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Pu'u Ma'eli'eli


"When you're feeling down, the only way to go is up a mountain!"

Updated: October 24 2016

Location: Located in Kaneohe next to the Ko'olau Shopping Center. The trail head is right across from the Valley of The Temples.

Type: Forest/Bunker hike

Hike Difficulty: Beginner

Total Time: 1 to 2 hours

Distance: ~2 miles round trip

Elevation: ~500 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: yes
  • Pet Friendly: yes
  • Also know as "Digging Hills" which is the English equivalent to the name.
  • This hike is great for a sunset. The sun sets right over the water in clear view from the bunker.
  • This trail has a minor steep hill in the beginning so be prepared for a sweat.
  • There are a lot of side trails, but just stay on the main trail and don't venture off and you'll get to your destination.
  • This hike has two bunkers, with the second bunker having the nicest view.
  • This hike can get muddy at times since it is in Kaneohe. Be careful as going up and down the hill can be slippery.
  • Watch the planes circling around in training from Kaneohe Bay. Only certain times of the day.
  • There a lot of good food spots at the shopping center for post hike grinds.

Your hiking backpack

  • 1 Liter of water
  • Snacks/lunch (at McDonalds)
  • Extra clothes (if it's raining)
  • GoPro camera


Take the H3, Likelike, or Pali towards Kaneohe. Continue onto Kamehameha Hwy towards the Valley of The Temples. Take a right and park by Mcdonalds. To get to the trail head, go to the main road and walk along the guard rail. The trail head will be marked with a ribbon in between some trees. You will know you are on the right trail if you are heading up a steep and muddy hill.

Our Journey

This is a fun and short hike to do. I've done this hike many times, with big groups, small ones, to watch the sunset, to watch the planes flying over, etc. The first time I did this hike, I got lost. I took some wrong trails and it lead me down a different path. You must stay on the main path and don't go venturing off onto the other trails. Most of them lead to nowhere. There are a lot of forks in the trail, but if you follow the most wide and obvious one, you will be on the right track. There are two bunkers, of which you can explore inside. Beware that one of them is a room for the homeless and you can see his belongings inside. This was a while ago, I'm not sure about the current situation. Another time I went, there was also a bee hive right by the second bunker where the black trash bag was. I'm not sure if this is still there either, but take precaution on this hike. Try not to go after a heavy rain, because the steep hill can get slippery and there is nothing on the side or branches to hold on to. One of the cool parts of the hike is you get to hike through the giant Hau Tree tangles. If you are a hiker, you hate Hau tangles unless there is a direct path through them. After that, there's another hill and then you'll see the Pu'u Maelieli sign. You can see the first bunker shortly after. Continue on for about 5 more minutes to come out on top of the second bunker with a view of Kaneohe Bay! The views are amazing for such a short hike. You can watch the planes circling around doing their training. Definitely a hike to do if you're in Kaneohe.






















The view of the start of the trail off the main road.






















The trail can be a little muddy and sometimes you need to "dig" you fingers into the mud to climb up. The hill is fairly steep.






















And continue up the hill. Nothing to hold onto on either side.






















The trail is fairly easy to follow. Just continue on the main path, and don't take any side trails. There are a lot of forks in the trail, but you can tell which is the main trail.





























This is the cool part, into the forest!






















After the forest will be another hill.






















Soon after you climb the steep hill,  you reach the sign.





























Pu'u Ma'eli'eli: Also known as "Digging Hills".





























This is the first bunker. You can go in, but not much of a view from here. Continue on down the path to the second bunker.






















Inside the second bunker.






















And there it is! The end of your short journey.






















The view of Kaneohe Bay is amazing!






















This is the view right before a sunset!






















You can see all the way to Kailua, even China Man's Hat in the distance.






















You can watch the planes flying around, practicing their training.


























Spreading a little aloha.






























I had a get a closer look. The view was amazing.






























Taking one last look before heading back.

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