Mau'umae Trail

HARD 55 reviews

Mau'umae Trail is a 6.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Honolulu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2828 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

muddy

old growth

over grown

rocky

washed out

no dogs

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this trail in weather that was a bit hazy & overcast with clouds looming high over the Ko’olau Summit at the start. This trail is no joke! The word ‘unrelenting’ kept repeating in my mind as we hiked up and down and up and down and up and down ad infinitum on the trail.

We’ve hiked many of the more challenging trails around O’ahu, Kauai, Maui, & the Big Island, but this trail is like none other, so far. Most ascents along the ridges leading to the KST seem to have some ascending sections with an easier, somewhat level ‘breather’ section for a bit, with an occasional rope up some steep rock sections then back to an ascent until you eventually reach the summit or the overlook. This one was different! Lots of up rocks and down rocks over & over that required a full body workout to climb and in between it was a lot of pushing through overgrown sharp fern sections. There was very little shade available the entire 6.6 mile trek.

It started raining on us about 90 minutes into the hike and then the trail became muddy, puddling, and eventually an unceasing cascade of water flowing down the, in many sections, just wide enough for one foot sections through the dirt trail on steep inclines. We were thankful to have brought our micro-spikes on the hike and wore them almost the entire time. They proved the difference in between making it to Ka’inawa’au Summit or not as we met another group of intrepid hikers who gave up the attempt about 3/4 mile from the summit as they weren’t wearing microspikes.

Once we reached the first summit (Ka’inawa’au Nui Summit) it was raining pretty hard and there was no view toward Kailua/Kaneohe) and we could barely even see Lanipo Summit only 0.2 miles away as the thick clouds rolled in, out of safety concerns we aborted the attempt to Summit Lanipo as the Ko’olau Summit Trail can be fairly dangerous even in dry, non-windy conditions. Any amount of precipitation and wind can turn the KST into a treacherous endeavor.

We’d hiked several neighboring ridges in the past, Wiliwilinui, Ka’au Crater Rim Trail, Awaawaloa to Wa’ahila Ridge to Mt Olympus, Hawaii’loa, Kuliou’ou full Loop Trail, Hahaione, etc. so it was neat to see some of those trails (especially Ka’au Crater with a heavily flowing Waterfall #3) and some other rarely appearing waterfalls from the Mau’umae Ridge along our adventure. Mau’umae turned out to be a great full-body workout for us, leaving us feeling like we’d survived a mixed martial artist fight to the death at the end. We finished with hands that had been scratched up and impaled, heads with bruises from hitting trees along the way (my husband & I both hit our heads at least four times on trees—which is not typical for us on all of the hiking we’d done prior to this, BTW he’s 6’2” & I’m 5’5”). We’re not sure if that was a function of the heavy rains, flooding muddy trail, or the constantly changing ascents and descents along the way where we focused on safe foot placement and possibly ignored the tree overhead.

All in all we’re glad we did the hike. The rains kept it cool for us but it was brutally hot at the start before the clouds and rains came in. We’re bummed we didn’t summit Lanipo being only 0.2 miles from it once we reached the KST/first summit.

I’m not sure if I’d hike this trail again unless I’d really need a tough workout to prepare for something like US Army Ranger School or American Gladiator or something along those lines. As a caveat, I do 100 push ups a day and 20 pull-ups 3-4 times each week coupled with running/hiking about 20 miles a week, swimming about 5 miles a week, and weightlifting. We were in fairly decent shape before this hike. It still hurt!!! There are other trails on Oahu that I’d repeat well before I’d consider repeating this one just because they offer more variety (microclimates, waterfalls, forests, shaded areas, breathtaking views) without some of the pain.

Mau’umae=unrelenting rollercoaster ridge hike with great views of neighboring ridges, Ka’au Crater, Honolulu, Diamond Head and maybe Kailua/Kaneohe on a clear day

It took us 4 hours, 40 minutes in rainy, muddy conditions from start to Ka’inawa’au Summit & back to the start

hiking
1 month ago

I agree with recent posts. A moderate hike, interesting climb up and down 3 peaks rather than all up going and all down coming back. Half of the hike is narrow track thru 3 foot high brush so the suggestion to wear pants is a good one. I bought hiking pants for this trail because of the posted advice and was glad I had them. A pair of hikers going down did not summit and were discussing the need of pants when we passed.

1 month ago

Nice views! Second or third clearing has a bench on the top of a hill

hiking
3 months ago

solo hiked today, wear pants bring at least 2L water pp, everything is along a ridge (very narrow at times) 1st third is exposed dry rock up and down, 2nd third is a narrow ridge with a decent amount of vegetation over parts of the trail. Last third to summit is a narrow dirt ascent. Great views along the way of the crater to the left and of Waikiki, unfortunately summit was all clouds today.

4 months ago

Bring lots of water (at least two litter per person) most of the trail is under direct sun light and it will take about 7 hours to finish this trail and also wear pants.

hiking
5 months ago

I would say more moderate as opposed to hard. Appreciated the change in elevation as you go instead of constant incline. If you want an additional challenge park at the bottom of Wilhelmina Drive and jog/walk up that road to the trailhead.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike for the more experienced. it is a good hike for a beginner or intermediate up until after one of the caps of one of the peaks. After this point the trail gets harder to see because of the over growing vegetation. I would definitely take plenty of water and some food, depending on your phone battery a portable charger as well, I was about 200 yards to the end and had to turn back because I wasn't expecting it so it caught me off guard. I would also wear pants because of the plants and little twigs scraping your legs and hiking boots for better traction with some of the areas of the trail.

5 months ago

Solid view of the curvature of Earth and the sight of Honolulu/ Diamond Head

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike! Not as "hard" as some of the other hikes listed here as hard, but is a great workout with a alot of elevation gains and losses during the trek to the summit. Save some energy for the end as it will be a decent uphill section to get back to the trail head

hiking
6 months ago

Definitely a moderate hike vice hard. A few overgrown areas but everything is well marked and tracked out

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike, very well marked and roped. Great views and nice to have ups and downs rather than all uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back. Thanks to everyone who suggested wearing pants!

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail for being right behind waikiki. Tons of sun exposure so be sure to protect yourself. Took 2 1/2 hours to summit and it's one that will burn the buns. Really enjoyed the views of kaau crater and the other side of the island. Very rewarding to finish. Don't forget long pants and socks because you'll get torn up on the last mile. Yes it's muddier near the top. Enjoy! I'll do this one again for sure!

7 months ago

It was a very nice hike, didn't really get hard until the sun was out and in full effect, wear pants!

hiking
7 months ago

Loved this hike! Beautiful views the entire hike and constant up and down. I logged almost 7 miles. Took us just under 6 hours round trip. Wear tall socks to protect your legs as the brush is pretty thick closer to the end. Take your time on the narrow spots and bring plenty of water!

hiking
7 months ago

LOVED this Trail! Great views along the way. Gets very narrow at the end. Take your time and you will be fine. Also, would recommend going very early, there is no shade. Bring lots of sunscreen and water. Totally worth it!

hiking
10 months ago

watch out for ferns wear high socks or hiking pants or ferns will scratch you up path is a bit over grown amazing views challenging hike great resistance

hiking
11 months ago

Decent trail. Wear long pants. The ferns will cut up your legs. Usually takes me about half the time to hike back.

trail running
11 months ago

No one was joking about the ferns. If you have calf sleeves make sure to wear them.... maybe they will help. Maybe an old pair that you don't mind getting frayed a bit? Was able to run the majority of the trail minus a few steep inclines, declines, and the ferns really scratched up my shins. I guess I didn't want if bad enough because I walked a lot of that fern part and it still scratched me. I'm the weird kinda ultrarunner who isn't a masochist. The views were awesome.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Great trail.. I wouldn't say it should be classified as hard tho.. no big climbs, just up and down most of the day.. a bit over grown but still a good path to follow

hiking
Thursday, February 02, 2017

Nice trail. Easy to follow.

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