Okolehao Trail

HARD 96 reviews

Okolehao Trail is a 4.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hanalei, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1305 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

muddy

scramble

Also dubbed Hanalei River Trail and Hihimanu Trail, this ridgeline ascent behind Hanalei offers a one-of-a-kind behind the curtains view of the valley and the ocean beyond. After a few hundred yards of mild forest meandering the trail turns left and thus begins a challenging half-mile climb to the first vista, a clearing next to an electrical tower that gives a taste of what visual splendor awaits those who proceed. For many, this initial climb and view may suffice. For those who wish to venture on, the hike tames down a bit, following the ridgeline. Close to the one mile mark look for the notable tree known as "Woody." Keep climbing another 5-10 minutes and you reach the second flat plateau with sweeping views of Hanalei Bay, Hanalei Pier, the Kilauea Lighthouse, Princeville, the taro fields you left behind, and Bali Hai. For the truly adventurous, the trail continues on and after the 1.5 mile mark turns into a rope-assisted climb (literally) of Hihimanu Ridge (Kauais Twin Peaks)... often with significant mud. This last section is arduous, can be dangerous, and should only be attempted by experienced hikers who dont have a fear of heights. At the end of the Okolehao Trail is another plateau and you see everything you did before plus the Hanalei River coming out of the mountain valley and a close up view of all the mountains including Waialeale. In total you can see 1/5 of the entire island. The trail can be muddy and slick if it has rained at all in the last few days, so be sure to grab a walking stick at the trailhead from the pile near the bridge. If planning on doing the entire climb, itd be wise to start early and bring plenty of water. The round trip hike should take around 4-5 hours if moving at a decent pace.

hiking
5 days ago

This trail is not for the faint of heart. If you take the trail all the way to the ‘summit’ you are in for an incredibly intense, somewhat dangerous but totally rewarding experience.
After hiking a few of the more heavily trafficked trails on the island, I really wanted to find something off the beaten path. There are a couple of nice lookouts but the overwhelming majority of the hike is dense, barely ‘manicured’ jungle. The trail feels more like a deer trail in that it is no more than 1’ wide and completely overgrown at most points.
Once you get to about the 1.75 mark you will start seeing knotted ropes strung on trees to help with ascent/descent. The reason this hike is so difficult is because the last .8ish miles is extremely difficult in comparison. You have to pull yourself up near vertical mud/rock faces using the aforementioned ropes, one after the other. You are literally climbing to the top of the mountain!
Getting down was definitely the most uneasy I’ve ever felt on a hike. Really scary and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think to myself ‘am I going to make it down in one piece?'
Do not attempt the summit if it is raining, if it looks like it might rain, or if it's rained in the last day or two. Also bring way more water than you think you need.

12 days ago

Amazing hike! Must wear work gloves and good boots. Requires upper body strength for pulling yourself up ropes on steep, slippery slopes. I went in late January after a week or two with no rain and it was still VERY muddy and slippery. Be careful on this one. in the end, the view from the top is absolutely unbeatable and totally worth the strenuous hike.

22 days ago

Was very fun. A bit challenging where muddy but helped to have our walking poles with us. We didn’t get to the end due to time constraints and had to turn back shortly after completing 3km (according to my gps).

hiking
24 days ago

Great difficult hike. View is really great. I would recommand gloves if you plan on doing the whole trail since the ropes can be slippery and rough on your hands.

1 month ago

Awesome trail with a challenging course after 1.25 mile. Worth it!!

1 month ago

Beautiful once you reach the top, DONT GO IN THE RAIN, unless you bring a sled to get back down! Very slippery and steep to track back down the trail.

1 month ago

Exceptional views. Tough hike. Tougher when it rains. But like most hard hikes, you get perspectives of Hawaii that most people never will.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is not easy and is quite muddy due to recent rain. But the trip is definitely worth the view!

1 month ago

I went yesterday (did the whole hike) It is very slippery this time of year but worth it. Wear steel cleets if you can get ahold of em. Swag

hiking
1 month ago

I would like to say that it was a great trail. We did go right after a light rain. Bad idea.

The trail is very, very muddy. Not recommended for beginners.

We went past the bench and then on another 10 minutes. Returning back down is a treacherous walk with mud. One of our hikers slipped and fell and broke her wrist. I sit in the ER as I write my review.

Do not hike it if rain is recent.

hiking
5 months ago

the bench is past the first look out point with the electric wires. it is worth it to make it up to the bench which I believe is about a mile in. the path is easy to follow. if you want to go past the bench, the path becomes much smaller and steeper as you ascend and descend. there are ropes along the way that help tremendously. there was no mud when I went and the hike was hard, but enjoyable. you have many good views along the way. I cant imagine how difficult it would be in the mud as the paths can become quite narrow and very steep at parts.

total distance in 2.5 miles. I did the 5 miles round trip in about 4 hours including stopping for pictures and water breaks.

hiking
5 months ago

If you plan to venture to the very end of this trail. Plan on bringing good mud shoes, plenty of water, and gloves for the ropes...
It's decently better if it hasn't rained for a couple of days...
It's a great and challenging trail!

hiking
6 months ago

We made it past the bench and up 8 ropes. Wish we had more water so we could have gone farther, but we enjoyed hiking this trails for 4 hours. Would go again in a heartbeat!!

hiking
6 months ago

It was really strenuous on the way up. I am so thankful that I had trekking poles! It started raining when I got to the bench so I didn't go past the bench but I'd do it again!

hiking
7 months ago

I started this hike with considerable trepidation. I'm 65 -in good shape for my age, but no Ironman. I had meniscus surgery 10 weeks ago. Hiking solo -yeah, I know that isn't the best idea, but all my young relatives declined, and finally went home yesterday. But, it was a great adventure.

I was fortunate that it had hardly rained in the past seven days. I STRONGLY advise against this hike if it has rained recently. Downright dangerous. Even without recent rain I can guarantee you will slip at least once.

The first 1/3 of the hike is moderate -to about Mile 1.5. Then it becomes strenuous.I recommend long pants. Fortunately, I had along convertible pants, and added the lower legs at Mile 1.75. You need at least medium tread. Some other hikers had jogging shoes. One had Tevas. I'd advise something a tad sturdier, if you have it.

I didn't actually quite make it to the end. I'm pretty sure I was very close, but there was one very long rope climb left, and I figured I had seen what I wanted to see. Besides, I was concerned about my knee on the trip back down.

Allowing 15 minutes more to finish would have made the trip 6 hours at a steady pace. I saw that AllTrails introduction said "4-5 hours." Well, maybe. Seems skimpy to me. I was moving at a pretty good pace. It isn't easy to hurry; there are just too many obstacles. Sounds like a long time to do just 4.1 miles each way, but it's not an easy hike.

But, quite recommended.

7 months ago

Lovely trail, steadily steep for quite a while, semi-torturous. Beautiful views. If you want to get to the bench: at power line, face back towards the trail you came in on, and take the main trail to the right. It's about 20 more minutes. Really nice up there.

7 months ago

Went looking for the bench that no longer exists, but had a great time!

hiking
8 months ago

Lots of uphill getting there, but the vistas are worth it!! Make sure it's been sunny for a full 2 days, or the mud may inhibit your ability to even get started. It will definitely make doing the entire hike a dangerous prospect.

To the resting bench: Great hike with dogs - if you don't have a pup, borrow one from the ASPCA for a field trip you'll both enjoy!

If you go to the very end at the twin peaks, have a hiking buddy (and no dog) because the ropes/cables can be tricky. Also, they are much easier going up than coming down in my experience. Gloves are helpful for the downhill climbs. Every view point is better than the last, but you really have to earn each one. The rim portions can be very narrow - I slipped off the edge once, thinking I was stepping in shrubbery overgrown on the path. It takes longer than you may expect, so plan accordingly.

8 months ago

My husband and I really enjoyed this trail. It's very steep for the first half mile, then becomes a series of inclines and declines after the first lookout. I'm not sure it needs the "hard" designation though - it was about the same level of toughness as most of the other trails we did while on Kauai.

While the first lookout is beautiful (save for the power lines in the middle of the view), it's gets far better along the way.

Also, for any women planning to hike, I recommend longer pants. Most of the path is shaded, but there are a number of narrow passages with sharp brush.

9 months ago

Great view spots. Not too hard of a trail. 2 hours up, 1 down.

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