Wailupe Loop Trail

HARD 20 reviews

Wailupe Loop Trail is a 5.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near ʻĀina Haina, Hawaii that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and rock climbing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.3 miles
2,588 feet

dogs on leash


rock climbing




wild flowers



bridge out



old growth

over grown



washed out

Ths loop is very similar to Kulepeamoa Loop. Once you get to the Koolau Summit trail, turn left ad join up with the terminus of Wiliwilinui Ridge junction.

4 months ago

Long, difficult trail, but worth it if you enjoy 3'ish hour hikes. Unfortunately it was socked in with clouds at the top, so we didn't get a great view. Most days it'll be pretty cloudy fyi. That being said, if you get it on a nice day, you'll have a fantastic view of both south and east side from the top. There are a few ways to go around the loop and a couple trails that veer off the main one, so I'd recommend having a trail map up if you question which way to go at any point.

4 months ago

Probably the least trafficked trail I’ve been on that is still relatively close to town. Didn’t see a single person the entire time. Trail is well marked in both directions (whether you do clockwise or counter clockwise). There are bottle caps nailed to trees and ribbons tied to trees to show the way. You pass through a muddy ravine/small stream and then start the steep ascent up Wailupe ridge. It’s a pretty wide trail up until the last half mile to the KST junction and then there are fairly narrow sections. I’ve done this in both directions and I’m undecided on which is the better way.

11 months ago

Do not, I repeat DO NOT do this trail counter clockwise. My friend and I are very experienced hikers but it goes from bad to worse. It started with getting lost near a hunters camp (I think they took down the markers), progressed to a steep not well trod trail, and then on to chest high ferns on a super steep slope for the final two hour slog to the top. We kept discussing turning back, but figured the top couldn't be THAT much further and we really didn't want to redo the shitty trail. Trust me, it can get steepers, more overgrown, and harder to find. I uploaded two pictures from our hike. The trail was last maintained by the Hawaii Mountain Club in 2015 and the vegetation has really taken over. It took us 6 hours to do this 5.3 mile loop. The west leg of the trail, from the parking lot to the top of Wiliwilinui is well marked and very doable. But do not do the east leg of this trail unless you really enjoy the suck.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not hard, just steep, a little overgrown with uluhe in some areas, bring pants if you care about scratches, completed the loop in 2:50... look at my profile for pics!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Did the loop starting with the East route first...not sure if that is the best way,,,,just what I did. I did get off the path soon after making the turn to the east path, not as marked as well, that or I missed the mark. Did a little off trail hiking using the Alltrails app on the cell to get me back. The first portion of the east trail very steep and exposed, so be sure to have sunscreen.

After a while, you are in the shade and will be in the shade for the most part up to the summit of Wailupe. Got pretty steep right before the summit to Wailupe. Very little to no mud today, which was a welcome relief after the last few hikes I have done. Took the KST portion slow, and there is only 1 section on the KST that was tricky, wish there was a rope there.

On the way down which uses the Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail, I did not locate the right turn off going down back to finish the loop. Did a long section going down off trail where it was very steep down going from tree to tree. Using the app again saved me as I was finally able to locate the correct way down...still very steep down but much more manageable.

Final note on the east ridge getting to Wailupe, is seldom used and at parts a little overgrown. Not sure why it is not used more, is a really good climb. Bring tons of water, you will need it!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

A rarely use trail that traverses up Wailupe's middle ridge to the Koolau Summit. You gain about 2,400' in about 2 miles so yes, it can get quite steep. A lot of native plants. We did not do the loop, just out and back. Guaranteed a good workout.

Friday, August 12, 2016

While there wasn't many view points to look at the valley, mountains, or ocean, there's lots of creek views, tropical foliage, flowers, bamboo forest, tropical fruits, avocado, etc... Not really a hard hike (I made it back to the pine forest), but not easy. Lots of roots and rocks, some mud. I'd like to go if I have more time, go a bit further back.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

As a novice hiker, I will never do this hike again. I'm lucky to have made it out with only a few scrapes and bruises. From the beginning, we were worried. The entrance to the trail is right in someone's drive way. Once you enter, there is a fence covered in green tarp with graffiti all over it. If you persevere, you find yourself surrounded by beautiful bamboo, but that's where the fun stopped for us. It was practically a mosquito breeding ground. They ate good yesterday. They snacked through our repellant and our clothes. All of a sudden, the trail tags changed from pink to orange, then randomly purple. We felt okay because we were seeing tags, but we found ourselves rock climbing up an algae covered river bed (also chalk full of mosquitos and ants) and decided to turn around and found a halfhearted trail off to the side marked with orange tags. At this point we realized we were lost. We kept pushing as we lost daylight, and found ourselves hanging on for dear life off of the side of an almost vertical cliff. We jumped from tree to tree, hoping we don't fall onto the bed of slippery rocks below us. Thank goodness to whoever tied a rope to the trees deep in the forest. I have never been so happy to have my two feet planted on the ground again once we repelled down the rope. We pulled our maps out and headed south back to the trail head with thousands of bug bites, bloody arms, and a vow to never do this trail again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Great hike. Easy to find the trail head at the end of Hao St. I drove my moped here from town too :)
Surprisingly difficult when you start going up Wailupe Ridge. If you have rope, I'd bring it. I only did one hour up and one back but made it up pretty far! Great views and wild life (saw a Jackson's Chameleon right at the beginning).
The trail is well marked with pink ribbons and bottle caps.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Great hike. Difficult. Took me 6 hours.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Difficult, with a very steep ascent up Wailupe ridgeline. Koolau summit trail crossing involved, then a very steep descent. Took 6 hours.

1 month ago

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016