Awaawaloa via Wa'ahila Ridge Trail

MODERATE 159 reviews

Awaawaloa via Wa'ahila Ridge Trail is a 5.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Honolulu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2303 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

muddy

old growth

over grown

rocky

scramble

washed out

Starting from Waahila State Park, it takes about an hour to reach the Kolowalu junction to the left and the ridge to the top on the right. For the most part the trail is very well graded even past the unmaintained section. Mostly a ridge hike. Can be windy most of the time. Heavily eroded sections but they do not pose extreme danger. Some rock scrambling but very doable. To get to this hike drive to the top of St.Louis Heights and park in the Wa'ahila state park at the top. Park hours are 7am-745pm. The hike starts off pretty simple on a wide path the just keeps going up. You soon get to a junction where you go left and from then on the hike starts going up and down over the ridges. There are some rocky sections that involve small amounts of climbing up and down but other then that the hike is pretty easy. Once toward the top you get great views of Manoa Valley and Palolo Valley. At the end of the trail you meet the kolowalu trail which is a steeper hike that will take you down into the back of Manoa Valley. There is also a trail past the end of trail sign. This goes to the top of Mt.Olympus and should not be attempted by novice hikers. Hike this section at your own risk as you are not suppose to go past the end of trail sign but people do anyways. If you do choose to go past it be aware the trail gets a lot skinnier and has numerous rope sections that you will have to climb to reach the summit.

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22 days ago

I'm a newbie at hiking but I gave this one a shot! I was huffing and puffing but I made it and I'm glad I stuck it out. If I can do it you can too! Mahalo to everyone that commented before me. It gave me a real sense of what I was getting myself into

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1 month ago

Beautiful hike along the ridgeline! We didn't quite make it to Mt. Olympus but the rest of the trail (what we could see) looked definitely doable. The rope climbing was fun and not hard at all, and we had an inexperienced hiker with us. Going up and down the tops of the peaks is slightly strenuous but the flat paths between them made it absolutely tolerable.

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1 month ago

7/16/2017-Got a semi-late start (around 0745) but only encountered 7 groups/solo hikers during the whole trip. Lots of breeze and not too sunny thanks to the clouds. Ground was a little slippery/muddy but not too bad. Opted to do part of the lower Wa'ahila Trail at the end of trail sign but will have to hike that one another day.

1 month ago

Challenging and fun! You need to be in pretty good cardiac shape and energetic, ready for a lot of ups and downs and some fun ropes challenges over muddy rocks. I definitely recommend attempting this hike on a day when it has NOT rained in two to three days and is not expected to rain that day. It can get really messy and much more difficult/ dangerous when wet and muddy. When the mud is dry, it's tons of fun! You'll hit about 2500 feet elevation at Mt. Olympus. Awesome view to the south and north of O’ahu when you reach the peak, unless the clouds roll in. You're lucky if you get to the top and get to see the view, as there are often clouds and mist at the top.
This hike begins in the Waʻahila State Recreation Area and is clearly marked and easily mapped. Follow the signs to begin walking through the forest on the wide dirt path. At the top of the hill the path will split, offering you two choices - a narrower, muddy path down through the trees, or a higher, wider path that passes under the power line. The two options rejoin shortly, so it doesn't matter which way you go. I generally choose the power line option to avoid mud and see a view. After a steep descent down a pine needle-covered decline, you'll be on narrower dirt path that traverses several short rocky climbs. Ropes are not really necessary for these; only one or two sections have rope assistance. They were in good condition as of June 2017. Continue walking, mostly in forest, and you'll hit two or three landings that give you views of Manoa Valley. About 2 - 2.5 miles in, you'll encounter a fork in the road and a sign that says End of Wa'ahila State Trail. At this point, you can turn around and head back if you're content. If you plan to climb Mt. Olympus, then take the right fork and keep going!
You'll see much more of the same until you finally crest the ridge and have visibility in all directions. The path becomes narrower, with some deep muddy gorges to put your feet in, and some large steps with anti-erosion boards. As you get higher, you'll encounter several easy to moderate ropes sections. After the last ropes section you hit the ridge line again, and walk along the top. The official "Mt. Olympus" destination doesn't really stick out visually, but you can see on your AllTrails app when you reach that point. There's a small landing there where you can look out to the east and north, or look back to the south.
All in all, this is a pleasantly challenging hike for moderately experienced hikers. Perfect for those wishing to try their hand at ropes for the first time. We have not brought our dog past the upper ropes section, but dogs can definitely handle the first section safely. Be sure to keep them on leash and pick up any waste.

Malama aina. Be sure to leave no trace of your presence and pick up any rubbish you see left from other hikers.

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1 month ago

Nice trip. Not to many people.

1 month ago

I really enjoyed this hike and would rate it moderate to hard. When we started it had been raining heavy further up so we knew the track was going to get worse. The rope climbs in mud was difficult and the last section was extremely slippery. At the summit the clouds lifted and we were left with stunning views, it was beautiful. Great hike but wear your hiking shoes for grip if raining, I wish Id taken gloves up for the last rope section.

You will need a change of clothes!

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is lovely, and the hike not too difficult but can get quite muddy. There are a lot of different kinds of trees and terrain. Once you complete the maintained trail there's roughly another half to complete to the summit. Simply continue past the sign that tells you...not to continue.

I would have liked to reach the summit but I was alone and became concerned by the wind and rain. Parts of the trail were bordering on becoming a mudslide, and there were vertical drops on either side. After I turned back, about 4/5 of the total way, I realized two more gentlemen had been ahead of me. So in all likelihood I would have been fine.

If it's a wet day the mud is no joke. Bring a change of clothes and shoes. When I was there neither the bathroom nor the "wash your shoes here" station at the base were in service.

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2 months ago