Mount Kaala Trail is a 6.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Waianae, HI 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.
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
Anybody want to hike this on Monday with me? text me if you do 636 399 1623
Very gratifying hike great views and takes you to the highest point on the island. Be sure to bring plenty of water it is very hot hike.
Hard with some challenging technical areas. Good gradual elevation change. Can definitely be muddy, be sure to watch the weather. Would also suggest gloves. 2.5 to 3 hours up with great views!
Looking for a hiking partner for this one soon as possible
Looking for some ppl who would like to do this trail together..
Txt me on 8087291997
Definitely one of the hardest hiked I've been on, as far as the hike goes you don't need to be the most experienced hiker but definitely need to know your limits and would recommend going with a partner but overall a great hike the view is worth the struggle
Hi guys. i was thinking of attempting this trail on Tues and was wandering for those ppl who has been on it..would u recommend it to a solo hiker? i just did Mt Fuji, Japan summit by myself but there was other hikers along the way. what are the chances of me seeing someone on the trail on a weekday? Thnx for ur feedback.
We were lucky with the weather, there were amazing views from the summit. There are two intimidating rope sections, but they aren't as bad as they look. Only 4 stars because of the satellite installation at the summit. The cloud forest is beautiful.
Hard...definitely not for the faint at heart!
This trail is not for everyone. I've hiked it twice now and it was raining and muddy both times. Today I counted 14 ropes that you have to climb to get up it also. These start at the 2 hour mark and continue until you reach the summit. The views are amazing once you reach the top though. 360 degrees of nothing but beauty. One word of caution, go when there are no clouds at the top, otherwise you'll be stuck in the clouds with zero visibility at the top and most likely rain. The weather up top is different than the weather in Waianae.
Uff da. This is a hard one. Getting there is thankfully easy. The beginning, where you hike on a steeply graded concrete road sucks. It's just a really boring path at that point. The true adventure begins once you've passed the 2nd pump house. The description says 5000 ft of elevation gain, but the official height of Mt. Ka'ala is ~4000 ft. so take that how you will. It rains here a lot so be prepared, my five-finger shoes work great on dry hikes but are miserable for muddy hikes. The other reviews are spot on for markers, follow the purple and you'll be fine. There are two spots where there is a rope used to climb up an obstacle. Not too hard, though. Eventually you'll come to a fence (no clue how they got it up there!). This is where I believe Bolo ridge meets Hobbs Ridge. You head east at this junction. You *will* rely heavily on this fence. The fence will turn north and head downhill at some point. After that the trail is rather more treacherous. The drops on either side of you are at least 1000 ft and the path is never more than 1 person wide. Next up is a large, vertical boulder/hill with a rope. This is challenging, good upper body strength is required. After that is a sheer cliff. My friend and I stopped here. To go further one needs serious rock climbing gear plus the requisite experience. It is just a series of cliffs and brief flat tops until you reach, presumably, the Ka'ala bog at the top. That is, unless there is some secret path that doesn't require vertical ascent.
Awesome views! Follow the purple markers on the trail. Also, once you get to the top, keep on going until you reach these wooden planks and it will lead you to a radar station. Follow the fence around the side and you will be at the best viewpoint! Took us 3 hours up and 2 hours down, but we were moving very fast. I would allow 7 hours round trip, but depends on your skill and fitness level of course. We brought a lunch for on top so it was a perfect day!
Took two of us 7hrs on the dot, from the gate where you park, to the the FAA station at the summit, and back. Including walking all the way around the fence of the station to take in the phenomenal views, and sitting down to eat our lunch. :) Walking thru the bog was a blast! So mysterious feeling surreal. Two places you might lose the trail: First, early on at the fork on the trail, go down to the left! There are ribbons. It will take you across a (probably dry) stream bed. Second, once you cross that stream bed, go LEFT. You may see some markers on the trail to the right, nevertheless, left is the Ka'ala trail. Feels like you're going the wrong way, but you will soon begin to see the purple bottle caps, ribbons and spray paint marking the way up. On the way down, watch for the orange. Total 7.3 mile roundtrip, 5,380ft elevation gain. It's a very physically demanding trail. One other thing, there are lots of rope/cable sections, and even a few places where you have to climb some massive boulders. Not for the faint of heart.
Oh! And the "blue moss" is not cool. It's invasive and the blue stuff is sprayed on to kill it off!
Went up on 1 May 16 at 8:15am with some over cast and light rain but got lucky as I neared the top and the weather cleared resulting in some good photo's. Weather held up for a couple hours before it started getting dark and cloudy. Great hike and trail. 3 hours up and 2 hours down.
Long hike but worth every step to get to the highest point on the island. Pack a lunch for the top and don't forget a light jacket, it gets a little chilly up there :)