Time: 2.5-3.5 HOURS
Distance: 3.5 MILES
Elevation Gain: 1400 FEET
Foot Traffic: LOW
Challenges: Some slippery descents, Overgrown at parts
Sights: Hau'ula, Laie, North Shore, Ko'olau Range
What to Bring: Water, Snack
A shorter ridge hike on the Windward side of the island located near Hau'ula. The hike begins in the trees along the Hau'ula loop trail, before you ascend Waipilopilo Ridge to reach the expansive views of the windward coast. From here you will cross a small ridge that connects Waipilopilo back to the Hau'ula Ridge, before beginning your descent. This is a great hike for those finding themselves on the northern part of the Windward Coast in need of an intermediate ridge hike.
Peter and my original plan for this Saturday was to hike True Manamana, one of the most dangerous hikes on all of Oahu. However, we woke up late and didn't reach our rendezvous point until almost 9:30. Instead of risking not completing that hike, we decided to call an audible and do a different hike in the area. After a quick search on AllTrails, we settled on the significantly shorter and easier, but plenty enjoyable Hau'ula-Waipilpilo loop.
Here's a shot of the hike. A very simple hike that traverses two different ridges. The closer ridge is Waipilopilo and the farther is Hau'ula. If you follow the AllTrails directions, it will take you up Haaula and down Waipilopilo. Peter and I ended up doing it in the opposite direction, but really it doesn't matter.
Past the gate, you will continue following the road for a few minutes until you see this opening on the right side of the road. This is the trailhead.
Let's hike! Nothing to this first part, just a well maintained trail in the woods.
Soon, you will come to this sign. If you go right and uphill in the "Out" direction, you will head to official the Hau'ula Loop. If you keep following the trail towards the "IN" direction, it will lead you to the Hau'ula-Waipilopilo loop, which is where we are going.
And soon, another fork. Left leads to Waipilopilo Ridge, Right leads to Hau'ula. We went left.
Alright, we're done with forks for now. Time to enjoy the scenery. I love these pleasant walks in the Pine Trees.
This hike is well marked with pink ribbons and it is obvious the trail was cleared professionals. This hike could have been very overgrown but instead it was very open. The perks of doing a sanctioned trail I suppose.
Time to ascend!
The climb to the ridge was more challenging than we thought. I guess since we had mentally planned on doing True Manamana today, we expected this alternative to be a cake walk. It was not. Peter and I were both winded during the ascent.
But soon the views will start and you will forget (at least temporarily) how tired you are.
The higher you get, the better the views. Here you can barely make out Hau'ula (right) and Laie (left).
A great shot of Peter on the ridge rocking the sleeveless and the shades. This shot also captures the surface you walk on much of the hike-- dead brush. I'm not one for negativity but this was my least favorite part of the hike. It was just an uncomfortable surface that crunched every time you took a step. I think I prefer slightly muddy to whatever that was.
Getting close to the top! That dip in the center is what connects the two ridges.
And we made it! The summit of Waipilopilo Ridge. This may not be as expansive as some views on the island, but there's still a lot to see. The town of Laie is located beyond and to the right of that far ridge. Very beautiful.
After taking in the views for a few moments, we decided it was time to continue. We were both getting that early afternoon hunger.
On to Hau'ula Ridge. The views on this ridge were just as beautiful.
But eventually, you will be required to make your way back in the trees. I took this photo because I liked the look of this pine needle ridge. It also shows that this hike has the potential to get narrow at times.
I loved this sprawling tree right in the middle of the path. It looked like it would have been great for climbing. If only we had the time. I had already suggested we eat at Keneke's Grill on the way home, so that was the only thing on our minds.
Are we out of the woods yet are we out of the woods yet are we out of the woods?
Almost in the clear. Eventually the trail comes to this sign. To complete the loop, you need to head left and downhill (when facing this sign). Right will allow you to continue to Hau'ula. We took a left and finished the rest of the trail.
What a great little ridge hike to spend part of our Sunday afternoon. It was not at all what we had in mind when our day started, but it just goes to show, you can find a great place to hike and be in nature in just about any part of Oahu.
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