Aihualama and Nu'uanu Loop Trail

moderate 116 reviews
#6 of 23 trails in

Aihualama and Nu'uanu Loop Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,948 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

Directions from Honolulu: There are two ways to get there: 1. Via the Manoa Cliff Trail: From Round Top Drive, hike in on Manoa Cliff Trail to the Pauoa Flats junction (there is a system trail map here). Proceed on Pauoa Flats Trail past the Nuuanu Trailhead (which is on the left). The next trail (on the right) is Aihualama. 2. Via Manoa Falls Trail: Follow Manoa Road into the back of Manoa Valley. Manoa Road ends at Paradise Park. Continue up the road, through the parking lot, towards the entrance of Lyon Arboretum. At the sharp left bend in the road to Lyon, proceed straight ahead. This is the Manoa Falls parking area and trailhead. Hike 0.8 miles on Manoa Falls Trail. Approximately 150 feet from the base of the Falls, there is a marked trail that proceeds left. This is Aihualama Trail.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
10 days ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
26 days ago

Great hike close to Downtown Honolulu. Definitely moderate for most of the trail, but the loop trail may be considered hard. There were 2 steep sections on the ridge with ropes. The ridge trail is very narrow and over grown but manageable. Watch out for holes, it’s narrow and steep in places. I would agree that counter clockwise is best. The views on the ridge are beautiful. Segments were quite muddy.

2 months ago

Loved this trail, even doing it in heavy rain the views were spectacular. Counter clockwise is the way to go. Its almost impossible to find the turn off going clockwise. If you are sure footed and not afraid of heights the views on the ridge are worth the hike. The one rope spot others have mentioned is pretty scary, but the ridge is not super difficult. It's just really narrow, with a definitive drop off on one side. Be cautious!

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
5 months ago

Do the loop counterclockwise! I did it clockwise and the steep ledge with frayed ropes was pretty scary going down. It was a fun hike with *beautiful* views at the top. The turns in the trail are very easy to miss, as they are overgrown and unmarked. The connecting ridge trails to the West have more forgiving terrain, but just as nice surroundings as the upper loop. Like everyone said, up to Manoa Falls it's very busy with non hikers, but once you branch off it's pretty isolated. Overall, good hike, but I'll probably focus on the connecting trails on the ridge next time.

Good hike! Did 7.5 miles in total. The point where you turn right on the loop is hard to find unless your paying attention to the map. We missed it the first time. Views are great on the ridge! Not too over grown or muddy today.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
6 months ago

9 months ago

Awesome side trail to the incredibly crowded Moana Waterfall trail. Enjoyed the serenity of the wind blowing the bamboo into each other. making for a beautiful natural radio!

muddy
10 months ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
Sun Feb 03 2019

This trail goes from easy, to moderate, to hard. the trail to the waterfall is quite easy. Then you turn and start climbing and it becomes moderate untill you reach the overlook. From the overlook it becomes a ridge trail and get much more difficult. My husband and I have done some "hard" rated trails here in Oahu and they weren't quite like this. At one point in the trail you had about 6 inches of path as you skirted around/ climbed the peak. There was a rope to help you, but this is where my husband put his foot down and said no, so we turned around. Overall, we really enjoyed the trail. Very buggy and very muddy.

Tue Jan 22 2019

Let me start this saying I had fun. This was a great experience for me. I hiked solo. The trail was very muddy. I would never attempt it without proper water resistant shoes with good traction. Up to the final loop was a decent, moderate hike. You are going up hill and it's not easy, but nothing too strenuous. You will climb throug banyan tree roots so that is fun (no sarcasm, it was really cool). Now for the loop at the end. First, this hike is tagged as kid friendly. the upper section of the last loop is NOT for children. In many sections the trail is overgrown and you cannot see where you are stepping. It requires a lot of concentration and you are very close to the edge. I am an experienced hiker and I had trouble in some spots. It was a challenge, and I was looking for one. So this hike was great for me. I am not trying to scare anyone away. My hike was nearly 7 miles and took me about 4 hours. I highly recommend following the advice in all the other reviews and if you are going to do the loop go counter clockwise. I went clockwise and missed the turn off twice and I had a GPS and trail map telling me where to go. If you make it to the final loop and go either right or left you will get some amazing views before the hard part starts. and you can always double back. So don't be afraid, just be prepared.

Mon Jan 14 2019

Easily one of the more enjoyable routes Ive done. I didnt see another person on the trail until I was nearly back to the trailhead. Bring lots of water, wear long pants to avoid scratches.

hiking
Sun Nov 04 2018

Very muddy and slippery, would advise hiking shoes as running shoes would get soaked and stuck in the mud.

Wed Sep 19 2018

Amazingly beautiful trail, even the touristy parts up to Manoa Falls were supergreen and pretty. The ridge and rope-y parts were a little scary, don't go alone and definitely do the loop in the counter-clockwise direction. Look forward to lush bamboo forests, lots of roots, some scrambly-stony parts, lotsa mud and a long slow beautiful ridge-walking part. Stunning views of the valley and of Honolulu reward you!

hiking
Sat Jul 28 2018

Fantastic Trail, the Manoa Falls part can be congested with non-hikers but avoid some frustration with an early start. 0700 was quiet. Trail passes though many small micro climates and foliage that are very cool and the hike on the Ridge loop is amazing, with views of Diamond Head and Waikiki. Best to complete counterclockwise as there is on steep sketchy area with frayed ropes that I would definitely not want to descend on but up isn’t an issue on a dry day. Otherwise completely passable for any sure footed hikers. Took approximately 2:30 with lots of photo breaks. Feel free to DM questions @corc19 on IG

hiking
Sun Jul 15 2018

Did this trail after the Moana waterfall. Didn't complete the loop, but hiked it just before it branch's off and had to turn around due to time. I would love to go back and complete it. It was raining heavily during the whole hike, so the use of bamboo sticks helped a lot on the way back, four of us left those bamboo sticks at the trail entrance for others to use.

hiking
Sat Jun 23 2018

This was very fun! The hike up to Manoa Falls is easy, with a beautiful waterfall, and then this side trail (there’s a sign to the left hand side if you’re hiking up to the falls) is so beautiful and peaceful! There’s a few switchbacks, but the elevation gain is pretty steady, there’s no sharp inclines. Then, when you get to the loop, it’ll say “Pauoa Flatts Trail” with an arrow going both ways. I would highly suggest going to the RIGHT and going counterclockwise unless you want to descend using a rope on the side of a mountain with a steep drop. Going up with the rope was much more pleasant than descending in that spot! Also, after turning right into the loop, it’ll only be about 10 minutes until you come to a spectacular view of the valley, and even a small part of Kaneohe Bay & Honolulu on clear days. The loop is very fun-it is a ridge trail, but it’s not super steep in any spot for a long time and is definitely manageable! We enjoyed this hike very much! The views are incredible and the rain forest is gorgeous. The loop took us about an hour and a half (with a lot of stopping to take pictures), the whole 5.2 mile hike took us about 4 hours, going a very comfortable pace.

Sat Jun 23 2018

Quiet trail away from the more populated Manoa falls trail with a beautiful view once you make it to the loop at the top. Would recommend old shoes because yours will get very muddy

Tue May 01 2018

Nice hike! Took about 2 hours total coming in from Manoa Falls. Nice to get away from all the tourists.

hiking
Wed Apr 11 2018

Came in from the Manoa Falls trail entrance. The trailhead for Aihaulama is marked by a small brown sign. There are no trail blazes anywhere along the trail that I saw, mainly we just followed the path better traveled looking. Wear good (old) shoes. Very muddy and slippery. The side of the trail is steep and eroded in some places. The views above the bamboo (about halfway up) and then out into the valley (at the top) are really great and it is a pretty quiet and secluded trail for being so close to a major tourist attraction (the falls).

hiking
Sat Dec 09 2017

We took this trail from the Manoa Falls side. I liked the idea of parking there. Seems more secure. i've done the trail back to the falls at least a dozen times. Its very pretty. If you've never been here you should do this section. Its a must. Once we branched off to the Aihualama the traffic dropped off. We saw probable about a dozen people from that point one. The trail is easy to follow for the most part. There was one branch about 1/4 of the way in. I opened the all trails app just to make sure I was on the right branch. We went left. Generally speaking the trail with the most traffic will be the right one. The Aihualama dead ends into the loop. I think it is also known as the Pauoa Flatt's trail. We went left up to the look out. Great spot for pictures. We didn't close the loop instead went back down the way we came. We didnt budget enough time. Happy hour was calling.

Thu Dec 07 2017

Awesome view at the top! Worth the hike!

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