|Oct 18, 2007
Entry Submitted by: Merlin
Wikipedia has a short description of the Ko'olau Range. It's one of two ranges on the island where my friends and I do most of our hikes. There's not exactly a summit or summit point anyway, but there is a top to the range. It stretches from one end of the island to the other with elevation from sea level to an average of 3000 feet.
Many parts, at least on the Windward (Eastern) side are too steep to hike, but towards this end (north-east), the ridges slope more gradually and there's more trails.
As far as I know there are two trails that lead to the top of the North-East side (Laie area) of the range (see map below). The Laie Falls (green) trail continues after the falls turn-off all the way to the top (in yellow). In Hauula one of the loop trails (in turquoise) breaks off heading up towards the castle trail and summit as well (marked in blue). I have tried to hike along the summit top from one trail to the other, but it's so overgrown and slow going that it would take considerable work and time. The trail is so poorly marked (ends up being no trail at all) that you probably couldn't do it without a GPS and pre-defined route to follow.
No matter though, it's still enjoyable to hike to the top and see North Shore and Windward shores at the same time. The first time I went to the top, Jada, my roommate - Miles, and I took our gear to camp out. We left in overcast weather and it rained off and on. At first I was kinda bummed about the weather, but towards the top it was quite narly. The wind and clouds would flow up the ridges then shoot over the summit top. We were getting hit with rain and clouds from underneath. There was no visibility but the GPS helped out. We made it to a flat area that I marked as Helipad on the map below. We setup our shelter and stayed dry and cozy through the night.
Since that time I have preferred to hike in overcast conditions over the heat of the sun. It's nice that Hawaii doesn't get too cold and a good hiking pace is usually enough to keep warm in rainy weather.
Perhaps a group will clear the trail along the summit top in the future. As of now, the two trails that lead to the top are cut and easy enough to follow.
Side view to show elevation.
|Oct 23, 2007 - Reply by: Josh
The further north you go on the KST, the easier going it is. Malaekahana connects up to the summit trail as well, I liked hiking up the Laie trail and coming down Malaekahana. We stopped at Laie Falls on the way up, but you could stop at Malaekahana Falls on the way back as well, we just didn't have much time. Kevin has done from Malaekahana trail to Pupukea. It comes out by the boy scout camp in pupkea at the end of the road at the light near sharks cove. I have done from Laie trail to Poamoho trail. Just beyond the Poamoho intersection, there is a hiking shelter that you can stay in. We went down the Poamoho trail which is an awesome trail, unfortunately it goes through private property, the dole plantation. We just walked right through and waved at all the workers we saw! Our original plan was to try to go down the Kahana trail, but it looked pretty bad. Kevin had done it before and he went down the Waikane trail which is south of the Kahana trail. They had to traverse some pretty bad landslides, that is why we weren't going to go that route. All in all it was a very good hike! The summit trail can be very challenging, but it can be very rewarding. When hiking it, it is hard to believe that people actually come up there! Many of the trails are only still there because they are frequented by pigs!