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Pu'u Ohulehule


"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."

Updated: February 3, 2016

Location: The pyramid shaped mountain located deep in Kahana Valley. This difficult hike has one of the most epic views on the island!

Type: Forest/Ridge hike

Hike Difficulty: Advanced

Total Time: 7 to 8 hours

Distance: 8 miles

Elevation: ~2200 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: no
  • Pet Friendly: no
  • There are two routes up, from the Southeast and Northwest. We took the traditional route up the Northwest ridge from Kahana Valley.
  • Watch out for flash floods because the reservoir on the second stream crossing can get up to waist deep.
  • This trail can be really muddy so be prepared to get dirty. Bring extra clothes.
  • Bring long pants and long sleeves. The Uluhe ferns here is way overgrown and will slash your legs up!
  • Prepare for a long and brutal hike! This is not for a beginner hiker.
  • Follow the trail and DO NOT venture off on indistinct trails. The forest is very confusing and easy to get lost.
  • Bring ribbons or markers. The forest and the summit portion have no markers so you may have a hard time following the path if you do not know where you are going.
  • Most of the elevation gain is in the last 600 feet of the hike. Prepare for major inclines and rope climbing.
  • Go early because heading back down through the forest in the dark is almost impossible.

Your hiking backpack

  • Bug spray
  • 3 Liters of water
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Gloves
  • Flash light
  • Trail markers
  • GoPro
  • Extra clothes
  • Towel


Head onto Kamehameha Hwy from Kaneohe heading to Haaula side. Once you pass the Crouching Lion Inn, you will see the Kahana Bay Beach Park. Take a left here and pass the first parking lot. You can park in the second parking lot next to the bathrooms. Also take a look at the map for more details before starting the hike.

Our Journey

This hike was one of the hardest hikes I've done thus far. Not because of risking your life on a skinny ridge, but because of the length of the hike and lack of trail markers. This trail is not easy, and the Uluhe ferns also play a special role in taxing your body. The last 600 feet of the hike also gains the most elevation. So you are almost there, but your strength is already gone from the battle with the dense Uluhe ferns.

Heading through the Nakoa trail in Kahana Valley is the easy part. After you pass the tire swing and cross the first reservoir, you will see an entrance on the left side. There is a sign there and just head through the forest at this point. Through the forest is really confusing and there are three stream crossings. The second one, supposedly being waist deep during the rainy season. I was lucky enough to wade through only knee high water the time that we went. We also put up trail markers while we were going through the forest so it would be easier for us on the way back.

Once you're out of the forest, you will encounter dense Uluhe ferns, and I mean way overgrown! Then you enter a bamboo forest, and head up the hill on the right. We also got lost at this point and went straight. We put a orange ribbon up for the part where you turn right. Then the whole trail is ferns, ferns, and more ferns. They don't seem to bother you at first, but after a while you realize that you are getting cuts and when you stop to take a break, you feel the burn. The ferns also seem to snag you more on the way back, which was very irritating! Half our crew turned back at this point because they couldn't handle the ferns.  You can see the towering pyramid shaped peak in the distance, which is the only motivation for making you continue on further.

Reaching the base of Ohulehule, the incline was tremendously tiring! We took ten steps, stopped for a minute, and then took ten more steps. This was our pace. About half way up the mountain, the last of the group stopped and couldn't take the pain in their legs anymore. I was determined to finish it though!

And then it was just me. My friend would wait for me at the spot until I come back down. He waited there for about an hour and a half for me. The rain was also coming, dark clouds rolling in. The last part included rope climbing and one part was a vertical climb up, which wouldn't be a very good idea if it started pouring. However, I came this far, I had no intent to stop dead short of the summit. So by myself, no reception, rain starting, battery of my phone and GoPro almost dead, I reached the summit! The view was covered in clouds! But after a short ten minutes or so the clouds cleared and it all became worth it. The rain also went away. In my rush to the summit, I forgot to put up ribbons which was my mistake. Heading back down the summit I got lost and ended up going down the wrong ridge. I thought for sure we wouldn't be able to make it back by sunset. I managed to go back and retrace my steps and prayed to God that I would make it back home safely. I was giving up on myself, but then I found the path! I found the way back down the ridge! I tried calling my friend to let him know that I was on the way back down, but I had no reception. I hoped that he was still there waiting for me. Every 5 minutes I would yell, call his name just hoping that he could hear me. And then finally got to him. He was still there waiting for me, even in the rain.

On our way back down, we were racing against the sunset. We didn't even care about the scratches from the Uluhe anymore, even though they hurt so much heading back! I was so glad that we put up ribbons through the forest because there was almost no light heading back. But the bright orange ribbons lead our way. We finished the hike in a little over 7 hours.

So if there is anything I would tell you if you attempt this hike, it would be to bring a flash light, bring trail markers, and bring long pants and long sleeve shirts. Plan your hike well and start early morning and be sure to check weather conditions. But I must say that the view is unlike any other on this island, and although it was one of the hardest hikes I've done, I would say it is one of the best views on the island. Would I do this hike again? Maybe not. I would maybe try heading up from the Southeast ridge next time.






















From the paved road, take a left at the junction. Continue along the trail and you will reach this reservoir in under 10 minutes.






















This is the Nakoa Trail. It is a short loop, but we will veer off to the left to get to the Pu'u Ohuluhule trail.






















A tire swing and rope swing to jump into the water. Fun!






















From the first reservoir, take a left and then you will see a sign on the left side. Go straight through here. See our video posted below.






















Heading through the forest. It can get very confusing.






















This was the second stream crossing. It wasn't too deep during this time that we went.






















The forest is very long. No inclines, but just easy to get lost.






















This was the third stream crossing. Luckily not too deep here either.






















We started putting up ribbons here because

there were some trails that lead off the main path.






















We used orange ribbons to mark our way through the forest.






















And finally a clearing! We made it out of the forest.






















We took a left at this point, down into a sea of Uluhe ferns! The towering peak in the background.






















The ferns were extremely overgrown!






















Turn back now if you cannot handle the ferns!






















The summit seems not too far away.

However, the ferns slow down your pace drastically.






















You can see the "Two Apes Talking" and True Manamana behind the trees.

Yet another difficult hike.






















We crossed another stream before reaching the bamboo forest.






















Head up the steep hill on the right. We put an orange ribbon here. Do not wander too far into the bamboo forest. And do not touch the bamboo, some have micro spikes that hurt!





















Nothing but Uluhe Ferns here on out.






















Half of our crew turned around at this point.






















Finally a break from the ferns at the base of the mountain.

But the uphill climbs are tiring!






















Every break I took heading up the mountain, I looked back to see the amazing view.






















It was me and a fellow hiker at this point, and he was drained.






















Looking back at the valley. I wasn't about to give up now!






















It was on my own from here. My friend would wait for me on my way back down.





















I didn't get much pictures of the rope sections because my GoPro was dying and I wanted to take a picture at the summit. But here is the final view.






















At first the clouds were blocking the whole view, but I'm glad I waited the ten minutes to catch a glimpse of this awesome scenery!






















I had to head back though because the sun would be setting soon. It was about 430pm.






















One last selfie before heading back, getting lost, and running through a dark forest. We didn't reach our cars until about 730pm or 8pm.






















My legs and arms were all cut up and it burned for a couple of days.

Check out the YouTube video on this hike!

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