Time: 3-4 HOURS
Distance: 3 MILES
Elevation Gain: 1200 FEET
Foot Traffic: LOW
Challenges: Rock scrambling, Steep ascent, Some muddy spots, Somewhat Overgrown, A few narrow ridges
Sights: Koko Head, Leeward/Windward Side, Diamond Head
What to Bring: Water (>1L), Snack, Long Pants (Nice to have)
A short scenic ridge hike located in Hawaii Kai. This hike takes you up a steep spur ridge to a beautiful lookout point, known as Pyramid Rock, which gives you a great vantage point of both sides of the island. From there, you hike a small portion of the Ko'olau Summit Trail (KST), tackling a few narrow and slightly overgrown ridges. You will then descend down an adjacent finger ridge to complete the loop. It may not be long, but you get a lot of bang for your buck on this short hike.
After yesterday's 10 mile trek on the North Shore's Kaunala-Pupukea loop hike, I was looking for another active, but less time intensive way to start my Sunday. With my last couple hikes ending in the clouds, I decided I wanted a trail that gave me a chance to see some island beauty. After perusing AllTrails, I came across this hike, Hahaione to Pyramid Rock. Based on the lower elevation, and the fact that the clouds accumulate more towards the center of the island, I thought this ridge might give me those views I desperately desired. My judgement proved to be right.
Here's a shot of the hike. It's a simple loop hike, with a steep ascent up the spur ridge, across the KST, and then down an adjacent ridge. It's short, but it is definitely a workout.
The hike begins at the very end of Hahaione Street. You will see a clear trail that leads into the trees. Something you will also see near the trailhead is a Private Property sign. With the exception of this sign, nothing indicated this hike was off limits, however you must acknowledge this and proceed at your own risk. Like many of these Oahu hikes that start in someone's backyard, simply being respectful and making your way straight to the trail should mitigate most of your problems.After entering the trees, the trail will T here. We decided to take a right and do this loop counterclockwise.
My friend Minh joined me for this adventure. What he didn't know about hiking with me, is that I would be taking lots of photos of him for perspective. Thanks Minh!
Initially, you should be following the beaten down path. There is a point here where the trail dips down and back up, as if you are crossing a dry stream bed.
But shortly after, the trail will get littered with markers. Follow these through the trees.
The trail will then intersect with this fence. Take a left and follow the fence uphill.
As you begin to ascend, you will start to see some of those awesome leeward views.
But that ascent isn't easy. It is steep and you have to deal with these slippery pine needles. My calves were burning the higher we climbed.
After about 30 minutes, we broke through the trees and were hit with this stellar view of Hawaii Kai. On the left is the famous Koko Head Crater, home to the Stairmaster from hell.
Looking to your right, you can just barely see the other iconic crater, Diamond Head, peaking over the ridges.
But we aren't quite at the top just yet. To the right of the trail is Pyramid Rock. To get there we have to follow the trail around to the left.
The trail to get there does get a smidge narrow, but nothing too crazy.
And it does require a baby rock scramble.
But it's all worth it for the view at the top. It's amazing how those gray clouds give Koko Head a very different mood.
And if you turn around you get a view of the windward side. In this photo you can see Three Peaks, the Mokes, and if your vision is really good, you can probably make out Chinaman's Hat in the distance. With this spectacular view, I had scratched my hiking itch.
But the hike isn't over, we have to complete the loop! We now begin the KST portion of the hike. When facing Windward, head left and downhill to continue.
The trek along the KST is a tad hairy, but it's not nearly as sketchy as other portions. It's a bit overgrown and the ridge can get narrow, but for any experienced hikers it shouldn't prove too much of a challenge.
This part feels like a rainforest with these huge green leaves.
The trail is marked, but not thoroughly. There are portions where you won't know where to go next and have to do a bit of problem solving. It is not without its challenges either. There are some rock scrambles and portions where the path gets narrow.
Photo break! #forthegram
One of those narrow sections. Those dropoffs are no joke!
After 45ish minutes of hiking on the KST, we reached this powerline structure. This is an important landmark as the turn for the ridge back down comes shortly after. I should also mention that this overgrown section SUCKED despite being very short. This tall grass is brutal to walk through. Tiny little white shards get in your bare skin as you brush up against it. They look like hairs, but feel like splinters. If you happened to bring some long sleeves/pants this would be where you should don them.
10ish minutes after the tall grass, you will reach this open dirt section. This is the ridge back down to the start. Take a LEFT here.
But not before you take a glimpse of this awesome perspective of Diamond Head.
Alright fine Minh I'm coming!
Going down this ridge wasn't a piece of cake, especially initially. It was muddy with a step descent. Luckily there were some ropes and a lot of trees to help.
But after a bit, the descent became more gradual and it was smooth sailing from here on out.
At least until we reached this point. It was a nice flat section, about halfway down the ridge, that made for a great camping spot. It had clearly just been used for that purpose, but sadly those people had thought it not important to clean up after themselves. More than anything this type of behavior saddens me. Hawaii allows you to enjoy it's beauty. The least you can do is pick up your rubbish.
Fortunately, my pack always contains a trash bag, so Minh and I did a quick cleanup. I suppose the positive of doing this is we get free Fruit Loops in the process. Think those are edible?
Minor hiccup aside, this hike is a hidden gem. The views are awesome, it's short but also a great workout, and you even get a little bit of KST hiking. Now it's time to hit the beach!
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Also Check Out:
- Not So Good Hikers video of this hike
- Exploration Hawaii's writeup of this trail