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Wiliwilinui Ridge


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Updated: March 21, 2017

Location: This hike is located in Hawaii Kai located by Wailupe. Amazing views of the Windward side!

Type: Forest/Ridge hike

Hike Difficulty: Beginner

Total Time: 3 hours round trip

Distance: ~ 5 miles

Elevation: ~2400 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: yes
  • Pet Friendly: yes
  • Bring your drivers license to show to the security guard at the post. He will give you a pass to hike for the day. Just let him know that you are here for the hike as it is a gated community.
  • The hike is pretty easy for kids and pets until you get to the Wiliwilinui sign. Most joggers, and walkers turn around at this point.
  • The hike gets pretty intense once you reach the base of the mountain range. Lots of steps and steep uphill climbs to the top. Lots and lots of stairs.
  • There used to be a swing here next to the sign, but it is no longer there. It must've been cut down like the others.
  • There are about two or three minor rope climbing sections, but nothing too strenuous. The dirt is also loose at some parts so be careful and be safe out there!
  • Go on a clear day, or you may have just a view of clouds at the end. The view is usually surrounded in clouds.
  • You can gauge the distance you have left by looking at the radio tower in the distance. The antennae is your goal marker and you can see it once you get out of the forest section.
  • Some parts of the trail will be muddy, so be cautious where you step.

Your hiking backpack

  • 2 to 3 Liters of water
  • Snacks/lunch
  • Gloves if needed for ropes and rock sections
  • GoPro camera
  • Sunscreen


Take Kamehameha Highway towards Hawaii Kai side of the island. You will turn left onto Laukahi Street and follow it all the way up to the top. You will have to go through the guard, who will give you a pass for the hike. Just say that you are coming in to do the hike and he will let you pass. There's lots of parking on the left side by the entrance to the trail.

Our Journey

Wiliwilinui Ridge is a great hike with an awesome view at the end. The beginning part is an easy stroll through the forest, but once you get to the base of the mountain it's a different story. You can expect a lot of stairs and rope sections, climbing up to the top of the Koolaus. Looking back you can see views of Diamond Head and Waikiki all the way up. I have done this hike a couple of times, and there used to be a swing by the Wiliwilinui sign, however it is no longer there. The trail itself is well maintained and some steps are fairly spread out. Watch you step when you are climbing up the mountain. You can also expect parts of the trail to be muddy. I would compare this hike to Hawaii Loa Ridge. It has similar views and the trail is almost the same. Wiliwilinui is a great cardio workout and expect to sweat as you are finishing up the last portion of the hike. You gain a lot of elevation really fast. The rope sections are not too difficult. There are about two or three rope sections. We also were looking for the hidden bunkers, but lost track of time. Next time we come back, we will explore the bunkers!



























This is the parking lot where we parked. Although there is more parking further down on the dirt path.




























This is the start of the trail. You can see people parking further down as well.




























Passing by the yellow gate.




























Wiliwilinui is a state maintained trail and I gotta say, it is in good condition.




























The long, but easy path towards the mountains.




























From the start, you can see how far the mountains are, but you will get there.




























The trail starts to open up and you can see the adjacent ridges.




























Passed by some power lines.




























You can see the tower in the distance. That is your destination!




























Take a rest on the bench, it only gets more difficult from here!




























From this point on, there are steps and rope sections to climb up to the top of the Koolaus. Take your time and don't strain yourself!




























The "Stairmaster"!




























Make sure you turn around and take breaks to see the beautiful view!




























Don't you just love stairs?




























A rope section between the stairs. Yay....




























Just take it one step at a time. You'll get there!




























Looking back at how far we came!




























The tower is so close, yet so far!




























Finally! About an hour and a half later!




























My friends weren't too far behind, but I took a breather. All those steps wore me out!




























Just a couple minutes to the actually summit and lookout!




























And we made it! What a clear day today, no clouds!




























You can connect the trail to the right and follow the Koolau Summit Trail.




























You can also go left, but we chose to stay here and soak up the views!




























Sitting on the bench, admiring the views! The clouds started to roll in and it was getting cold because it was super windy. So we decided to head back.




























Heading back towards civilization.




























The hike back is a little faster, but expect to take about 3 hours on this hike with breaks and pictures. Next time we will find the hidden bunkers!

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Wiliwilinui Ridge
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