Awaawaloa via Wa'ahila Ridge Trail

MODERATE 239 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
1998 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.

hiking
10 days ago

The trail is as described, we went 5 days ago and it was still slightly muddy from the rain 4 days prior. So just keep that in mind, it does not dry up quickly

hiking
1 month ago

Love this trail. Challenging at times but lots of nice pathed straight-aways, cool trees and plants that provide shade and epic views of the city. Basically you end up hiking in the clouds! Highly recommend but wouldn’t bring small children, I saw two families that had to turn around. It’s definitive not the easiest hike but worth the effort for the beautiful views / photographs! Good work out, too!

2 months ago

Awesome

2 months ago

great hike. nice views. once you get to the trail end sign take a right and start going up. you will constantly be using ropes to climb up and down. we brought our dog and for the most part she could climb it but there were times where i had assist her and lift her up cause she couldnt climb it.

2 months ago

Great hike for two relatively new hikers. We went to the right past the do not pass sign. Round trip to top took almost exactly 4 hours with a few stops. Would not want to do this in the rain, particularly the last bit. And would be remiss if we didn't thank profusely whoever put in the ropes!!!

3 months ago

Great trail! We went early (8am) and found ourselves to be one of just a few on the trail, but by time we were done it was pretty crowded. Myself and my husband are very active and found this hike to be the perfect challenge; not so hard that he had a problem carrying our 25lb son on his back vis hiking back or that I had any issues keeping up being 5 months pregnant. Parts are very steep, but over all it’s a very balanced course. We did go past the “trail not maintained” sign, but only .4 miles past it as it was getting pretty narrow. Trail is almost completely shaded, so stayed nice and cool. Various lookout points even if you do not make it to the top, so certainly worth doing.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice hike. It took 4 hours round trip. That was taking my time taking a few pictures and video. It hadn’t rained in probably 5 days, so the trail was totally dry. If the trail is dry you won’t need to use any of the ropes. Take the trail to the right at the sign that says the trail ends. It’s a good workout, but shouldn’t be a problem. If you hike the Rockies in Canada this one won’t be a problem. It was sunny and windy which was nice. It kept you cool. No bugs at all. Take water and Gatorade. It’s worth going to the top. You can see the north side of the island once you get there.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome hike with stunning views over Honolulu and Waikiki! Had 10 days in Oahu and was very happy we chose this one. We ended up getting to a “Do not go past this point” sign and took the trail to the upper right and continued on for another .75 mi. There are some ropes to help you up steep parts but then it opens up to a “helicopter pad” type grassy area with near 360 degrees views. This is an awesome hike. I would definitely advise against trying this right after a rain though, certain parts get slick (it started to rain a bit during our hike)!

hiking
4 months ago

Well maintained trail. Took me 4 hours to complete.

hiking
4 months ago

It is a pretty great hike with amazing views on the way to the top. I would rate it as a hard moderate hike. Could be harder, but definitely isn't easy.

You should check the weather! Don't go if its raining. Believe me, don't do it.

We had good luck and on our way to the top very nice weather. Even without rain it was really muddy! Sometimes you can use ropes. Sometimes just your hands. On the way back we had rain and it was like hell.

Some parts are a little bit dangerous, especially if it's rainy. On your right and your left it's a long way down. Take care of your steps!

hiking
4 months ago

Great view at the top, and good views/rest stops along the way. Moderate hike.

trail running
4 months ago

Our first trail in Hawaii, it was great but little bit wet and slippery because of the rain. When we reached the top it was foggy and we couldn't see much. But definitely something to recommend.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail. Much better than expected. Parking lot at Base. Directions take you right at the top of the hill instead of left at top of the hill. Follow the the pink markers at any splits. Ropes are about 1.75 up. Helpful. First summit is at 2.0. The next half mile I was told very muddy. By looks of the climbers coming down, I skipped it. View from first summit was great.

trail running
5 months ago

This hike/run was one of the more rewarding trails I've been on. The gradual change in vegetation as you steadily get to higher elevation, the breathtaking views along the way and the sheer challenge of getting to the top of Mt. Olympus are worth every muddy step of this hike. Getting to the summit is not for the faint of heart as you will have to scramble up rocks, navigate slippery hillsides on narrow ridges and use ropes to hoist yourself up steep paths, but the view of Manoa valley as you get to the top is amazing. I did the round trip in just over 2 hours, but count at least 3.5 - 4 hours if you're just walking/hiking.

hiking
5 months ago

I went to the summit and was surprised with how well the trail was. Make sure to pack a light rain jacket or an extra shirt as it is windy and can get quite cold. I had a small snack facing Kaneohe then headed back. Took me 4 hours but could be done quicker. Not a novice trail.

5 months ago

What a hike! Super long & variant. Took us 5hrs round trip with break, & we didn't quite make it to the top. Definitely wear hiking boots, too long of a hike for medium sized dog.

hiking
5 months ago

great views along the route. solid climb. plenty of parking. clearly marked trails. strawberry guava in abundance. the only drawback was the mud because it had just rained. everything was slick but still very passable. because of the steep climb the temperature decreases steadily on the way up. it was very cool and breezy at the top which felt great.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a great trail that quickly follows the ridge. A lot of ups and downs and occasional (but significant) rock scrambling. We didn’t make it to the end - too many steep climbs (and ropes). There’s a beautiful viewpoint at the Rec Area entrance.

6 months ago

Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes on Oahu and is one of my favorites. Also a good place for birding and is where I saw my first native Hawaiian forest bird, the female amakihi. I posted up a photo I took of it and is a beautiful small green bird. A must do!

hiking
7 months ago

Great views but be prepared from rain.

7 months ago

Great hike with some rope sections versus the end. The start is very easy and till the end it's getting more demanding. The weather was not that good and due to the rain in the night and previous days before it was yery muddy. If you have the possibility to wait for some days without rain it's much easier. However, it was no problem for me anyway. All in all a solid nice walk.

hiking
7 months ago

Goodness this was a fantastic hike! I have been hiking here 1-2 different hikes a week for almost a year and this is a top 5. We parked at the park just like directions said to and we followed Wa'ahila to where it ended and just continued up to the right until the top of Mt Olympus. The clouds broke for us once we got up top so we had the joy of seeing all the amazing views. It took us almost 4 hours total but we are very fit and we trail ran the whole way down once we got past the ridge so that made it quick. Our breaks all combined were probably 30 or so minutes. We took a breather at each flat open area and had about a half of a PB&J up top while we waited for the clouds to break. Pretty easy hike to follow, there are a few forks but they all link back up. Just make sure that at the end of Wa'ahila at the "end trail" sign that you stay to the RIGHT past the sign to head up to Mt Olympus. My micro spikes made my climb easy but my friend had normal shoes on and she made it up fine too. It was a nice dry day up top so that helped.

7 months ago

nice mellow hike

hiking
8 months ago

I attempted this on a rainy not so great day and got spooked. It was starting to get pretty slick and I was by myself. But, what I saw was pretty cool. Lots of ups and downs on the ridge - I mean you are immediately up on it and the view was killer. I wish I had been able to stick it out. (They were also filming Hawaii 50 up there so that was pretty out there.)

hiking
8 months 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

9 months 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.

hiking
9 months 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.

9 months 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.

9 months ago

Nice trip. Not to many people.

10 months 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!

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