Mount Kaala Trail is a 11.4 kilometer lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Waianae, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

11.4 km
1,642 m
Out & Back


nature trips

rock climbing

trail running



wild flowers




over grown



no dogs

At more than 6 miles and 5,000ft of total elevation gain it's one of the most difficult hikes on the O'ahu but it's worth the work to ascend to the highest point on the island. From certain points there are amazing views of the Waianae Valley and Coastline and of the North Shore.

8 days ago

Wonderful hike! Didn’t get to complete it due my own poor shoe choices and the muddy trail right at the top of the peak. Round trip was 7 mi. Needed maybe a half mile more to go. Tons of rope set up at the top to help get you over obstacles. And I one part there is a ladder bolted right into a rock. Wonderful views on a clear day. I will return to summit Mt Ka’ala next time!

15 days ago

Pretty cool hike over a variety of terrain and “obstacles.” The 7.1 mileage looks like it didn’t include the section of planks that take you through the bog at the top and to the radio station. Our watch had it closer to 8+ miles. Definitely aim to do this hike on a clear day without any rain!

1 month ago

Toughest hike so far Mountain Ray.

1 month ago

2 months ago

Difficult trail. You need bug spray. We only hiked up about 5.5 miles. Took us 3.5 hours there and back. Very pretty jungle though.

2 months ago

There are many photos of the recent fire in the Waianae Ramble track.

2 months ago

I thought the trail was great. A little sketchy driving in, seems to have been a wildfire recently(months or years). Park right at the trail head and be prepared for some inclines. As others have said, great views about 2/3 up. Once at the top, carefully walk around perimeter of radar installation for views of most of island. After that, prepare for a trip back down. My knees still hurt from the decline.

2 months ago

very steep, yet well worth trail to the top of Oahu! ropes towards the top to help you. very interesting hike.

3 months ago

Loved this hike

3 months ago

Just about a nonstop uphill hike. I brought and 6L of water with me on this hike. I could have had a faster hike time, but there is so much to see and take in along the way. At the top please take extra care in the Reserve. Extremely fragile ecosystem and the top. Please follow all the rules posted on the signs by the gates. Endangered plant and wildlife.

4 months ago

mostly uphill hike, trail in pretty good condition for most of the way although some may struggle on a few muddy portions/climbs. views on the way up of west side well worth the hike even if summit is foggy. at a good clip for an experienced hiker 4 hours round trip. fair number of people on trail after about 10am on a weekend

6 months ago

This hike is hard! It will tap your reserves quickly with the sudden and steep inclines. Bring plenty of fluids, good hiking boots, and gloves for the ropes.

Total mileage completed: 9 but recorded 7
Hours: 6.5

6 months ago

Trail is well-marked with purple and orange flagging, appears to be recently cleared. The climbing ropes seem safe however wouldn't trust multiple people at the same time. A good strenuous hike, it took me 2 hours to get to end of trail at the summit near the USAF RADAR dome and about two hours down in conditions a little wet and slippery; all in all a great day hike.

8 months ago

Worth the trip!

9 months ago

Took us 2hrs 20min to the top and about 2hrs down. The first 25-30min is on a steep road. The last 15min is flat on well maintained wooden planks. We got up there before the clouds rolled in and had views of the entire west side, north shore, and south shore all the way to diamond head.

10 months ago

Took approximately 5 hours to get up and 2.5 to get down, going at a moderate pace with quite a few stops to snack and stay hydrated. The best view on the hike is around 2/3 of the way up. Going all the way seemed a bit of a waste of time due to the fact that it was in the clouds and you can barely see anything. Pretty difficult hike but nothing impossible, the hard part comes when you hit the rope sections and the trail become thinner, along with mud so it’s pretty slippery. Definitely wear shoes with good traction as well as gloves so you don’t hurt your hands on the ropes. Also it’s pretty chilly at the top so pack a sweatshirt. I definitely suggest starting this hike early on in the day so you don’t have to wonder if you’ll make it down in time before sunset. It is a decently marked trail but if you’re not careful you could get turned around easily, especially in the dark. Overall a decent hike but there’s definitely better ones on the island, with less effort and time as well. Too bad since it’s the highest point on the island.

10 months ago

Pretty decently long hike I’d say. Majority of the way up IS just straight elevation gain so it may be a killer on your calves (coming down will be killer on your knees). Beware of the Waianae gangs at the bottom parking lot. We were chased by them on their mopeds because one of our group members opened the scrapped cars. Remember to respect that it’s their property and I don’t suggest parking there. (You’re literally asking for your car to get stripped). Also I heard people say theres 30 rope sections and it’s true. Around 2/3’s way up, there’ll be 28ish sections of straight ropes. There’ll be a airforce installation base at the top. I wouldn’t touch anything if I were you.

11 months ago

Great beautiful hike. I completed this and four hours and nearly ran up to the top and hour and a half. Compared to other hard trails in the area, it's on the easier side. Expect something mud and a few roped sections closer to the top. The day of my hike all three cars in the lot including mine were broken into through the drivers side window. I was lucky that I had no valuables in the car, but still quite a headache.

11 months ago

The trail is decently challenging, and a lot of fun. Make sure you give yourself 6+ hours to do this. We made it to the summit at sunset and walked down the back road. Big mistake. It's roughly an 8 mile road, it will bring you out an hour from where you parked. The area where the trailhead is located is a very sketchy place to leave your car, and is ten times worse at night. Just do it all in daylight. This is definitely a trail for hikers. Don't go if you're expecting amazing views. Other trails have far better views, but the trail is lots of fun.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The amount of effort vs. the views is just not worth it. The back way to the stairway to heaven was easier with much more payoff views. But if you do go bring gloves and a jacket.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Took a 55 year-old man 5.5 hrs round trip to complete this. Definitely worth the views, but prepare to get a serious workout. Don't even think about going if it's raining or has rained hard within the last 3-4 days. Bring gloves for climbing. 3300 ft of elevation according to my GPS.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Great experience. It was my first time and last time doing it. It’s one of those things you only do once and it’s good enough

Saturday, November 11, 2017

It was great, there are at least 3 "mental sections" of the hike where you have to walk some steep concrete to get to the start, some steep climbing till about the 3rd mile where it turns in to ropes and some steep elevation gain.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Definitely one of my all time favorite hikes, and definitely the hardest one I’ve done. Once you get to the peak of Kaʻala the ecosystem is filled with Hawaii’s native species. Native dragon flys(pinao) Happy faced spiders, Hawaiian Snails(Pupu Kuahiwi) and so many native plants and birds like the apapane and amakihi are all abundant here. Kaʻala is also the highest place on Oahu. This hike is super beautiful and is the best place to experience Hawaii what it was possibly like a long time ago

Saturday, October 14, 2017

This hike was amazing for us. We went up in about 2 hours and 15 mins. It was a long walk up, steep uphill climb, then you have a stretch with ropes and basically bouldering up. Must trust in the ropes even with the rain and mud. It was nice to have it sprinkle rain going up and pouring rain as we came down. But sure made it slippery so have to be careful. Not for kids or elderly. Path is easy to follow and there are many views along the way up. Be sure to take pics while heading up. You keep walking until you see signs to guide you. You will also walk on a wooden path for a while but this part is nice and relaxing. When we made it to the top creepy golf ball satellite dish, it was too foggy to see anything. It took us about 2 hours down. With my asthma, it was tough going up but the air up top was amazing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The most amazing adventure I have had yet...but is a very physically demanding hike. At least it was for me.
Beautiful views. Excellent

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Excellent trail with lots of character. Very well marked. The trail is pretty clear, but if muddy, is very slippery. Required to ascend up some boulders in multiple areas. There are ropes, but do not rely on them being there. No way around. Definitely recommend trekking poles for coming down. Also, bring a rain jacket. Beautiful views off the ridge line of west Oahu to see the ocean. Shaded, jungle hike with various open spots.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The views are absolutely amazing. Definitely not a hike to under prepare or underestimate. Myself and two friends got it done in 4 hrs 25 mins and we were cooked at the end.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mount Ka'ala has been the most challenging hike ive encounter.
Its mostly vertical, it has some rock climbing; i am glad some previous hikers were kind enough to fill it up with ropes because u will sure need them.
The beggining is around 30 min in paved/sunny area, and then u reach the "forest" and start going up. It is long, be prepared, be as LIGHT as possible, i recommend doing it with camelbaks, and bring some protein for the road, we made the mistake of carrying 2 big flasks each and it wasnt fun.
All i gotta say is when you think you are losing your breath and u wont make it there u will see more and more ropes, and rocks, thats when u gotta keep going because u know u are very close to make it!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

This hike (from Waianae side) is more of a workout than anything, kinda boring if you ask me... the views are only at the top, and there are no real challenges besides going uphill... took me 1:40 to get to the top since I'm used to hike steep inclines... weather was dry and hot! Probably won't do it again, I'd rather do kokohead 3 times like some people said and save myself the 1+ hour drive to get there... unless I start at kaena point to get to Ka'ala and go down on North Shore side to try something different!

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