Pu’u Eke & Pu’u O Umi Forest Reserve

HARD 14 reviews

Pu’u Eke & Pu’u O Umi Forest Reserve is a 5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Waimea, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

5.0 miles
2047 feet
Out & Back




nature trips

off road driving






wild flowers





old growth

over grown


washed out

no dogs

The oldest of the five major volcanic structures on the Big Island of Hawaii, the mist-shrouded Kohala Mountains house a wonderland of dense tropical forest, magnificent waterfalls and spectacular canyons, to mention a few of the many features. Pu'u Eke is a hill of about 5088 feet in the Pu'u O Umi Forest Reserve. This trail can lead on to Pu'u Kaumo O Kaleihoohie the second highest point in the North Kohala mountains (although this is how the puu is named on current topo maps the Hawaiian translation would indicate that it would be Kuamo'o kalei o'ohie which translates to "road to a grand view"). From that you can also continue to traverse the Kohala Summit trail onto Pu'u O Umi - the highest point in the range.

5 months ago

Took us 7.5 hours / 6.5 miles, although we did take our time in the beginning, and we had our 2.5 year old.

I DO NOT recommend doing the forest. Until then, it was a pleasant uphill climb on green pastureland with beautiful scenery of 3 volcanoes. Moderate difficulty, with a few steep parts.

Once in the forest, though, it quickly got more difficult. Narrow, rocky, muddy trail not maintained well. We pushed forward, wanting to reach the destination / turn-around point provided by Alltrails. It got even worse, more muddy (even though it's been a relatively dry winter and no rain recently), and we lost the trail a few times. My wife even fell backward into a deep puddle and was soaked with mud. We finally got to the destination -- and there was nothing there! No lookout point, just more forest. We did enjoy sitting in the cushy moss having lunch in the shade, but it was underwhelming to say the least, especially given how hard we worked.

We tried to take the trail going down, and it veered northwest, which was ok with us, as long as we were on a trail and ideally not the one we came up on. But we eventually lost it, which meant lots of bushwacking through dense brush. Fortunately, we had my GPS to navigate back out of the forest to a hole in the fence to the pastureland, took some ladders over barbed wire fence, and all the way back down (well, actually, we were lucky to hitch a ride in the back of a pick-up for much of it).

While it was scenic and quite an adventure, I do not recommend going into the forest or spending much time there. I wish this was clearer to us.

8 months ago

Went up on a super clear morning which was nice for a view 100% of the time but somewhat scorching hot as the breeze was minimal and no shade for about 2 hours hiking up the hill. (I was training with a large backpack which slowed me down some and I suspect most people without a heavy pack on would make it up faster).

Once we made it to the tree line, my big black pooch, and I saw a boar and a few hunters. We didn't want to get caught in the middle of anything and quickly got away from the area back down the hill. So beware of that, especially if you have a dog that could be mistaken for a black boar or that gets lost on hikes chasing after pigs or their smells. I'd do this again, maybe without the dog and earlier in the day to avoid the heat. Didn't make it to a waterfall or anything other than the tree line. Great views.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Late afternoon walk to the tree line. Got there at sunset and back to the truck just before dark. Nice views.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Don't get me wrong - this was a great hike. However, somewhere along the way I believed there would be a great view from the top but that reward was elusive due to the low tree canopy, even though the weather was clear. The abrupt change about half way up from hiking pastureland to the moist forest bog was welcome and intriguing. The trail was muddy, however, and I found myself going knee deep in it a few times. Something better than the running shoes I was wearing would be advised. Despite being marked with flagging, it seemed easy to lose the trail, especially when searching for firm footing. Not a risk really of getting seriously lost, but if you lost the trail it could be a long and uncomfortable hike out.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

This trail is about 6 miles return. The first segment is a 4WD across the neighboring grassland to the Pu'u O Umi Forest Reserve. Then it is a hike along the forest fence line to the second a-frame stile for access to the trail. Once on the trail, it is a good adventure through the pristine Ohia to get to the top. It is a cloud montane bog with lots of lichen and moss. The Ohia are one of the tallest around and the views across the "bowls" to Kaumo and Umi are majestic.

Watch out for the rolling fog that makes its way in after noon. You will need a compass due to poor visibility. Start early so that you can get in and back out before it rolls in. This trail is a favorite of local hunters, so watch out for wild boar. All in all, there are beautiful views of Mauna Kea, Hualalai, and even Haleakala from here.

15 days ago

recorded muddy

1 month ago

6 months ago

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saturday, October 12, 2013