The first time I lived in Hawaii, I didn’t do much hiking. But, now being in nature and hiking has turned into one of my favorite things. So, I was grateful for a second chance to live there and check out some of the Hawaii hikes. All the Hawaii hikes I did were incredible, but by far, my favorite hike was the Kuliouou Ridge hike.
Most people don’t think of the word forest when they think of Hawaii. But the Kuliouou Ridge hike took me through one of the most enchanted forests I’ve ever experienced. This 4.5 mile Hawaii hikes rises almost 1800 feet before taking you along the ridge that overlooks Kuliouou Valley.
While the distance of the hike isn’t long, the hike will take you about four hours to complete. It’s very steep, and you are hiking from tree root to tree root, so it doesn’t make for very fast hiking. Also, wear shoes with good tread on them, as this trail can be very slippery when wet. Your shoes will get very muddy.
When I went on this hike, I had just stopped traveling full-time, and was having some anxiety about the thought of staying in one place again. However, the message of the tree roots gave me the very clear message that it was time to put down roots. These roots later supported me through slippery mud, and I knew that my roots would also one day support others.
I’ve never seen more differences in terrain on one hike. It’s really a miracle that all this sprung from a volcano that erupted out of the sea. I was reminded to start expecting miracles in my own life and not worry about how I will survive on this planet. I also knew I needed to be thankful for the miracles already showing up.
It was also on this hike that I became profoundly aware of how I could communicate with trees if I just took the time to listen to them.
The most magical part of the hike was when I found myself in an almost transparent silvery pine forest. As the wind whispered through like I’ve never heard or seen before, I shivered and really felt like I had found a sacred place. Fallen needles blanket the path here and give everything a hushed, almost reverent tone.
If you are a person who loves trees, you will absolutely love this hike. There are so many special ones on this hike.
The Kuliouou Ridge hike is also a great place to experience many endemic plants and birds, so don’t make “getting to the top” your only goal on this hike. This is a hike to take in with reverence and awe.
The ancient, gnarled trees are just as good as the view at the top, so this is a hike that is nice to take your time with.
Like a tree, I will root myself, yet sway in the breeze, and never take for granted the beauty before me, in me, and around me.
This is also a great hike to do alone. I did it alone, and felt very safe, and I was also glad that I could go at my own pace and truly experience everything that I saw along the way.
There are just so many otherworldly parts to this hike, as you will see when you do it.
Every turn on this hike was a new experience.
When you get to the saddle of the ridge, you will start seeing the views of the ocean, which are just glorious.
The breathtaking views go all the way from Koko Head to Diamond Head to Lanikai to Waimanalo.
My favorite moment came when I saw a heart shape in one of the cliffs. It reminded me that love is truly everywhere if we just take a moment to look for it.
Heart Shaped World
When you get to the top, after climbing up the steep stairs, it will be extremely windy.
It was so windy when I went, dirt was hitting me in the face, so I’d recommend bringing a bandanna for that final view.
Also, make sure to go on a clear day. Otherwise, you won’t be viewing much of anything.
Also, keep in mind that the top area is very eroded. Don’t go too close to the edge for safety reasons.
This is also a dog friendly hike if you want to take your dogs. I would only take kids if they are experienced hikers. It’s pretty steep, and is definitely one of the more exhausting Hawaii hikes. It’s a harder hike than Diamond Head, but a lot more scenic, too.
HOW TO GET THERE: In Hawaii Kai, turn left on Kuliouou Road. Take a right at Kalaau Place and park toward the end of the road. The trailhead is just beyond the cul-de-sac.
This hike looked great however, I would not do it alone. Some of those shots were so moody that it looked slightly terrifying (being alone that is). The pine forest was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. We are hoping to get to Hawaii next year, either the spring or summer. What do you recommend?
You’re right, we usually don’t associate Hawaii with forest, at least not that kind of forest I’ve found on your photos here. Nature can be so miraculous! Love those trees. This sure is another way of enjoying Hawaii. 🙂
I can see why you call this the most magical hike of your life!! Absolutely stunning! I can’t wait to get to Hawaii and hike there myself!
Wow, those views are sensational!! I would love to do this hike – I’ve spent two weeks in Hawaii back in 2011, so I’m defo due a return trip!!
The sky and sea is JUST SO BLUE!!!
Hawaii is so great for hiking! There are so many interesting views and nature to experience and explore. Loved this post, great job! Beautiful photographs too!
love this hike… im sooooooo thankful you share…. the last picture was the best… this moody hidden gem is exactly the medicine to go deep… adore you beauty!!! More info on my end soon
Thanks, Heather! nice to hear from you!
I’m one of those crazy people who is actually more excited about the jungle side of Hawaii than the beaches. This hike looks amazing! Would love to do it myself when I get to Hawaii. The trees there look amazing – couldn’t really tell if the carvings in the fourth picture were natural or human made.
i definetly need to visit hawaii!
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