Waianae Kai Trail / Mount Ka'ala Summit Hike

4 stars from 2 reviews
Address End of Waianae Valley Rd, Waianae Kai Trail, Waianae, HI 96792
Beautiful, relentless hike up to the summit of Mount Ka'ala from the Waianae side.

• General: Cost: Free • Hiking: Hiking
• Hiking: Length: 4-5 Miles • Hiking: Level: Difficult
• Hiking: Level: Experts Only • Hiking: Major Elevation Changes
• Hiking: Out & Back Trail • Hiking: Paved
• Hiking: Ridge Hike • Sightseeing: Great Views

Full Description
This is really two hikes in one and starts out as the Waianae Kai Trail Hike that takes you to the Mount Ka'ala Summit Hike. You'll find them in the Waianae area of O'ahu.

The first part is the Waianae Kai Hike and it's starts at the end of Waianae Valley Road in Waianae. Our map pinpoints the trailhead and parking area.

You'll also find a mailbox here with a sign in sheet so be sure to sign in and sign out.

Note that hunters (hunting birds and pigs) frequent this trail and general area so hearing gunshots is common. With that in mind, wearing bright colors and staying on the trail (always a good idea, see Hiking Safety & Essentials for more) is an especially smart idea here.

The first part is all paved and runs a bit over a mile up the mountain. It's easy to navigate but you'll climb over 1000 feet in elevation just on this part so it requires some stamina. When the cement ends and the dirt trail starts you're now on the trail for the Mount Ka'ala Summit Hike and this is when things get a bit more serious.

Unless you really know what you're doing you'll want to turn around here or go up a bit further until things get difficult and then head back. Only more experienced hikers will want to continue on.

Some of the early parts won't be bad, but it will require a lot of climbing as you go (some areas will have ropes). The entire round trip hike is a bit over 8 miles (around 4 miles each way) and is likely to take you around 7-8 hours. If it's raining (or recently rained) and the trail is muddy you'll want to turn back. Many suggest wearing spikes as you get further up.

If the weather is good, there are spots that will offer some great views. If the weather isn't good you may not see much of anything the entire time.

If you make it to the top you'll have scaled the highest mountain on Oahu which reaches just over 4,000 feet into the sky. Considering you started at around 600 feet above seal level that means scaling 3,400 feet to reach the top. This is no easy task and really for expert hikers only.

As always, bring lots of water and some snacks and be well prepared. If your less than an experienced hiker you can always tackle the first, paved part and still get a lot of enjoyment out of this trail.

Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
A fun hike but it's also a bit of stairmaster, especially as you get further in, which isn't really my thing.
Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
I've done this hike twice - and and it's kicked my butt both times. It's relentless how steep it is. But, you will be hiking to one of the highest peaks on Oahu, with an incredible view overlooking the Waianae Valley.

On certain sections, the area is so steep you'll use existing ropes to help you get up. You may come a across a few pig hunters on the way as well. It can be windy and narrow beyond the power tower at the top, so that section is for advanced hikers only.

Hike is recommended for those in good cardio shape. If you're not, then better check out other hikes such as the Aiea Loop.
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