It is very slippery. Not a good hike for a rainy day. Watch the weather. This is a fine hike and takes about seven hours when not in a hurry. I went alone and found a dozen other people on the trail on a weekend day. It is easy to slip and fall on the descent, so its unwise to do this without a companion.
I appreciate all the great comments here.
I've done Kaala several times. It's my favorite climb on Oahu. That's because it's the highest elevation - 4,026 ft above sea level according to many sources. Since you start pretty close to sea level it's like doing forteeners in Colorado - going from 10k to 14k feet vertical ascent-wise but there's a huge difference to me in that the air is thicker and the average elevation lower so I never get close to any sort of dehydration or elevation queasiness on a Kaala climb. I agree it's a good idea to take some water, and a good map and be careful to follow it. The times I've been up there I seldom ever see anyone, never an locals, only "world travelers" that do this sort of climbing all over the places. In terms of special treats, there usually is a large field of strawberry guavas to forage at the lower end of the hike. One book guide recommends a pair of leather gloves which I agree with, for a certain unusual prickly stickers zone about 3/4 the way up. There are some steep areas with ropes. There's one place with a rock face that echos near the top. The best approach in my opinion is from the Waianae side. I've always taken an old beater car because you have to park in a place where locals may steal, strip or burn your vehicle if it looks like it runs. Near the bottom you may encounter pig hunters. The view at the top is pretty awesome. From a distance the top looks long and flat. That's because it's the main tallest biggest caldera remains on the island. It's a crater about 1 mile across, filled in with a bog. There's a boardwalk so you don't sink down and you are required to stay on it. It's so high there's a lot of endemic plants and, if you are lucky, birds such as the apapane. If you're in fairly good shape the hike is easy. I agree it's about 7 hour trip unless you are really pumped. Aloha ʻĀina