Molokai Forest Reserve Road Trail

MODERATE 10 reviews

Molokai Forest Reserve Road Trail is a 11.2 mile out and back trail located near Kaunakakai, Hawaii that offers the chance to see wildlife 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.

11.2 miles
2,145 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


mountain biking

off road driving

trail running





Directions from Kaunakakai: Travel 3.5 miles northwest on Highway 460, turn east onto the Molokai Forest Reserve Road, across from the rock crusher. Continue 9.8 miles up this unpaved main road.

5 months ago

You'll need a four wheel drive - the distance from the cemetery is approximately 2 miles and just a dirt road - look out for the bull - from the trail head to the top is exactly 7 miles - it's 3 miles from the picnic overlook to the end of the trail - there are several different paths - stay left and you can see the moss covered trees and Jurassic era looking foliage - stay right and you can run through the lava tunnel - easy hike, and depending on the time of year a wacky drive.

6 months ago

This is the closest to Jurassic Park you will ever feel. SO worth it.

9 months ago

This is not a trail! This is a jeep road to Waikolu Overlook, which some people choose to hike instead of drive. The road to the overlook is 10 miles precisely from the cemetery. If you have 4WD, experience driving on unimproved mountain/forest roads, and TAKE YOUR TIME, then this road should not be problematic for you. It was very dry when we went, but if it's muddy I can see it being much more of a PITA. We went slowly (like, it took us over an hour to get to the overlook) and had no problems, but we're also very comfortable on roads like this. It's really not as bad as people say it is. Once you reach Wailoku Overlook, however, the road continues and gets much more rock-crawly. You can continue down this road for 2-3 miles, in a 4WD vehicle with a confident but careful driver, or by foot. There are at least three trailheads you can access from this road, the last of which is the Pepe'opae Bog Trail, at the very end of the road. It is an out and back trail with significant elevation gain/loss, and is maybe 1.5 mile each way (definitely more than 1 mile!). The trail has a "boardwalk", which consists of, at most, two 2x4s (but usually just one) covered with metal grating. The boardwalk is not well-maintained, being significantly overgrown, rotted out, submerged, or just completely non-existent in some places. The first 1/4 mile or so of the trail is not so bad, but it quickly becomes rather treacherous. I highly recommend wearing actual hiking shoes for this one, specifically boots because it would be very easy to twist or break an ankle on this trail if you misstep. There are a lot of very steep, slippery ups and downs with hardly any boardwalk and an open drop on the other side. There are also a lot of very wet board bridges. It's very difficult to sightsee or birdwatch on this trail because you have to be rather diligent about watching your step. Please only look around/snap photos when you are at a better spot in the trail, and TAKE YOUR TIME! This trail took us a couple of hours. At the end of the trail is a sweeping view of the Pelekunu Valley. There is an opening in the trail before the end with this view as well. We stopped and rested here before turning back, but the trail continued down back into the cliffside jungle (I'm not sure how much further it was to the actual end). You can see and hear the native apapane flying around here. There are lots of bugs, being a bog/rainforest, so bug spray is a good idea if you are sensitive. I wore shorts and a tank top and I was fine, even walking through the overgrowth in some places, but some people might prefer pants or long sleeves. This part of the forest is the only 15% of Molokai's native rainforest left, so please do your best to stay on the trail (it's not possible in some places) and try not to disturb the wildlife.

Friday, January 12, 2018

My wife and I decided that we would start the hike at the Homelani cemetery and not drive up. it's about 5.6 miles to the Molokai Forest Reserve. From there it was another nearly 5 miles to the overlook. it was clouded in when we got there so we continued on to the bog. Don't turn back, go all the way to the end, the view is stunning. Got back to the lookout and the clouds had blown out, so just give it time and the weather might cooperate. We only saw five other people the entire time. Round trip was just under 30 miles. Trekking poles were a huge help for the journey. You'll log around 5000' of elevation gain, and they were great going up and down.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Beautiful and pristine.many plants unique to that area. It was challenging for a 60 year old person, but worth it. For me it's once in a life time.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Accessible by driving up a 10 mile dirt road through central Molokai, and a 2 mile hike into the Kamakou Preserve, lies the Pepe'opae Bog Trail. Maintained by the Nature Conservatory, over 200 unique indigenous Hawaiian plants are preserved here. Over a mile of tenuous, overgrown boardwalk trails showcase natural Hawaiian flora, and the chance to experience a truly wondrous mountaintop bog. The boardwalk into the bog is a metal grid strip that supports better footing and helps from not destroying the native plants. It traverses uphill through steep and narrow pathways. It requires some skill not to lose your balance and step into the bog.

scenic driving
Sunday, April 02, 2017

Off roading driving on 4x4. The drive up is worth the view for the lookout of the valley and waterfall. Best to go when it's hot and dry. If it's been raining a couple of days prior, it will be muddy and your vehicle could get stuck in the mud.

mountain biking
Thursday, July 28, 2011

This trail is actually a dirt road leading up to the Kamakou Forest Reserve. Depending on your familiarity of the island. It is possible to traverse alternate routes leading back down to the south side of the island, making it a one way journey. I would not recomend this option unless you know the roads, or are accompanied by someone who has done it before. There is no potable water available once you leave Homelani Cemitary where the dirt road begins. So carry enough water and snacks to last you all day. The first 11 miles is a steady climb averaging about a 4 to 5% grade. This is where you'll gain your 35oo+ feet of elevation. It takes most people about 2 hours to reach the Waikolu look out park. There you will be treated by spactacular views of the Waikolu Valley. There are picnic tables, a restroom and a sheltered pavilion. Stay off the side roads unless you know where you are going. Some of these roads lead half way down the mountain and end. Making it necissary to push your bike back up to the main forest road at grades anywhere from 4 to about 10 or 12%. An early start will spare you from the scoarching mid day heat of the first 5 miles where it will be dusty, dry and hot. Once entering the canopy of the forest at 2000 ft. elevation, you will be shaded by large eucalyptus trees the rest of the way. About 2 miles further along the main forest road, there will be a sign post which reads "MAKAKUPAIA". Straight ahead another 2 miles is the famouse board walk. Turning right at this sign will lead you to a number of alternate routes down to the south shore. k down toward the south shore. You really need to know which one you want to take, or you may end up lost, and unable to make it back up before dark. I have known of people who have ditched thier bikes, and bush whacked thier way down uncharted terain in the dark just so they wouldn't have to spend the night in the jungle. This option is a worse case scenerio, because your vehicle will still be at the start of the trail anywhere from 4.5 to 10 miles away depending on where you come out at. Your best bet is to check with Phillip at Molokai Bicycles for detailed info.

4 months ago

7 months ago