Rise and Shine: Olomana trail

I’ll start off right away with saying if you’r new to the hiking scene or even just wary of heights, I’d recommend taking other hikes just a few notches below this one (like Maunawili Falls).

The Olomana trail is more on the eastside of the island, about a 10-15 minute drive from Kaneohe area. I’ve unfortunately never taken the bus to this trail so I can’t say much on how direct a bus will get you to the trail, however; Hawaii’s transit system is one of the best you can experience so it’s not impossible to get there, just time consuming.

You’ll recognize it from the distance because the whole trail consists of 3 peaks in total. This hike will take up a few hours of your day, if you only go to the first peak. That’s what I did. I’m terrified of heights, but can manage as long as I know that there should be no reason to fear. As I was approaching the summit of the first peak the path narrows and becomes completely rock at the top (there’s rope for some security), so in some sense your walking/scaling the peak. The view is unfucking believable! You see pretty much all of Kaneohe-Kailua Bay area, the military base, the scattered islands (i.e. coconut island), and geographically is stunning to see pretty much the creation of the island to how is it today and it kind of clues you in better to Oahu’s weather if you weren’t sure before.

Let’s return to the bottom of the trail though and work our way up. The lane you walk/drive down to the beginning of this trail does feel a bit “private property” because of the golf course nearby, but as long as you’re parked off the side of the road there won’t be any problems.

entrance to trail
entrance to trail

The trek begins easy enough feeling similar to a walk through a forest area. There’s even a point where pine needle like trees have a whole area covered. Feels almost like a scene out of Lord of the Rings when its just Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. Picture doesn’t serve my memory justice. hahaha

Best tip for this hike is finding your right pace and sticking to it. Initially this hike will seem novice and not too difficult to speed along but it does become challenging and fatigue will set in. If you set out a pace and maintain that throughout the hike, it will be more relaxing and enjoyable when not having to stop constantly to catch ones breath.

Hawaii's kind of Pine Forest
Hawaii’s kind of Pine Forest

Another part of the trail becomes an open area of packed red dirt. My assumption would be because of the high iron content from extinct volcanic activity. You can tell this area would be annoying to hike after some generous rainfall because it would be a slippery mess. lol (are lol okay to use in blogs?)

Look at all the red dirt!

These next parts get harder. By that I mean… climbing.

Start climbing
Start climbing

and more climbing…

Be careful!

and then….

Thanks for demonstrating Kathy*
Thanks for demonstrating Kathy*

At this point you might want to take a break. Pack a lunch that’s easily portable and re-energize, cause you’ve earned it! I’ll admit the trail will remain pretty narrow (single lane traffic), but the occasional nook appears that you can sit and take a break.

Relax, your only hundreds of feet above sea level. hahaha
Relax, your only hundreds of feet above sea level.

Look around! check out the views! it’s crazy inspiring.

best views
best views
The next two peaks
The next two peaks
close up of #3
close up of #3

Now this next picture is essentially what the “Summit” of the 1st peak looks like, and it terrified me. That may have been from being completely exhausted at this point and not giving myself sufficient recovery time because the minute I saw this I was like “DONE!”

summit of peak #1
summit of peak #1

 You’ll feel so pleased with yourself afterwards; all that physical stamina for the experience will be worth it. I will express severe caution now and this is because of what happened the day I went. It was Easter Weekend, and there were a fair amount of groups doing the trek, and we didn’t find out until we were walking back to our vehicle that we saw the News trucks parked. Three people had fallen off the trail! I can’t remember if it was more than 1 that ended in fatality. It was a very somber moment, and crazy to think these people were on the hike as well (they all passed the 1st peak though before they fell). Rescue helicopters were scouring the areas around peaks #2 and #3. I know one was with a group and they didn’t even notice the person’s disappearance right away, and that was already after this group pulled a different member from a fall of his/her own. I don’t mean to scare, just express caution. If your not sure-footed or a bit of a klutz just recognized your limit.

Hike time to 1st peak: 1.5hr-2hr depending on personal fitness and pace level.

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