Kuaokala Trail and Kuaokala Access Road Loop

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Kuaokala Forest Reserve

Kuaokala Trail and Kuaokala Access Road Loop is a 7.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Waialua, Oahu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length7.1 miElevation gain1,788 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsWalkingForestViewsWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)

A permit is required to do this hike as it is on military land. If you want to park on the west side of the trail by the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station, you will need a trail access permit from: https://trails.ehawaii.gov/camping/all,details,57933.html. If you want to also camp on the trail, you will also need a camping permit. The trail permit webpage says "No overnight parking at or around the Air Force Facility. Overnight parking for the Kuaokala Trail is at the East Trail head off of Kuaokala Road." Air force enforces this "no parking" rule for the paved roads around their facility, but it is ok to park near the west trailhead a bit downhill from it on an unpaved road. ***Check with the park if you plan on staying overnight.***

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Reviews (24)
Photos (386)
Activities (19)
Completed (67)
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Craig BigPoppa LUNDBLAD
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Hiking

4x4 heaven

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Aleissia Laidacker
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HikingGreat!Over grownRocky

Make sure to get a permit in advance. Really liked this trail. So many spots to stop & take in the views! It’s moderate so expect quite a bit of going up hill. It can be rocky at some points. We had our dog on a leash and she was fine.

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Thom G.
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Hiking
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Michael Yan
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Hiking
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Ruth B.
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HikingOver grownRockyScramble

Kuaokalā literally means “backbone of the sun.” The first half going counterclockwise is pleasant, but the access road was boring. There are some steep, slippery and overgrown sections, especially after the first gate. I ended up using my crampons. Please malama ‘aina - take care of the land, which is rich in Hawaiian history. Here’s a great article that mentions Kuaokalā: https://hanahou.com/13.4/no-mans-land Kuaokalā is the name of a heiau that was once located at Kaʻena Point, according to "A Guidance Document for Characterizing Native Hawaiian Cultural Landscapes" (page 172). https://www.boem.gov/sites/default/files/environmental-stewardship/Environmental-Studies/Pacific-Region/Studies/2017-023.pdf

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Ryan Dela Cruz
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Hiking
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Nate Allen
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Hiking

This was a good, moderate hike that I'll review in two sections. Before you go, make sure to get (and print) a permit here: https://trails.ehawaii.gov/camping/spc,details,57933.html. (Note: this costs $2.50) To access the trailhead, you'll need to cross through a military installation. The guard at the entrance gate will check your permit and ID, then you'll need to drive up to the next gate and wait for a patrol car to escort you through the next section of road and open the final gate for you. Once through, it's only another 500 yards and the road dead ends into a gravel parking lot where you'll also see the entrance to the dirt access road and the start of the Kuaokala Trail. From the trailhead, the hike travels mostly along the ridge line, marked with a few signs and some fluorescent tape. This first section afforded some wonderful views and was a joy to hike. After about 2.5 miles, the trail will meet up with the Kuaokala Access Road, which is what you'll follow the rest of the way back to complete the loop. This section, though pretty at points, was less compelling and not as much fun to traverse as the first section. You can, at times, see the ocean on both sides of Kaena Point while hiking back. This dirt track is used by 4x4 vehicles, and we ran into a few friendly drivers using it on the holiday weekend. Once you're back at your car, you'll need to drive back to the gate and use the phone box to call down to the guard. They'll send the patrol car back up, open the gate, and escort you through to the 2nd gate.

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Margot Vynoslavska
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HikingOver grown
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Eva Skogsberg
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Mountain biking

You need a permit, which you can get here https://camping.ehawaii.gov/camping/all,e-search.html Guard shack down by Yokohamas' has 6am-6pm operating hours.

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Cheryle Williams
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Hiking
First to Review

Didn't get to experience. Gave 1 star as I had to put star to post review. FYI NEED A PERMIT TO DO THIS HIKE. MILITARY LAND. just left now.

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Stacie Wrobel
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Hiking
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Emily Deisroth
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K J
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M K
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Alen N
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Michael Thomas
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wendy spey
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Kim Davidson
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Austin Akers
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Hiking
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Austin Akers
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Hiking
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Bethany Lee
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Alex Anderson
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Ju T
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Slava Slavik
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Hiking
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