"When all else fails, learn from the experience and move on. The world must move forward, and it will do so with or without you."
Updated: October 15, 2016
Location: Starting at the famous Crouching Lion Hike in Kaaawa, this intense loop is definitely one for the books.
Type: Forest/Ridge hike
Hike Difficulty: Advanced
Total Time: 8 hours round trip
Distance: ~ 4 miles
Elevation: ~2100 feet
Things to Consider
Your hiking backpack
Take the H-3 towards Kaneohe and head to Kaaawa using the Kahekili Hwy. Follow Kamehameha Hwy all the way towards Kahana Bay. Pass the Crouching Lion Inn and you will see parking on the right side by the water. We parked closer to Trout Farm Road as this will be where we will end up at the end of our hike. Cross the street and head up through the forest to reach the Crouching Lion Mini Hike.
This is definitely one of my favorite hikes on the island, due to the adrenaline rush you feel from being on the skinny ridges and the beautiful views of Kahana Bay. I have done this hike many times before, but this would be my first time completing the whole loop. We had a big group with us this time and I was very eager to complete it this time. Everybody seem very enthusiastic in the beginning, but the would hate me in the end of the hike. Not only were we not prepared for over 8 hours of hiking, but the dense Uluhe ferns also slowed our pace down. I had no idea that it would be that bad, and that's why I didn't want to go through Kahekili again. Last time I did the Kahekili/Manamana Loop, once you pass the waterfall, it is non-stop Uluhe Ferns all the way until you reach the junction! I thought this route would be better but I was wrong. Once you pass the two notches, the views disappear and the forest becomes dense. Continue straight past the first junction. Heading left would lead you to Kahekili and you can see the intense Uluhe on that route. Past this, it is fern gully. The route was gruesome until finally reaching the next junction. If you go straight, you will end up heading down a 600 foot drop to True Manamana, one of the craziest hikes on the island. A group ahead of us took that route and were lost. We yelled out to them to come follow us to the right to head down the correct ridge. We must've saved all their lives that day! Heading down Cemetary Ridge is also crazy. Although it was a fun experience, I don't think I will ever take that route again. The views are boring, actually there are no views. Just forest the whole way down. The only fun part would be heading down a steep and thin ridge if you're into that kind of stuff. What I thought would be a 5 to 6 hour hike, ended up being an 8 hour hike. We were beat, tired, dirty, angry, sore, and everything else you could possibly think of. But we made it! Not many people can say they have completed the loop and the feeling of accomplishment made it worth it for me. I'm not sure if my fellow hikers felt the same way, but I'm glad we all made it out safe. Another crazy hike to add to the books.
We parked on the left and crossed the street to begin our journey.
This is the entrance to both the Crouching Lion mini hike and the Pu'u Manamana loop.
It's just a short ten minutes through the forest and then the view opens up!
This was a great spot to take a picture.
Short and steep in the beginning.
The Crouching Lion rock! At the fork, you can take a left to get a closer look or head right to the ridge to Pu'u Manamana.
Heading up to the ridge which they will all remember for the rest of their lives!
We found a cool spot to take a picture and a break.
Crazy views the whole way up! Some rock climbing skills are required.
Steep drops on the left!
Take the time to look back and you will be amazed at how fast you gain elevation!
Finally at the top, but the hike has just begun!
Continue on to head towards Pu'u Manamana!
You will gain a little more elevation and the ridge will start to get narrow.
And by narrow, I mean one of the skinniest ridges on the island!
This ridge, is by far, one of my favorites for its views and the
adrenaline rush it gives you.
Don't attempt if you are afraid of heights!
Crawl if you need to!
Steep drops on both sides, over a thousand feet!
Heading down the first notch.
Looking back from the first notch, you can see how narrow the ridge really is!
Looking down towards Kaaawa, soaking up the views.
And were back into the forest. It only gets harder from here.
The cross to pay respect to the person who died here.
Heading down the second notch one by one.
I think the second notch wasn't as bad as the first one.
This was the second notch.
After the notch the hike gets horrible. Be prepared for a dense forest adventure.
The trail was pretty thin at some parts.
And into the deep brush. The trail is very overgrown.
Into fern gully. We all got scratched up pretty bad.
We finally reached the first junction. Heading left leads to Kahekili, we continued on to the right.
Continue on and you will soon reach another junction.
Somebody left some toilet paper here in case of emergency I guess.
Never ending fern and brush!
Once you reach the next junction, take a right. Heading straight will lead you to True Manamana, which is one of the craziest hikes on this island.
True Manamana is shrouded in clouds in the distance. You can see the steep drop that is almost impossible to do without harnesses and webbing.
The ridge heading back down is called Graveyard/Cemetary Ridge.
This ridge is really steep and narrow and you lose elevation really fast.
This was a cool spot to take a picture. The only spot where you could relax without worrying about falling off the side of the ridge.
And the ferns continue for most of the way down.
You can see how steep the ridge is.
We almost out! Another hour or so down this death ridge. Lol
Crawling is sometimes necessary.
You can see how narrow the ridge is.
There aren't any views for most of the way down, because of all the trees.
A small view though the trees. A relief to see we're almost out of this forest!
Finally the forest opens up! However, the ferns still follow you all the way down.
And we're down! Be aware you're gonna pass through an old graveyard, thus the name of the ridge.
It's interesting how these graves are still here after all the decades.
The trail kind of disappears at this point and
we just continued through until we reached the road.
And we found the way out finally!
We passed through this open grassy area.
We have reached Old Trout Road. What a relief!
Just follow the road out and turn right. You'll reach your car in ten minutes.
Our happy group picture 8 hours later! Muddy, cut up, and drained. However, you have the feeling of accomplishment of completing a trail that not too many can say they have done. Cheers to that!
Here's a video of the Pu'u Manamana Hike! It's not the whole loop, but you can see how the hike is up to the notch! Check it out!
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