Kulana'ahane Trail


"Sometimes good things fall apart, so that better things can fall together."

Updated: March 28, 2016

Location: Starting from Moanalua Valley Park, a nice stroll to an epic view if the clouds haven't rolled in.

Type: Forest/ridge hike

Hike Difficulty: Intermediate

Total Time: 5 to 6 hours

Distance: 10 miles


Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: no
  • Pet Friendly: no
  • This hike is a stroll in the park until you reach the Kulanaahane Trail. It goes from easy (the gravel road) to intermediate (the forest trail) to intense (climb up to the KST). Know your limits and only go as far as you are capable of.
  • This hike is easy to follow and has a lot of trail markers to lead you.
  • Starts from the Kamananui Road and crosses the stream countless times.
  • The lookout was covered in clouds when we reached the top because we went during heavy rains the night before. It was even raining when we went. However, we got to see the waterfall that is usually dry.
  • You may go during a heavy rain to see the waterfall, or go during a bright sunny day to see the view at the end. There is also a sick swimming hole along the trail if it is flowing.
  • The park closes at 7pm so park your car outside the parking lot if you are not sure if you will make it back in time to avoid getting your car locked in the gate. Park is open from 7am-7pm.
  • The Kulanaahane Trail can be a bit overgrown, so bringing pant is preferred. Lots of ferns heading up the ridge to the KST.

Your hiking backpack

  • 2 to 3 Liters of water
  • Snacks/lunch
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • GoPro camera


Take the H-2 Freeway towards Aiea/Moanalua. Then take the exit towards Red Hill/Moanalua Valley. Continue onto Moanalua Road and then turn left onto Ala Aolani St. Follow the road all the way til the end to get to the valley park. Walk on the paved road from Moanalua Valley Park which is the Kamananui Trail. The spur ridge to Tripler Ridge will be on the right.

Our Journey

Our first plan was to hike Pu'u Hapapa in Schofield. However, they had training in the field so the gate was locked. Another hike that I have been wanting to do was the back way to Stairway to Heaven, however it was already too late to start that one. It was already 11am and time was not on our side. We decided to do the Kulanaahane Trail at the last minute. I wanted to scope it out because I have never done any of the hikes in Moanalua as of yet. Since it had been raining for the past couple of days, I figured we would be able to see the waterfall in Moanalua Valley which can only be seen after a heavy rain. We finally reached the trail at about 1pm. We couldn't decide on a hike! We parked inside the gate, which was a bad idea. The park closes at 7pm so if you're not back before the gate closes you're locked in for the night. So it took about 3 hours to 3 and a half hours to make it up the the summit. It took about one hour to reach the Kulanaahane sign, it took about another hour to get to the "end of maintained trail sign, and depending on your pace, another hour to an hour and a half up the ridge to the summit. The ridge seems so straightforward and close, but it is a grueling uphill battle through some dense Uluhe ferns. We finally made it to the top and the view was covered with clouds! Did I also mention that it started pouring rain as soon as we passed the "end of maintained trail" sign? It probably took us twice as long to get up the ridge because it was so slippery. We could see the immense waterfall in the distance and I know I will be back next time to get a closer view. We only spent a short time at the summit, because with no view and the sun fading fast, we had to hurry back as soon as possible. We reached the gravel road just before dark, and about half an hour on the road we were walking in the dark with our flashlights. We reached the gate at 7:10pm and it was locked! I mean really??? Ten minutes! There is no number to call for the security guard either. Luckily somebody passed by and gave one of my friends a lift to go get his other car. Sadly for him, he had to come back tomorrow morning to pick up his other car. What an epic adventure for sure! Heading right from the lookout leads to the Moanalua Saddle and heading left leads to Aiea Ridge and Red Hill Ridge. I am definitely coming back to see the waterfall up close and to tackle the saddle. This isn't a difficult hike, but plan your time wisely and expect to take well over 5 hours.




























Check out the Tripler to Haiku blog for more pictures on parking.






















The Kamananui Valley Road is an easy rocky road with very little inclines. Pretty much a straightforward walk crossing the stream countless times.






















Lots of history in this valley. Take the time to read the signs for more info on the valley.





























The trail sometimes splits, one over the stream and one below crossing it.

Either route still leads you to your destination.






















We reached this nice open area where you could see the mountains on both sides!

Nice spot to stop if you have to.






















You can see the ridges leading all the way to the summit.






















Spotted some Uluhe ferns here, but the road is wide and very well maintained.






















Just an easy stroll, almost to the Kulanaahane Trail.






















Finally after about an hour, we reached the sign!





























This would be the last time the group we be smiling for the rest of the hike.

It only gets worse from here! Lol






















Lots of crazy Hau tangles on the Kulanaahane Trail. It almost doesn't look like a trail at some parts. But keep an eye out for the ribbons.





























Into the jungle! What a cool path!





























We found this hidden gem. Definitely a sick spot if it is flowing!





























The water was so clear! It was amazing just relaxing at this spot.






















Crossing the final stream. Following the stream would lead you to the waterfall.






















End of maintained trail. It gets more difficult from here.

Constant inclines to the top of the summit.






















Get ready for ferns and inclines the whole way up!






















It seems so close, but yet so far! Prepare to sweat!






















We could see the waterfall in the distance.

I am definitely going back one day for a closer look.






















Breaking a sweat already heading up this ridge!






















After about an hour, we finally made it up the ridge!





























Too bad there was no view though. It would've been a nice view if it was sunny.





























Up to the left, it was the Moanalua Saddle, but it was covered in clouds.






















We put a ribbon up by the tree. Go check it out if it's still there!




























We headed back down in the dark, but what a journey! Another epic hike!

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