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Kuliouou Ridge Loop Trail

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Kuliouou Forest Reserve

Kuliouou Ridge Loop Trail is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 5.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,280 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

Kuliouou Ridge Loop Trail can be done starting with the west or east route. The west route is lightly used and has 2 difficult rope climbs near the top of the ridge that should only be attempted by an experienced hiker. The west route finishes at the top of Pu'u O Kona. The east ridge is moderately used and very well maintained. The 2 hikes (west and east) are connected via a very narrow ridge line that has very steep drop offs. It is common for the top to be in the clouds, and can be very windy, so caution is needed.

hiking
5 days ago

Probably one of the most fun hikes here if you like elevation gain. Do wear pants like everyone says, I didn’t so my legs stung a little in the shower after, and parts of the ridge are narrow but not horrifying. There is only one truly sketchy part on the ridge where some of the hill washed out, and I imagine someone might need to scootch the trail over a little bit (if you even can). You’ll know the spot when you get to it. Luckily there’s tons of plant buddies who’ll let you hang onto them to help you. I took the western trail first. It’s straight up hill to start before you hit the ridge that’ll take you to the top. There’s plenty of ropes and roots to help you up. The spots where it looks like you have to rely on the ropes, it is good to keep a good grip on them though there are some good hand and foot holds to help too. I found some ladies doing yoga at the top which was odd, but then I also sat down and read some of my book and meditated so maybe just as odd. The ridge across to the East isn’t terrible, tons of plants to help you with amazing views of both sides. The washed out spot is just about where you reach the eastern portion. From there the trail just turns into a pretty standard, I assume professionally maintained trail full of people. I just ran down this side, but forgot to unpause my recording after I ran into a friend. Great hike and amazing views. I did it alone and had a great time even.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Stunning views all around. Buckle up for all the uphill on this one! There are some loose rocks on the way up. There are a couple ropes, some you have to fully commit to. We went on a dry dry luckily. Not a hike for the faint of heart or anyone afraid of heights. Much of the trail is very narrow with steep edges right on top the ridge. There was a lot of wind for my hike which was the hardest thing about the hike. We just stayed low and went slow. Took about 4 hours. This is an amazing way to do Kuliouou completely different and going a loop makes it so the end is very easy.

hiking
blowdown
2 months ago

This is an incredible trail! The views of both leeward and windward sides are gorgeous! But it is not for the faint of heart or inexperienced. Do not attempt if you are afraid of heights, as there are several rope climbs, very narrow sections of trail, string wind gusts, and blown-out trail. At a minimum, you should have aggressively treaded trail running/hiking shoes and extra rope. Some of the ropes are quite worn but still serviceable. It took us about 4 hours to complete. The trail was not muddy, but take care because the ground is crumbling and loose on the peaks.

hiking
blowdown
bridge out
over grown
scramble
2 months ago

If your legs and lungs can handle a 2 mile vertical hike then another 3 down hill then this hike is for you. If that doesn’t get you, the thin ridge lines with straight drop offs and high wind gusts may. I love it!

hiking
washed out
2 months ago

So this is definitely a harder hike I wouldn’t say first timers do this... you start out past the pumping station then it’s straight up till you hit the ridge I mean just up! Once you hit the ridge you will go through lots of pine then you will be able to see the trail quite well it is marked with pink ribbons all the way mostly. I would recommend to wear long socks cuz the bushes will scratch up your legs. Also make sure to bring plenty of water and Even a snack or two to enjoy the view spots along the way. If you have a fear of heights this hike might no be for you. You will be on some very narrow parts at some points. There is also quite a few ropes to climb up and go down as well I would use gloves to just save your hands. There is one part before you get back to the ridge side were it has gotten really narrow so be careful. Once you hit the ridge side you will run into plenty of ppl was pretty crowed. Overall this was a good hike it took us 6 hours to do with breaks and all (large group of us). Also if it has been raining I wouldn’t do this hike just because certain parts are already hard to go up or down that being said make sure you have on really good shoes for this one! I would do this hike again but think it will be a while before I do.

hiking
2 months ago

I think this is my new favorite trail (the west ridge specifically)! I was surprised to see this rated as being so difficult & overgrown, as I didn't find it particularly either. Of course, being a proper Hawaii hike, there were a few portions that factor on the fear for your life scale, but mildly so especially compared to similar trails. I started up the west ridge on recommendations seen here, and found the trail right in front of the pumping station with zero issues. Heading up to the ridge, the trail is discernable the majority of the way until the last little bit is going through tons of pine needle beds. While the trail is not as easily seen, it's pretty well marked with pink ribbons so you just follow them to the ridge. Once on the ridge, I felt that the trail was super well-defined the rest of the way. KST connector was amazing, although people not comfortable with heights will want to give themselves some extra time. Came back down the crowded east ridge, which had tons more people on it but felt much easier for the way down. It took me just over 4 hrs with a few long breaks along the ridge for snacks & pictures. Amazing hike & I can't wait to do it again!

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Easy hike on the “difficult” scale. Well maintained, pretty dry, and relatively crowded. Steady uphill but no scrambling needed.

4 months ago

loved it.. a bit scary by myself, but made it!

bridge out
scramble
5 months ago

I’m

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

My new favorite hike on Oahu. Did the loop clockwise & glad we did because coming down Pu'u O Kona would have been awful. Views are epic. Ridgeline hiking was epic. Ropes were fun. Thank you HTMC for clearing the trails that day!

hiking
over grown
scramble
6 months ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
scramble
7 months ago

Hiked it again and changed my mind on some things. The lest ridge is unmarked and unmaintained except by hunters. Not for the faint of heart. First time I did the loop I thought, “shiiiiiit this ain’t so bad!” It’s a burner, but not sketchy. After this time, I realize there is some very sketchy scrambling, and at least one spot on the KST that is just 8 inches wide and eroding away. If you’re the first hiker of the day, I hope you like spiders! :))) @niiimz_

hiking
8 months ago

Great views and challenging route!

hiking
8 months ago

Very sketchy... be careful

hiking
8 months ago

Phone died on me after the KST portion. Quite nerve racking but an awesome hike

hiking
bugs
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
9 months ago

Few things you should know... The west ridge trail is not maintained like the the normal kuli’ou’ou ridge trail. It’s rough, the climbing is on soft and crumbly rock, and the thick overgrowth of Uluhe, California grass and other shrubs will cut you up. In shape and fearless hikers, expect 4-5hrs. If heights get to you, you’re not in the best shape, or you don’t know the trail well, add an hour or more. People who are doing this in 3hrs or less are blazing up the trail, taking fast breaks, and trail running down the other side.

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