Hiking to the scenic summit of Oahu’s Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

The nearly 5-mile round-trip trail is known for its unimpeded views of East Oahu. From the top of the ridge, at an elevation just shy of 1,600 feet, you’re treated to a panorama of Waikiki, Honolulu, Waimanalo and Konahuanui, the highest peak in the Koolau Mountain range.

Wiliwilinui Ridge sits to the left of the popular Koko Crater, and is part of three mountain ridges: Kuliouou, Hawaii Loa and Wiliwilinui. All three share similar terrain, with introduced and indigenous flora and those stunning vistas. Wiliwilinui isn’t the shortest hike of the trio, but it’s the easiest and a great intro to Hawaii ridge hikes.

The trailhead is in a gated community. The friendly guard takes down your car’s license plate number and hands you a red laminated parking pass. There are a limited number of passes each day. While this restricts trail access, it also means that it won’t be too crowded, a luxury on bustling Oahu.

The Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail starts off nice and easy. In fact, the beginning is a paved road. It soon gives way to a wide dirt road, which continues for just over a mile. The well-maintained trail was built by the U.S. Army in 1941 and was originally used as a service road.

The trail’s climbs sets of stairs—there are more than 10 sets in all—up to a nearly 1,600-foot elevation. The steps not only help prevent erosion along the ridge, they also help make it significantly easier to navigate the trail.

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