"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist, that is all."
Updated: March 22, 2016
Location: Starting in Moanalua Valley Park, an alternate route to the Stairway to Heaven. We headed back down the Middle Ridge looping the stairs.
Type: Forest/Ridge hike
Hike Difficulty: Advanced
Total Time: 9 to 10 hours round trip
Distance: ~ 14 miles
Elevation: ~2800 feet
Things to Consider
Your hiking backpack
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.
This hike has long been overdue for me, so when I heard about a group of hikers heading up to Haiku Stairs from Moanalua, I couldn't turn down the offer. First off, let me say that either way to Haiku Stairs, whether it is from Moanalua or from Kaneohe is strictly off limits. Hike at your own risk. This post is just for information purposes only. This hike is also extremely dangerous and should only be attempted with people who have been there before. We started our journey at 7am at the Moanalua Valley Park. I have been to the Kulanaahane Trail recently only to reach the summit, so I was pretty familiar with this area. However, on this day we would stop short of the cut off and take a right up the spur ridge towards the Tripler Ridge trail. After about half an hour or so, we took a right and headed up the spur ridge. Take your time here because it is all inclines until you reach Tripler. You do not want to be tired already for the long journey that lies ahead. After another half hour to 45 minutes, we finally reached Tripler! Tripler Ridge starts from behind the Tripler hospital, but access to the trail is pretty difficult or almost impossible. So this contour trail is another alternative. Tripler Ridge is long and tiring with all it's ups and downs on the ridge and false peaks. Although it isn't as difficult as I was expecting it to be, the ridge line is still pretty narrow and very overgrown in some parts. We reached the summit after about 4 and a half hours and took a nice lunch break at the top. However, this was not the end of our journey. We still had to head left onto the KST portion to reach Haiku. Along the way you pass two powerlines and an old satellite. The KST portion took about another hour with picture taking and breaks. Finally we reached the Moanalua Middle terminus which is marked with a sign. We then took a right instead of a left down the ridge to head towards the stairs. We reached the Satellite Station after about 6 hours. We spent some time exploring the stairs, checking out the saddle on the left and even went down a couple hundred steps. However, we didn't go down to far because we were all drained from the journey. And we still had to head all the way back down the middle ridge to our cars. The middle ridge is the easier way out of the other trails to get to Haiku, but it is by no means "easy"! There are a lot of steep rope sections and narrow ridge lines. The ropes are also becoming worn out due to all the foot traffic. The trail is also corroding and loose on some of the portions of the trail. The Haiku Stairs is one of the most beautiful views on the island, but heading from Moanalua is very dangerous and shouldn't be attempted by any novice hiker. Know your capabilities before hiking any trail. It took us about 3 hours to head back down the middle ridge and another 45 minutes of the gravel road. We finally reached our cars at about 530pm or almost 6pm. It took us just over 10 hours to complete this grueling but beautiful hike. Maybe gonna tackle Bowman or the Moanalua Saddle next time! Happy and safe hiking everybody!
We parked outside the parking lot just in case we didn't make it back in time.
Kamananui Valley Road is an easy loop hike through Moanalua Valley. Lots of sacred things here, which is why the H-3 wasn't built through this valley.
The long and grueling road to the ridge. It doesn't seem long on the way there, but on the way back will be dragging!
The spur ridge we took to Tripler Ridge.
Pig trails can be confusing! Follow the ribbons.
So awesome that we got to see the sun rise in the beginning of our hike!
And into the forest, the trail gets a little steep.
Finally reached the junction to Tripler. We took a left here. Heading right would lead you to the Tripler Hospital.
On the Tripler Ridge! Get ready for some crazy up and down adventures to the summit!
Looking out to the adjacent ridge on the left.
I think that's Aiea Ridge, but I could be wrong.
And now comes the ferns! Hope you have your pants!
Pretty cool part of the trail under a tree root.
Following Tripler Ridge.
The view of the destination. Still a long way to go!
Pushing through fern gully! The ferns are getting crazy.
We found a broken down tent. Camping spot perhaps?
And now the inclines and false peaks...
We seen a sign that says trail to end of road. Yeah after like a couple hours you will reach the road! A little deceiving I think.
Looking back towards the valley from the way we came.
Looks like were in for some fun.
Another look at the ridge on the left. Getting closer and closer to the summit.
Looking back at how far we've come. Tripler hospital is just a tiny speck in the distance.
The final climb to the summit! *Note: I hate the ropes connected across the whole trail. If you are on the wrong side, you need to cross over or fall of the side of the cliff!
Feeling accomplished at the Tripler summit! After about almost 5 hours of hiking.
We took a quick lunch break here. Just about a half hour or so.
After our quick break, we turned left and continued on our journey.
The KST portion gets really narrow with steep drop offs on both sides.
We passed two power lines on the way to Haiku.
Heading to the old satellite.
I wonder how this looked like back in the days when it was working?
Decided to climb to tower to get a better view.
And what an amazing view it was!
Looking back the way we came. Past the two power lines and even beyond.
Just a more couple uphill climbs to the Middle junction.
Heading left here goes down the Middle Ridge, heading right lead you to the Haiku Stairs. We chose the path on the right.
Left to Middle Ridge sign.
After about ten minutes, we reached the satellite and the stairs!
Tryna catch reception at the top of Haiku Stairs.
We went down a couple hundred stairs, but we were too tired to go too far down.
A cool stairway picture. The steepness of the stairs.
The view from up here never gets old.
We took a long break and took lots of pictures!
And by break I mean take a nap. Lol
Looking out towards the Moanalua Saddle. I will come back for you one day!
One last look at the satellite before heading back down Moanalua Middle to our cars.
The last third of our journey!
All down hill from here. Still a long way to go.
Going down the first rope section one at a time.
There are three rope sections on this ridge.
We waited our turn, one by one. Better safe than sorry.
Looking back at the major rope section. The ropes are fragile so don't put all your weight on it and go one at a time!
I gotta admit, this ridge has one of the most beautiful views on the island.
Getting closer and closer to civilization. Elevation constantly decreasing.
We took a quick break here before the final push
to the bottom through the forest section.
Last rope section. Not at bad as the first one.
Found a rock to sit on with a nice view.
Finally! After you cross the dry stream bed, its just the road back to your car. Just another 45 minutes to an hour.
For a more in depth write up of the Kamananui Valley Road,
check out the write up on the Kulanaahane Trail.
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