Kuliouou Ridge Loop Trail is a 4.6 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.

Length4.6 miElevation gain2,253 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeMuddyNo dogs
Description
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Tips

Please be mindful of the neighbors when parking for this hike, do not block driveways and fire hydrants or you will be towed/ticketed. Pack out your trash! 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.

Note 1: If you are starting up the west route to get to the trailhead, on the paved road where the east trail starts, stay to the left on the paved road and you will come to the west trailhead which is not marked. Also, the first 0.3 miles of the west route is very steep. If doing the loop, do the west route first so you can see the conditions (winds/clouds/rain) for the trickiest part of the route and can safely turn around based on your assessment Note 2: If doing the full loop, be sure to wear pants or the ridge line that connects the west and east portion will cut up your shins.

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Reviews (215)
Photos (2,497)
Activities (182)
Completed (499)
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Megan Gebhard
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 18, 2021
HikingOver grown

I would not recommend this hike unless you are very comfortable and I mean a pro at maneuvering on narrow ridges. We went at the end of March and got stuck in a wind advisory that came out of nowhere on the first ridge close to the first summit coming up from the west side. We were at the final rope ascent and decided to turn around which was also terrifying to come down the west side. There is a ton errosion and steep drop offs on both sides. I have hiked in Switzerland, Thaiti and all over the mainland and I feared for my life on this trail. Do not take it lightly. Please note this is very different than just the Kuliouou ridge hike on all trails (East trail). My guess is half of these reviews are for that trails because we saw zero people on the west ridge the entire 4 hours we were hiking and there is no way I would ever take a kid or very pregnant women on this trail.

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Adela Mou
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 17, 2021
HikingGreat!Over grown

Beautiful views but definitely for experienced hikers only. I would highly discourage you from hiking this trail if you aren’t wearing long pants. The trail is overgrown and so you can get whipped and poked for several miles. But worth it if you come prepared.

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Takeshi Yamada
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 10, 2021
Hiking

Great trails

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Danielle Elliot
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 3, 2021

So the 5 stars are as high as my hopes for this hike. Newer to the island and really hoping to find a hiking buddy! Please message me on Instagram: @d_stat so we can adventure together :)

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Nina Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 30, 2021
Hiking

Extremely cloudy & windy at the top! Highly recommend wearing pants instead of shorts.

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Justin Nambounmy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 30, 2021
HikingOver grown

Mostly cloudy and rather windy but we did the reverse loop from the Eastern ridge side and down the West. The East ridge is generally forested but the trail is very easy to track. You're greeted in the beginning with an endless amount of switchbacks until you get to the pine needles where you enter the forest where the trail is pretty wide open but well marked. About 90% of the East ridge is covered and is considerably less technical than the West. The final 10% of the East ridge consists of a generally open stair climb. The end of that trail welcomes you to a breezy wide open resting area at the top. Most people finish this hike here, however this area isn't the highest peak. If you continue West from the resting area you encounter about three ropes, one descending two ascending. The 1st rope is about a 15ft descent so nothing too terrible. The 2nd rope is a small 10ft ascent. The 3rd rope is the highest of the three being about a 50ft ascent up. Following the 3rd rope the trail starts getting extremely overgrown you will have tons of vegetation poking at you and you'll be questioning why you didn't wear hiking pants. About 10 minutes scouring through the brush you reach Pu'u O Kona with a small resting area just past the peak. However, this still isn't the highest peak on the Kuliouou Loop. If you choose to commit to the loop you're looking at another 30 minutes or so to the next peak. It isn't too difficult just one rope ascent, a lot of erosion, and vegetation poking at you. Finally you've reached the unnamed highest peak in the loop. From here you get a great view of the windward side and around to Diamond Head. Descending down the West ridge is a lot more technical but you have an awesome view of the leeward side every time you look up. A few rope descents here and there but generally just steep bouldering. After descending enough you'll reach the pines and it gets significantly easier going down you're able to run down in a lot of spots. Finally you being your descent from the ridge going down the side of it. This area will truly test how well your footing is considering this being the steepest area of the loop covered in pine needles. If you are doing the proper loop by going up through the West ridge you will see how painful this part is, I initially did the proper loop with a group of 7 and one person ended up quitting 10 minutes in the ascent up the West ridge. It's that tough and it's that steep. Regardless of which loop you attempt always have ample amounts of water and a decent pair of hiking boots. I usually always bring a 64oz on my trips and never run out and spikes aren't really necessary on this unless you are set on going on this trip after the rain. Highly recommend the East to West loop if you're up for a challenge and nice views going down of Koko Head, Hawaii Kai and Diamond Head. If you end up going the West to East loop there aren't really any great views going down since most of the East ridge is forested. Good luck!

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Andrew Buck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 28, 2021
Hiking
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Marinela Banica
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful views but pretty overgrown, need long pants!

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Malachi Seib
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 3, 2021
Hiking

Awesome hike but do not attempt if you aren’t super experienced in hiking. It’s a lot of slow, windy, difficult ridge line maneuvers. If you are experienced, worth every minute of it.

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jmarv 47
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 26, 2021
Hiking

Trail was nice, not so overgrown and not so used up

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Chris Reimer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 21, 2021
Hiking
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Jan Creekmur
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 15, 2021
Hiking
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Heidi Mooney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 15, 2021
Hiking

Please don't follow my recording. I missed the tail for the ridge and was on the trail for the valley trail for a while. I planned to do the loop, but the weather turned bad and I went back the way I went up.

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Shawn Cude
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 9, 2021
Hiking
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Justin M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 31, 2021
BackpackingGreat!MuddyOver grownScramble

CARRY YOUR SPIKES!!! First off, this is an incredibly gorgeous trail. I’ve done most trails on Oahu, including the back way to the Haiku stairs, and in my view, this trail had the best views on the island, specifically up the West Side!! There’s a spot on one of the peaks as you’re crossing the ridge from West to East and you have a 360 degree Panoramic view of the island. Unreal! Now, the important details. I’d personally recommend this hike outside the months of January to March, unless you’re an experienced hiker. Weather conditions really affect the difficulty of the hike (and the time it takes to complete the hike). I did this hike yesterday, and that was on the heels of a pretty rainy week. There was A LOT of mud!! It was also incredibly windy, which, when crossing from West to East, required a lot of caution, patience and focus. As other reviewers have pointed out, one wrong step and that could be it! It took approximately 5:30 hours (but there were a lot of photo op stops). I agree with other reviewers that the clockwise route is preferable. There’s a lot of rope climbing involved, which I personally enjoyed. There are few areas where ropes would’ve been ideal, and given the conditions, it made for a slippery and fairly risky ascent at some points. Pants are probably are good idea unless you don’t mind cuts and scrapes. The West side is fairly overgrown, especially on the ridge crossing West to East! If you choose to do this hike during the “winter months”, wear spikes! We’re getting a lot of rain, the weather is unpredictable and you really need to have confidence in your footing to complete this hike. One group we passed (we only saw 2 groups on the west side) didn’t complete the loop because they didn’t feel safe because of all the wind and mud. This hike is not for the faint of heart! Good luck

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Minori Inoue
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 31, 2021
Hiking
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Chelsea McKay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 31, 2021
HikingMuddyScramble

While the west and east ridges by themselves are quite easy in my opinion, the spine which connects the two is tough tough stuff. It is beyond windy up there, and the trail is very narrow with a fall to your death if you step too far right or left. As usual, absolutely no one on the west ridge, with dozens of people on the east ridge. This took us just over 3 hours to complete, but it felt like 5 hours. We were exhausted after. I suggest taking the west side up, and the east side down, as the east side is much easier and has stairs. Expect to get muddy. Also some scratchy ferns, so I suggest wearing long pants. Shaded 70% of the trip.

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Erick Ramirez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 24, 2021
Hiking

Awesome!

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Jens Windau
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 23, 2021
Hiking
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Thomas Barrett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 22, 2021
Hiking

super fun. perfect conditions today, despite the wind

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Richard Stone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 21, 2021
HikingGreat!

A week after this hike I'm still stunned by the spectacular memory. After hiking Konahuanui, Olympus, and Manoa Middle in the last several months, we were kinda poo-pooing the idea of one of the "lesser" Koolau summit trails, but since there had been a major storm 3 days earlier, we decided to try it , thinking it would be drier - and there was essentially no mud! And it turned out to be an incredible hike. The Best! Many steep rope-assisted climbs (thanks to those selfless volunteers who put them there, especially a new yellow one on probably the longest descent.) We had very limited experience with the actual Koolau Crest trail previously - only short stretches at the top of the above-mentioned hikes. Kuli'ou'ou loop is much more Crest walking/climbing - we probably were on it for an hour or more. The sheer dropoff must have often exceeded 80 degrees. You can see the Pali all the way to Konahuanui and well beyond. And later, all the way to the southern end. Just stunning - Words fail! WARNING - as one reviewer said in a couple lines of ALL CAPS, THIS IS A DANGEROUS TRAIL, especially if the weather turns against you. Or if you are terrified of sheer 500 ft or more dropoffs. Parts are very narrow, though usually heavily vegetated on Honolulu side (but one of us just stuck her hiking pole through the solid-looking vegetation into ... nothing!) Another reviewer said she hiked it at 36 weeks pregnant with her 7 year old daughter. The good thing about this review is that it gave our opposite-aged group (58, 70, and 74) confidence. But our opinion is that it would be extremely inadvisable to take a 7 year old on the Crest trail. Definitely do the hike clockwise, as shown in AllTrails. The first half hour is a hard climb, but it would be much harder going down at the end of the hike. Much better to cruise down the Sierra Club stairs (another big Thank You) and switchbacks on the Ridge portion at the end. We moved at a pace befitting our ages, and took about 6.5 hours total, probably stopping to sit or stand and stare for at least 1.5 hours of the time. I'm not sure of AllTrails algorithm for "moving time", but many of the rope areas are so slow that they may not show as "moving", especially since you can't have two people on the rope at a time. I have to end with a plug for our strict vegetarian diet - I give that primary credit for being able to enjoy such gifts in my 70's.

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Lana K
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 19, 2021
FishingBlowdownBugsFloodedMuddyOff trailOver grownPrivate propertyRockyWashed out

"IF YOU LIKE WALKING AROUND BAGS OF DOG SHIT THIS IS THE TRAIL FOR YOU" Hikers are ruining this trail. They are parking their cars in driveways, in front of fire hydrents and stop signs. People in the neighborhood have started calling police and tow trucks to get them towed because they've had to put up with it for years. Hikers are leaving bags of dog shit and trash on the pavement and curbs. When they get to the trail some of them leave their dogs run wild to shit all over the trail. The ones that leash their dogs liter the trails with dog shit bags, empty bottles and trash. When they come back to the begining of the trail you will always navigate around a big pile of bags of dog shit. They are ruining it for everybody! The city, county and state won't do anything about it!

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