Time: 2-3 HOURS
Distance: 2.5 MILES
Elevation Gain: 1600 FEET
Foot Traffic: LOW
Challenges: Exposed Ridge, Some Steep climbs with loose rock, Narrow ridges
Sights: Hawaiian Pyramid, Waianae, Mount Ka'ala
What to Bring: Sunscreen, Water, Long Pants (optional)
This out and back hike on an exposed ridge feels a lot like a leg workout. It is hot, the uphill is relatively steep, and some of the trail has slippery and loose rock. However, the views of many of the Waianae Range peaks make that uphill climb much more tolerable. Once you reach the summit, you can head downhill a short ways to see a pyramid shaped ridge nearby, often called the "Hawaiian Pyramid."
It was March Madness weekend, with some Elite 8 matchups coming on in the afternoon. However, I couldn't let basketball get in the way of my hiking routine. I knew I wanted to do a 2-3 hour hike that would justify my siting on the couch the rest of the day. After a quick search on AllTrails, I found Pu'u Heleakala, a hike I had never heard of. It was the perfect start to my day.
As is typical for these lesser known hikes, this one is located off a random street in a random neighborhood in Waianae.
That street is Ulei Loop.
Here's a Google Earth shot of the hike. As you can see, it's entirely uphill. That ridge it connects to on the left is the one that creates the pyramid shape.
That power line structure can be used as your guide to getting on top of the ridge. Basically, you can just follow the natural beaten down paths to get there. Remember, however, that you are starting this hike in someone's backyard. So just follow this simple rule, be respectful and don't be a dick.
Making my way up to the ridge. Even though it was around 9am, I could feel the sun beating down on me.
Getting to the ridge isn't very strenuous, but that doesn't mean you can't take a quick break and take in your surroundings.
We made it...to the ridge. Now the real hiking begins. But first, views.
And more views.
Instead of immediately ascending, I decided to take a short ridge walk and head towards the ocean to look for some good photo opportunities.
I came across this memorial on the tip of the ridge. I hope I'm not being disrespectful for including this, I just felt like it was an incredibly beautiful place for something like this and wanted to share it.
Alright, back to business. Our destination is that center peak. There are several false peaks on this hike, which I would later find out.
There's a minor amount of climbing on this hike. No significant climbing experience is necessary. However, that's no reason to be careless. There is a lot of loose dirt and rock which could easily cause you to slip. I almost ate it a few times on the way down.
As you ascend, if you look right, you can see some one of the adjacent ridges. This one kind of resembles a pyramid as well, but it is not THE pyramid that we can only see near the summit.
Definitely getting steeper. I think it is suitable for me to throw in a #legday for this hike.
And we have reached false peak number 1. Oh well, break time.
A quick look at what we've done.
Onward! The ridge gets a bit narrow at times, but nothing that made me feel uneasy.
Another false peak. More of the Waianae Range is coming into view. Even though this range is less green than its Ko'olau counterpart, it is still beautiful.
A look back at the ocean. If you look over the adjacent ridge, you can just make out some more coastline. That is the popular Aulani Disney Resort and the Four Seasons Resort at Ko Olina. I'm not a hotel connoisseur by any means, but I feel like staying out here is a great alternative to the overcrowded Waikiki area, especially because it allows you to enjoy the wonders of the west side of the island. Also, the Four Seasons has an amazing all you can eat brunch buffet on Sundays. It ain't cheap, but man is it good!
It starts getting a little overgrown near the summit. Long pants wouldn't have been the worst idea for this hike, but not totally necessary.
My first glimpse of the pyramid. We're almost there!
Just have to navigate around these cacti. The best view of the pyramid is slightly below the summit on a trail off to the right.
And there it is The Hawaiian Pyramid! It is an incredible sight to see how these ridges developed into such a distinct shape. The sky was also very clear, so I was able to see some peaks of hikes I'd done previously. You can barely make out Mount Ka'ala with its flat peak, which is also the highest peak on Oahu. I also could see the peak above Kawiwi Ridge, a crazy hike I did a few months ago. Being up there all alone, taking in all these views, and reminiscing on those experiences made the moment very special.
One more picture of this beautiful landscape. Now its time for some basketball!
Check out my video of this beautiful and unique hike!
Have you ever been in awe by the shapes of nature? Share your story below!
Also Check Out:
- Kenja Saito's post about this hike