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Kamanaiki Ridge Trail


Time: 3-4 HOURS

Distance: 5 MILES

Elevation Gain: 1400 FEET

Foot Traffic: LOW

Challenges: Potentially muddy

Sights: Honolulu, Kalihi Saddle

What to Bring: Water

An easily accessible hike near Honolulu, this ungraded ridge takes you along a shaded path deep into Kalihi valley. On the way you will get great views of Kalihi Valley, Honolulu and the Ko'olau Range. The hike ends at a flat grassy patch giving you a perfect place to take in the surrounding beauty. On the way, don't forget to look for some delicious guave lining the trail!


After a weekend full of activities, Sunday had arrived and I hadn't set foot in the mountains. I knocked out my Sunday morning errands finding myself with a free afternoon looking to fill with a hike. Despite the constant showers in the Ko'olaus , I did some research, hoping to find a nearby hike that could satisfy my hiking itch for the weekend. This is how I settled on Kamanaiki.

A shot of the hike. It heads up a set of man-made stairs out of a neighborhood in Kalihi Valley that allows you to reach the ridgeline. From there, you follow the shaded ridge until you reach a flat clearing, that gives you a beautiful perspective of the Ko'olaus, the valley, and the ocean.

The trailhead is located at the very end of Manaiki Place. There's no official parking, so you will have to look for street parking nearby. This hike officially wins the award for the most awkward starting location. See these stairs? That is the trailhead access. It literally looks like you are taking them to someone's house.

But it does in fact lead to the Kamanaiki Ridge. I actually really liked the look of these stairs. They green backdrop really added to that wild feeling. The stairs also allow you to gain elevation quickly.

One of the first landmarks of the hike. Despite that uninviting "Get Out" message, this is a perfectly legal and pleasant hike.

Overall the hike is a slow steady climb. We will be gaining a total of 1400 feet over the course of this hike, so it definitely qualifies as a workout.

And once you get high enough, you will get some openings in the trees, giving you a view all the way to the ocean. The views are pretty good now, but wait for our return trip once the sun starts closing in on the horizon.

There were some cool nature things to see along the trail in addition to the views. Here were some downed trees with this cool design. Almost looked like someone painted them watercolors.

There was also a TON of guava throughout the trail. Not only did it make the trail smell great, but it was a great snack. I spent some time meandering along, looking for the ripe pieces to get a little taste.

And at some point, you will get an opening that gives you a glimpse of Honolulu, peaking over the adjacent ridge.

There aren't any tricks to this trail, with the exception of this part. It looks like the trail comes to an end, but it does continue on, you just have to follow it downhill.

Just a bit of mud to contend with... but it really isn't too bad.

The final stretch. Our destination is a flat grassy opening just around the bend...

And voila! Ok this picture doesn't really do this area justice. It's a beautiful little spot surrounded by various Ko'olau ridges. If you look beyond those trees, you can catch a glimpse of the infamous Kalihi Saddle.

A little closer shot. Those little points make up the Kalihi Saddle. They have nicknames like "witch's hat," "shark fin", and "pimple" and it is arguably one of the most dangerous parts of the Ko'olau Summit Trail. I have yet to hike it, although it is on my list... Once I find a new hiking partner crazy enough to do it. But there is a great blog post about it.

Another benefit of this "summit" is there is a great tree to climb which gives you a better vantage point of the western part of the island and the ocean. Climbing trees and hanging in places like this always makes me feel like a kid again.

But alas the sun is beginning to set and it is time to go home to get ready for the work week.

But not before one final look at this gorgeous landscape. Feeling reenergized, I'm ready for whatever work has in store for me.

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Also Check Out

- This write up about hiking the Kalihi Saddle

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