DISTANCE
15.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,226 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

bugs

muddy

over grown

rocky

scramble

no dogs

backpacking
1 month ago

Native Coloradan, climbed many 14ers, trail racer, mountain biker, blah, blah, blah....That said....This is not an easy trail, don't fool yourself. There is no flat, always up or down, and often steep. The weather changes very quickly and a wet or muddy trail could be seriously hazardous or fatal. You will be climbing the sides of cliffs, crossing water, and experiencing constant elevation change. If you start at Waipio Valley Artworks, the total distance is closer to 10 miles. It will rain, it may be hard to start a campfire, be prepared. You will sweat and smell like an ox, hydration is critical. The good news is there is plenty of water. Filter and / or treat and there's plenty to drink. The bad news is there are times of sun exposure that will turn your mouth into a dragons toilet. The hike out of Waipio Valley on the Z Trail is steep but not a lotta risk of falling off the edge because of the berms and vegetation. In many places though, you may as well be climbing stairs, it's that steep. Start early because, the sun. Once on top it's up and down, at least 8 water crossings, potentially as many as 11 if it's been raining. The hike down into Waimanu is steep, with a couple of narrow trail sections that when wet, are spooky, a wood off camber bridge is even spookier. The trail is full of mischievous little rocks that like to jump under your shoes when you're not looking. Lotsa slipping and sliding in the mud and leaves. Why do it? The valley is stunning, the beach is amazing; stay two nights and relax, it's worth it. But keep in mind, if the trail were a ski slope it's a black diamond. It can &%$# you up...