Kuli`ou`ou Ridge Trail, Niu Valley

Directions: From Kalanianaole Highway heading east, take a left on Kuliouou Street. Drive mauka towards the back of the valley. Follow the curve to the left, and take a right on Kuli`ou`ou Road. Turn right on Kala`au Place, continuing to the the cul-de-sac at the end of the street. Park at the end of the cul-de-sac and proceed on foot past the cable gate on the access road. The trail begins on the right of the access road at the hunter/hiker check in station.

I'm up there at least twice a week.

Trail Information: Access to Kuli`ou`ou Ridge Trail starts on the right at the hunter/hiker check-in station just past the Board of Water Supply cable gate. The trailhead to the ridge begins about 0.2 in on the Kuli`ou`ou Valley Trail and proceed up the ridge to the summit of the Ko`olau Range. About two-thirds of the way up the ridge, there is a shelter with two picnic tables. From this point, the trail becomes steeper, while following the ridge, the trail is only occasionally maintained, and may be difficult for inexperienced hikers. The trail ends at the summit with a spectacular view of the windward side of O`ahu and Waimanalo. Return is by the same route. The trail traverses through an assortment of exotic vegetation typical of arid areas: Christmas berry, haole koa, formosa koa, ironwood, Norfolk pine and guava. Beyond the shelter and the guava forest, the trail breaks out of the canopy and into uluhe-o`hia-koa-lama forest. This upper section of trail offers an almost 360 degree view of the island. Caution should be exercised on this trail since it is also open to mountain bikers and hunters. This trail traverses a public hunting area - hikers should exercise caution. Wear bright colored clothing and be aware that you may encounter hunters who may be hunting off trail - stay on the trail.

The official trail ends at the first junction with the Koolau crest. The formidable peak to the left, which stands tall at the head of Kuliouou Valley, is called Puu o Kona (elev. 2,200-ft).

An alternate but expert continuation veers left along the crest toward Puu o Kona. Beware, this is a very dangerous, narrow stretch with unstable footing and precipitous drops to each side. This extension is not recommended and, if tried, should be attempted only by very experienced hikers.

Miscellaneous Information: There is no designated parking except what hikers can find within the residential area on Kalaau Pl. Do not park along the cul-de-sac: it is designated "no parking".