Okolehao Trail

HARD 143 reviews

Okolehao Trail is a 4 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 but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,328 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

muddy

rocky

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.

1 day ago

enjoyable hike, however more so for the forest hike and than the view. it was interesting to see how the hill and soil is being held by the roots of the trees. the views are not that impressive. make sure to continue hiking after the viewpoint with the rope and bench because it is the most interesting part but also very slippery and muddy.

we do not consider that is a hard trail, except that it is muddy.

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful views! Moderate to Difficult due to mud and elevation gain - but worth it!

Took about 2.5 hours but we were booking it due to our friends having to catch a flight.

One of my favorite hikes I did in Kauai.

hiking
3 days ago

great hike! definitely challenging. it's currently very wet and muddy. a lot of roots and uneven ground. you will need to climb the roots of a tree to get to the overlook. someone was kind enough to tie a rope to help you up and down. a hiking pole would he very helpful! Aloha!

hiking
14 days ago

Definitely through the jungle & super duper muddy. Be sure to grab a stick on the way in. So many people didn’t and get slide the whole way. Jumping into the creek at the end was amazing! Not too much to see past the yellow bench but fun anyways! At the fork... turn around.

hiking
15 days ago

One of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done. Mud, streams of water, 2 ropes to climb steep descents, made this hike very painful. Yes, there are some views but hiking to no destination made this hike undesirable.

16 days ago

Would say it‘s more moderate than hard compared to some other trails classified as hard. No deep cliffs, not dangerous at all. Sometimes muddy and slippery of course and conditionally challenging. But easy to make it to the viewpoints. Tool us two hours to get to the second viewpoint and back. Nice view to Hanalei Bay.

hiking
21 days ago

Only got through half of it before deciding that in all the mud it would be way too sketchy coming back down. I would suggest very good boots and a stick if you are going.

1 month ago

gorgeous hike. a little muddy but nothing unusual for a North Shore hike...

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was extremely beautiful but the time it took and the mud was terrible. it was so slippery I fell and couldn't get up for 5 minutes because of how hard I slipped. very dangerous after rain. Don't bring children. very difficult :( would not recommend after rain

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is moderate the first 1.5 miles. Hard the 1.5 mi - 2.5 miles. Very Rigorous if you continue on to the ridges. Lots of guided ropes and plenty of fun, a true jungle experience. Felt like Tarzan. Gorgeous Panoramic views of half the island essentially!

1 month ago

This trail is well-maintained, easy to follow, and offers beautiful views. When we hiked this morning there was plenty of mist that kept us cooled off. The entire trail was muddy but with a walking stick it was completely manageable. Highly recommended.

trail running
1 month ago

Mostly shaded and very wet and muddy after some rain. Agree with Albert about turning at 1.75 mile marker although I found the views to be pretty decent, especially after the bench.

I ended up bailing just before the second roped descent as the views didn’t look as though they’d improve.

After you get back have a wash in the stream - take a left after the bridge and a few 100m down the bank there’s an easy place to jump in and wash your legs and shoes.

Would love to come back on a drier day and try and push to the actual summit beyond this trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing scenery

2 months ago

It was average in awesomeness. The views were nice: you can see the ocean from elevation. Regarding difficulty: I would say it is moderate it was quite doable for my fiancé and me.

I would recommend hiking to the aloha bench and then turn around (about 1 mile in). It has a nice view there. After that the trail is really overgrown and the views don’t change that much. We turned around at about 1.75 miles as it was getting boring for the steepness and bushes that itch your arms and legs. Other hikers said at about 2 miles it was “sketchy” with lots of roaped parts to climb.

2 months ago

Comparative to other hikes I have taken on the island this trail doesn't have the most beautiful views. Though there are a few great lookouts, a majority of the trail is covered in brush. The brush gets so thick both my husbands legs and my legs were pretty scratched up at the end. The trail was muddy which we full anticipated, but would have been more rewarding had it been more scenic. On the plus side, the roped areas were fun, there were many wildflowers, the bench lookout has a good overview of Hanalei, and it was challenging hike on the north side of the island where we were staying. My advice would be to just hike to the bench if you are looking for views, after that it was pretty much purely exercise.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun but difficult hike. Climbing up the whole way. Gets very muddy and slippery so be careful as the trail gets narrow. Stunning views. Specially at Last Light.

2 months ago

Nice and muddy ! Easy way up to the famous trees! Both our french canadian families liked to be in the forest and dirty, without mosquitoes. Nice views up there !

hiking
2 months ago

Very muddy at some parts of the hike, parts with steep inclines . The view at the top is very nice , definitely worth the effort.

hiking
2 months ago

Very slippery, especially at the upper end near the 1.75 mi marker. A great challenging hike

2 months ago

My 9 old girl and I had one of the most amazing and tough adventures of our lives. I’m super proud and impressed with her skills and mental fortitude. Went to very top of twin peaks. 7 miles total round trip and 2,500 feet of climbing. It took us 6 hours. It rained on and off all day so the entire trail was super muddy and very slick. There are at least 12 ropes and one section, near the top, is about 100 feet and super steep. The hard sections require serious fitness as they are near vertical rock/mud cliff creations. Wouldn’t recommend if it is raining or you aren’t fit and up for a serious all day adventure. There are some very tough and sketchy parts where the tread is maybe a foot wide and several thousand foot drop offs on either side. One wrong step and it’s bye bye for a long ways... If you have a fear of heights pick another hike. The views on top are totally mind blowing. Would I do it again? Hell yes, but not when it’s raining or has been wet the previous few days.

trail running
3 months ago

Super fun if you are not afraid of mud and going through narrow paths, it is very slippery, so use good hiking shoes, (also put some mosquito repellent) it’s is not an easy trail, take your time and take some water, I encounter lots of toads on the trail, There is a tree that the bark is soft to the touch look for it it’s fun to touch it, there is some ropes that you need to use to climb to the top , watch your step it’s slippery , the views are fantastic, the vegetation is amazing, the toads are funny , they like the trail and jump to the side when they hear you, enjoy the trail have fun!

hiking
3 months ago

This was a blast but very difficult. You will get scratched up and bruised up. I’m a professional ballerina and the people that came with me are all very fit and in our 20’s. We were able to do it just fine but we were so sore the next day. The whole trail only gets more and more scary as you keep going. It’s very slippery. Make sure your hiking shoes have very pointy bottom soles so they can grip the mud. I would suggest you bring hiking gloves because we all made the mistake of climbing with our bare hands. The view is fantastic the whole time even when you’re in shaded spots it’s still beautiful. Lots of pretty flowers and even berries! There was a landslide on the opposite side of the path that my sister thought was the trail going down. Do not make that mistake, your body knows when you’re on something you’re not supposed to be on. It should be hard but not impossible. We are so proud of ourselves. If you’re not super fit just do the first half, it’s really beautiful and easy.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful views.

4 months ago

if you take this trail to the very end, it is quite difficult but an extraordinary payoff. There are ropes attached to the rock walls to help you up and down various parts of the last third of the hike. Only for the very adventurous and fit.

hiking
6 months ago

If it has rained, be warned, this trail is slippery and at times steep. I would only recommend this hike to the ambitious and sure footed athlete - if that's you, then this is a beauty of a ridgeline.

hiking
6 months ago

This was a really fun trail. Slippery in spots and rope climbs are a bit dicey but as long as you’re in shape you’ll be fine. Don’t stop at the cell tower, keep going up to the bench for the view. It’s not very difficult until after the bench. If you keep going, there are a few spots where you get great views of Hanalei Bay and the valley behind you. We hiked a little over 2 miles in and turned around, as we were not prepared for a longer hike. However, it would have been about another 1.5 hours to the highest peak. Still, we got great views and a good workout. Definitely wear trail shoes if it’s wet.

hiking
6 months ago

This was an extremely muddy and wet trail that led to so-so views. Not sure they were much better than the overlooks. I would spend my time elsewhere in the north shore. That said it's a good calf burner and quick if you only go to the electrical tower and turn back.

hiking
7 months ago

Very steep, but a great challenge!

hiking
7 months 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.

7 months 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.

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