Kulana'ahane to H-3 Summit Saddle is a 10.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Aiea, 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.

Length10.5 miElevation gain2,001 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersOver grownScramble
Description
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Parking is at the Moanalua Valley Park (open from 7am - 7pm) at the end of Ala Aolani Street. Follow the Kamananui Valley Trail for approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left at the Kulana'ahane Trail Head sign and cross a stream bed. Keep going straight; if you make a right turn after crossing the stream, you will end up on the Moanalua Middle (Keana'akamano) Ridge Trail. You will make approximately 23 stream crossings. You will then come to an "End of Maintained Trail" sign. Go past the sign and make you way up the ridge to the saddle summit. As you climb will be able to see the waterfall to the right of the radar dish at the top of the Stairway to Heaven.

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Reviews (148)
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Activities (158)
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iman a
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Nalani China
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Hiking

satisfying climb to the top of a ridge (saddle). the waterfall and view at the end is rewarding. it just takes a long time, especially if it rains (add an hour or 2 if it rains).

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Dustin Lockwood
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C Rose
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Hiking

Trail was nice, a longer easier hike and beautiful view from the top. Just at the end it’s a scramble up. For those new to using ropes, just trust them on the way up, it’s a good first go at them. Wear pants, and pack a lunch for the peak. Took me three hours from start to the H3 Summit.

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m judkins
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Hiking
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Jonathan Ford
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Hiking

Good workout, make sure you make it to the top of the H-3 saddle as the all trails recording ends a little short.

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Chris M
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HikingGreat!Muddy

#17 hike from Stuart Ball’s The Hikers Guide to O‘ahu. This is an underrated hike with a little bit for everyone. The first three miles is well trafficked and well known as either the two-mile, family-friendly Damon carriage road hike or the beginning of the Moanalua Ridge hike that leads to Pu’u Keahi o Kahoe and the top of Ha’ikū stairs. But if you take two lefts at the Kulanaha’ahane Trail sign—a left, cross the stream, then a left again—you’ll end up following the ‘ewa side of the valley all the way to a saddle in the Ko’olau summit ridge. (A left, across the stream, and a right takes you to the top of Ha’ikū Stairs.) It’s surely one of the easiest 10+ mile hikes in the Ko’olau, climbing just 1000’ gradually over the first 4.7 miles. A 0.3-mile scramble up another 300’ takes you to an amazing overlook in the back of Ha’ikū Valley and above the H-3 tunnel. We were lucky to still be a couple hundred feet below the cloud ceiling and had amazing views, meanwhile the top of Ha’ikū Stairs was socked in. It’s not a bad idea to scope both destinations from the top of Pu’upueo (two miles in) and see how the clouds look. This is a great hike for people trying to expand their stamina beyond the five and seven-mile ridge hikes in Town, but don’t want to jump straight to the 12+ mile ungraded, overgrown Ko’olau ridges. The first two miles out are on carriage road—flat and perfect for families. The next mile is also flat and a slightly muddier, overgrown version of the road. After three miles the trail becomes a well-maintained back and forth across the Moanalua stream. Friends have mentioned fording the stream in water above their knees, but we hiked in January and didn’t get our boots wet at all. On the way back, the May Damon house isn’t much more than an old kitchen chimney, but Pōhakukaluahine (a large rock with ancient petroglyphs) and the Douglas Damon house ruins are both worth exploring. I logged 10.9 miles including detours to the historic sites. Without the diversions the trail is 5.0 miles from start to summit, or 10.0 miles round trip. Plenty of parking on the street if you arrive early. Technically you’re not allowed to park in the lot unless you’re an active park user. *Note for Ball users: He refers to numbered markers on the carriage road. With the exception of #11 at the May Damon house site, they seem to be gone and mostly replaced by interpretative signs. Finally, for what it’s worth, I’ve never experienced so many other hikers not sure where they were intending to go. We must have answered questions from eight different groups as we walked back in. So do a little homework (I suggest Ball’s book) and know where you’re headed...or at least be happy with where you end up.

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Andrea Dillard
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Drifta Kidd
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david melzack
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Hiking

Very fun bring bug repellent

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Stephan Rodriguez
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Hiking

Really muddy..only got about half way

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Tony Mizuno
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Hiking

One of the best ribboned trails. Safe to do solo.

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Brittany A.S.
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HikingBugsOver grown

You can watch video of hike here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXggVTlghag

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Bailey Jacobs
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HikingGreat!

Challenging hike! I suggest going with a friend if you go all the way the the stairs. Beautiful scenery though!

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Aaron Richards
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Hiking

Great hike. I kept going after I rescued the H3 Summit and went to Stairway to Hell. The H3 saddle can be tricky, recommend going with someone. In all. The views on a clear day are great!

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Rachel Thornton
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Hiking

Nice trip out and just a quick climb straight up. Great views

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J De
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Hiking

It was good. A little boring. I’m glad I did it. Probably won’t do it again.

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Courtney Jones
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HikingMuddyOver grownRockyScramble

Oh man.. I have a love/hate relationship with this trail. First 2.5 miles were flat and easy and pretty well maintained. Once you get 2.5 miles in, you’ll start to see some (mainly) pink ribbons and clear plastic bags tied up to direct you along the trail. There are orange and black ones, too. The next 2 miles are a bit more technical, but nothing crazy. Just watch your step because it was a little slick in places. You cross the stream several times, but it was fairly dried up when I went (09/29/20). There are several spots where the trail is SUPER overgrown.. like, couldn’t see my own steps and just kinda had to keep forging through until the path revealed itself again. That being said, these ribbons on the trail really were a saving grace. If you’re ever in doubt of which way you should go, look for a ribbon and there is always one around (sometimes you have to look a little harder to see them, but there is ALWAYS one to help guide you). Once you get to the part where you start gaining incline there are ropes available that seemed pretty sturdy to me. Personally, I used them more on the way down vs the way up. At the top of that steep incline (which really isn’t that bad), you reach the summit and there’s a sign saying the trail has ended. Once there, go to the right to go along the ridge of the saddle. It’s a bit narrow with steep drop offs, so be surefooted as you go! It was super windy & slick when I got to the other side of the saddle. I was literally maybe 20 yards from the top of the scramble to the top of the rocks and couldn’t finish because it was entirely too windy. I was also alone, and think if I had a second person to help, I would’ve been able to do it. So, bring a friend!! Super disappointed I didn’t get to go to the stairway, though. Also, this hike only takes you to the “end of the trail” sign, so don’t expect to be at the stairway to heaven once you reach the end of the trail depicted on the AllTrails map, you still have a little further to go. Shaded for basically the entire hike except for the last 0.5 miles or so. Have fun and good luck with the weather conditions!

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Amanda Rashleigh
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Hiking

Well maintained with markers always in site. All the streams were dry...as was the waterfall but made for a nice trek. Can’t beat the views from the top either!

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Oxana Balakina
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Hiking

Very rewarding adventure!

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Dustin Lockwood
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Stacie Wrobel
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Hiking

Fantastic trail. Well maintained. Always a trail marker in view. Went to the waterfall and plane crash and also up to the H3 summit.

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Francisco Bernardes
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Hiking

I actually hike moanalua valley trail pretty often since I live near by but I had never gone to the waterfall before. today I decided to find the airplane wreckage but realized it stays right next to the waterfall. it was raining so pretty muddy. the trail has ribbons along the way so its not too hard.

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Theresa Rakotonirina
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HikingMuddy

My first time doing this hike (and I’m not super fit). About 75% of this trail is quite easy and flat. Most of the stream crossings were dry. It only became difficult after the unmaintained trail sign. It had rained earlier so it was pretty muddy and a little slick going up. Would have helped a ton to have spikes. Going down was not as bad as I was expecting it to be, but I pretty much went down on my okole the whole time!

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Casey Jones
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HikingBlowdownGreat!MuddyNo shadeOff trailOver grownRockyScrambleWashed out

We did the stairway to hell, connected to the H3 summit via the Moanalua Valley Trail. The rain and wind were extremely bad going up, making us turn left on the Aeia Ridge summit when we meant to go left. We spent about an hour going the wrong way, however coming back to the starting point only took about 30 minutes because it started clearing up. It took roughly an hour and a half getting to the stairway to hell, and we stopped for a snack. The stairs aren't as corroded or broken down as the pictures depict. It wasn't dangerous or sketchy. The stairs only go for about a half mile before metal poles with cables take over. After the stairs, you're going to have a make a decision. If you want to go down Red Hill Ridge, you're going to have to suck it up and trudge through massive overgrowth, up and down elevation, and a challenge at the end going around the restricted red hill oil tanks. If you go down the H3 saddle, you will come to the H3 summit, which goes to the Moanalua Valley Trail which makes for an easy breazy hike back to the Moanalua Park. The H3 saddle going down wasn't too bad, make sure you have spikes and you are taking your time. You will be fine. Do not grab on to any rocks with too much force, my buddy almost literally died because he grabbed a rock that looked dug in, but came out as he grabbed. Overall, we had a good time, but with the mis direction and sun beating on us, we were really worn out. If you plan on doing this exact route, take someone that has done it before.

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