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5. Wiliwilinui Trail

Sweeping view from the top of the Wiliwilinui ridge hike
Will you make it to the end of the Wiliwilinui Trail? Awaiting you is a 360-degree view.

The promise of otherworldly views keeps hikers coming back to the volcanic ridgelines of Oahu, which wind across the island like the spine of some mythical creature. Compared to most other hikes of its kind, the Wiliwilinui Trail provides a safer and more approachable ridge hike suitable for fit adventurers who aren’t necessarily in the market for technical, leg-burning challenges.

One of the unique things about the Wiliwilinui Trail is that it’s tucked away in an upscale gated community in the hills above Honolulu. To reach the trailhead, first you’ll need to get a parking pass from the security guard at the entrance. The passes are limited, so if you don’t get one, you’ll have to park outside the gate and walk an additional mile up a steep hill.

The trail starts as a wide dirt road before turning into a series of steep stairs that help you reach higher elevations quickly. Be careful of eroded or slippery steps. Some sections will have ropes to make the ascent easier, while others will require scrambling. After a while, you’ll become surrounded by dense green layers of vibrant vegetation spreading to the ocean.

Once you reach the relay station tower, it’s a short scenic walk to a small clearing where a lone viewing bench stands. On a clear day, you can see the towns of Kailua and Kaneohe backgrounded by the Pacific on the windward (eastern) side. Enjoy the panorama, you’ve earned it!

About the author
Nandor Szotak
Hawaii hiking guide and founder of Hungaro Explorer

Nandor is an avid hiker on Oahu and owner of Hungaro Explorer. Hawaii has been home for many years and in that time he has volunteered in a Hawaiian trail and mountain club, volunteered as search and rescue, and has helped with local trail maintenance. Whenever he is in nature, Nandor's first priority is respecting the land he is on and the people who lived there long before him.

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