The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Kaʻala Trail in Oahu

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If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding hike in Oahu, look no further than Kaʻala Trail. This trail offers breathtaking views of the island and a challenging climb to the summit of the highest peak on the island. In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to hike Kaʻala Trail, from the trailhead to the best spots for pictures. Lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.

1. What is Kaʻala Trail?

Kaʻala Trail is a popular hiking trail located in the Waianae mountain range on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The trail is known for its challenging climb to the summit of Kaʻala, the highest peak on the island.

2. Where is Kaʻala Trail located?

Kaʻala Trail is located on the western side of the island of Oahu. The trailhead is located off of Farrington Highway near the town of Makaha.

3. How long is Kaʻala Trail?

Kaʻala Trail is approximately 5.5 miles long round trip. The trail starts at an elevation of 1,620 feet and climbs to an elevation of 4,025 feet at its highest point.

4. What is the difficulty level of Kaʻala Trail?

Kaʻala Trail is rated as difficult due to its steep incline and rocky terrain. Hikers should be in good physical condition and wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots.

5. What are the best times to hike Kaʻala Trail?

The best times to hike Kaʻala Trail are in the early morning or late afternoon. The trail can get quite hot during the middle of the day, so it’s best to avoid hiking during this time. The trail can also be muddy after a rain, so it’s best to check the weather forecast before heading out.

6. What should I bring for the hike?

Hikers should bring plenty of water, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and a light jacket or sweater. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks and a small first-aid kit in case of emergencies. Hikers should also bring a fully charged cell phone and a map or GPS device.

7. How do I get to the trailhead?

To get to the trailhead, take Farrington Highway to the end, where you will find a small parking lot and the trailhead. There is no public transportation to the trailhead, so a car or taxi is necessary.

Rules and Regulations of the Trail

Kaʻala Trail is located on state land, so it’s important to follow the rules and regulations to help preserve the natural beauty of the area. Here are some of the most important rules to keep in mind:

  • The trail is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • Camping and fires are not permitted.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
  • Do not disturb or harm the wildlife or vegetation.
  • Pack out all trash and leave the trail better than you found it.

Other Hikes Nearby

Oahu offers many other beautiful hikes in addition to Kaʻala Trail. Here are some other hikes nearby to consider:

  • Makiki Valley Loop Trail
  • Pu’u Ma’eli’eli Trail (Pink Pillbox)
  • Aiea Loop Trail
  • Manoa Falls Trail
  • Diamond Head State Monument

Recommended Spots for Taking Pictures on the Trail

Kaʻala Trail offers many scenic spots for taking pictures, so be sure to bring your camera or smartphone. Some of the best photo opportunities include:

  • The panoramic view of Waianae from the summit
  • The waterfall and stream crossings
  • The abandoned military bunker
  • The lush rainforest and diverse vegetation
  • The North Shore and Honolulu skyline in the distance

History of Kaʻala Trail

Kaʻala Trail has a rich history dating back to ancient Hawaiian times, when it was used as a trade route between the coast and the interior. During World War II, the trail was used by the military as a lookout point and communication station. Today, the trail is maintained by the state and remains a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.


Kaʻala Trail offers a challenging and rewarding hike with stunning views and unique terrain

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