DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,828 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
3 days ago

Hiking the 3.5 miles to the first peak, Ka’inawa’au Nui Summit, is peaceful and beautiful. I went during the week and only saw one other person the entire day. As mentioned many times before, DEFINITELY wear pants. Mine were pretty much destroyed by the time I was done but better them than my legs. However, the reason I feel compelled to write this review is to give a heads up about the last part of the trail, the section from the Ka'inawa'au Summit to Lanipo Summit...
I DO NOT recommend hiking this part of the trail unless you are a very experienced hiker! It is EXTREMELY overgrown, so bad that I wasn't even sure there was a trail there at all and had to use my hands to clear away vegetation the entire time just to be sure that my foot would land on earth, and not thick roots disguising a sheer drop off the side of the mountain. This, and the fact that the ridge is very narrow, very steep, and the winds can be very strong up there make it extremely sketchy. Also, the plants are so overgrown that their are vines constantly wrapping around your ankles and threatening to trip you as you make your way, which adds another element of danger to the mix.
The views from the first summit are beautiful, and getting there is quite an accomplishment in itself, and although clouds and wind rolled in while I was making the final ascent to Lanipo Summit, I cannot imagine that the views could have been any better than at Ka'inawa'au had it been clear. Unless someone does some major clearing of the trail, it is simply not worth the danger and difficulty to do the last part in my opinion.
This being said, the rest of the trail has spectacular views from the beginning, and a nice mix of ascending and descending sections that help you not get too worn out during the 7+ mile roundtrip hike.
The whole thing is overgrown though, so just be extra diligent about only stepping on the path because some sections offer a false sense of security when actually there is a small area that is solid ground.
Overall it's a moderate hike until the very end, and really nice, but I regret attempting the final quarter mile section and highly recommend sticking to the first summit.