DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,322 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

muddy

old growth

over grown

no shade

3 months ago

Waiau Ridge could be a really great trail IF it was cleared/hiked regularly. I hiked this trail with the HTMC in May 2018. This trail is on a very tall ridge allowing beautiful sunny views of both the North and South coasts of Oahu, plus rare views of the Central Valley. It’s a bit of a roller coaster at first, including the Big Dip around mile 4. After that the trail starts a serious ascent to the summit. As usual, HTMC did a fantastic job clearing the first 3-4 miles. After that, we were able to follow, with difficulty, a very feint trail for maybe a half mile. After that, the trail completely disappeared, and we ended up bushwhacking through the tall scratchy ulule and moss-covered trees, scrambling to find our way up the steep ridge in the misty rain to reach the summit. Not pleasant. Several times we stopped to question whether it was a good idea to continue. Eventually, we made it there after several false summits. The skies cleared just long enough for us to see the sandbar and turquoise blue coastline of the windward side. Worth it? Yes! Three of us crossed over the Ko’olau Summit Trail to the north and hiked back out the Waimano Ridge trail. Crossover took about 20 minutes. The three other people in our group went back down the Waiau Ridge trail. All in all, this hike is difficult, but rewarding, and should definitely satisfy your sense of adventure for awhile.