Kuliouou Ridge trail

Kuliouou Ridge Trails and Hiking Stats

Nestled on the eastern shores of Oahu, the Kuliouou Ridge Trail is a captivating testament to the island’s untouched beauty and untamed spirit.

Offering a blend of scenic vistas, lush foliage, and a touch of adventure, this hidden gem of a trail promises an unforgettable journey for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Whether you’re a seasoned trekker seeking a challenging ascent to the summit or a casual nature lover looking for an adventure amidst the island’s beauty, the trail is a fulfilling experience for everyone who sets foot on its grounds.

We’ll guide you through the twists and turns of the Kuliouou Ridge Trail, plus practical advice on preparation and safety to uncover the most photogenic spots along the way. We’ve got you covered.

So, pack your sense of adventure and embark on an unforgettable escapade along the Kuliouou Ridge Trail.

Kuliouou Ridge Trail Stats

Kuliouou Ridge trail in Hawaii
TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Valley TrailKuliouou Ridge-Pu’u O’Kona Loop
Length (Out and Back)4.7 Miles3 Miles6 Miles
Duration3-4 Hours1 Hour3.4 Hours
Elevation1776 Feet350 Feet1800 Feet
Open Hours24 Hours24 Hours24 Hours

Where is Kuliouou Ridge Trail?

You will find the trailhead of Kuliouou Ridge Trail sitting at the end of Hahaione Street in Honolulu, Oahu. Here are the coordinates: 21.313271, -157.721990, roughly half an hour from the island’s main city. 

Planning a trip to Hawaii?
Read our Hawaii Destination Guides

Cheapest Island in Hawaii
Cliff Jumping in Oahu
Little Beach Maui – a Nudist Paradise
Lanikea Turtle Beach – Best times to visit
North Shore Oahu Hikes

How to get to Kuliouou Ridge trail?

There are a couple of ways to get to Kuliouou Ridge Trail. 

By Car 

You can just input and follow your vehicle’s GPS. If you’re coming from Waikiki, cruise along E Kalakaua Avenue, heading to Monsarrat Avenue. Then, take a left on Makapuu Avenue and a right at Kilauea Avenue until it merges with 16th Avenue. Cruise along 16th Ave and take a right on Waialae Avenue. Follow the road into Highway 72 towards Kuliouou Road and then right to Kalaau Place. The ride will take roughly half an hour. 

By Bus 

If you’re using public transport, walk to S. King St. + Hauoli St. and hop aboard Bus 1 on Hawaii Kai, heading towards Kalanianaole Hwy + Kuliouou Road. It will cover at least 25 minutes, plus traffic. Once you hop off, you must walk for another 30 minutes to get to the trailhead. Alternatively, you can just opt for a rideshare like Uber or Lyft to make your transportation easier. 

Unless you want to start your hike tired, using a car is best. 


List all the parking options for hiking the trail

There’s no designated parking lot near the trailhead. The only option is to find a spot along Kalaau Road. Again, this is a residential neighborhood, so it’s best to respect the locals’ driveways and parking laws. 

Now, Kuliouou Ridge Trail is famous, so parking can be challenging. And depending on the time of the day, you might end up parking far from the trailhead. It’s best to be there as early as possible or late afternoon. 

After parking, you’ll find a yellow gate at Kalaau Place with a fork beyond it. Follow the left trail until you see another division. Take a right this time. After a few more minutes, you’ll see the sign pointing right to Kuliouou Ridge Trail and go left for Kuliouou Valley Trail. 

Going on a trip with Kids?
Take a look at these destinations

Key West with Kids
15 Things to do in Taylor Falls with Kids
18 Things to do in Northfield with Kids
25 Easy Hikes in the White Mountains

Best Time to Hike Kuliouou Ridge

Overall, the best time to enjoy hiking Kuliouou Ridge Trail is before sunrise or sunset. It makes the vistas more dramatic and picturesque. The weather during your hike can also make or break your experience. Here’s what you can expect. 

Hiking Kuliouou Ridge Trail in Summer

Hiking during summer is ideal to make your journey less challenging. With the dry trail, no slippery mud to worry about, and you can move freely since you don’t have to wear layers. It’s the best season to traverse Kuliouou Ridge Trail for families and beginners to try their skills and enjoy the view from the top. But remember to bring lots of hydration and sun protection to protect yourself from possible harm from high temperatures. 

Hiking Kuliouou Ridge in Winter

Winter brings snow to Hawaii, but not in all places, only in its highest peaks, namely the Mauna Kea, Haleakala, and Mauna Loa. You can still expect temperature drops, especially as you ascend during the hike, so layering will be helpful to keep you comfortable. You must also be extra careful since the condensation makes the trail muddy and slippery. A pair of hiking shoes with excellent grip is necessary, and when in doubt, carrying a trekking pole will be a wise move. We don’t recommend it for family hikes where you’re tagging with small kids during winter. 

Hiking the Kuliouou Ridge Trail

Kuliouou Ridge trail outside Honolulu in Hawaii

Both the Kuliouou Ridge trail and the Kuliouou Valley Trail are out-and-back trails, meaning you will have to retrace your way back the way you came. Now there’s a way to make a loop trail making it a 6-mile journey overall. This one is only for experienced hikers since some spots get really technical (more on that in a bit!).

Whatever trail you choose, you’ll be rewarded with diverse forestation and fantastic views of Oahu’s east and south shores, Koko Head, and Ko’olau Mountain Range. And if at any time you find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere, just keep your eyes peeled for pink ribbons that indicate the trails. 

Kuliouou Ridge Trail

  • Length: 4.7 Miles, Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Duration: 3-4 Hours
  • Elevation: 1776 Feet
  • Fee: Free
  • Open Hours: 24 Hours

You’ll find the start of your journey past a yellow gate at the cul-de-sac of the neighborhood. It’s a dead end, so there’s no missing it. And remember, just because the gates are closed doesn’t mean you can’t get in. You can. As soon as you get in, there’s a fork. Stick to the dirt path on the left until there’s another junction, left to the Valley Trail and the right for Kuliouou Ridge Trail. 

The thick ravine and trees offer plenty of protection from the sun, but of course, it also means you need to be mindful of your footing since plenty of roots might trip you up. 

After a few switchbacks, you’ll begin noticing the elevation gain before you reach a sheltered rest stop where you can catch a breath of fresh air and have a bite before proceeding. You can sit there and see how steep the trail will be, so recharge your energy properly!

As you push forward, pines and roots are your best friends. There are also sections where you must duck down with branches on the way. Don’t rush. Take as many rests as needed. The overlook isn’t going anywhere (unless you aim for sunset/sunrise). The trail will start giving small open views of the ocean. 

Now, as soon as you reach the infamous stairs, the game changes. It’s a non-stop incline, so do it at a comfortable pace. Enjoy the breeze, and savor the view by hiking to the top of Kuliouou Ridge Trail with wildflowers on both sides guiding your way. 

Once you reach the summit, you can bask in the beauty of Koko Head, Diamond Head Crater, the ocean, and the town proper below. If you have the skills for it, you can scramble your way through some rocky sections to take pictures. 

After resting, picture taking, and enjoying the vistas, you can go back to the way you came or extend your journey to a loop to Pu’u O’Kona overlook. 

Kuliouou Ridge-Pu’u O’Kona Loop Trail

  • Length: 5 Miles, Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Duration: 3-4 Hours
  • Elevation: 1800 Feet
  • Fee: Free
  • Open Hours: 24 Hours

Now, this is no place for kids, beginners, and people fearing heights. Although you can take it as your route back from the Kuliouou Ridge overlook, we recommend that you do it the other way around, clockwise. 

At the beginning of the trail, almost everything’s the same as the Kuliouou Ridge Trail. But you will need your hands to cling onto branches to stop yourself from slipping within the first mile of the hike before reaching the open ridge section of the hike. 

There are steep and tricky sections with ropes to help you ascend or descend without slipping. Remember, before trusting your life to these ropes, give it a powerful tug to ensure it’s still properly anchored. 

After conquering the ropes, you’ll be welcomed with a 270-degree view of the island. Some of the landmarks you’ll notice are Rabbit Island, Koko Head and Crater, the Kualoa Ranch, Chinaman’s Hat, and the Mokes. 

After a couple of miles of hiking, you’ll reach the overlook with the ridge’s entire view. As you descend to the Kuliouou Ridge Trail, you must be extra careful since the trail is pretty thin, with hundreds of feet of dropoff on both sides. Grip the rope properly so you don’t risk any accidents. Finally, you’ll be at the Kuliouou Ridge viewpoint and follow its trail to get back to the trailhead.

Caution: We only recommend this loop trail to experts. The whole first part of the hike before reaching Kuliouou Ridge is surrounded by overgrown plants ranging from waist to overhead high, making it difficult to see the trail itself. Wear pants to avoid scratches, and just skip this hike altogether if it rained the day before. 

Kuliouou Valley Trail

  • Length: 3 Miles, Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 1 Hour
  • Elevation: 350 Feet
  • Fee: Free
  • Open Hours: 24 Hours

The easiest of the three, the Kuliouou Valley Trail, only needs roughly an hour to complete with minimal elevation without taking away much of nature’s beauty. You’ll cross a couple of streams (depending on the season), and a thick ravine mainly surrounds the entire hike. You ducking down due to low-hanging branches and trunks is also to be expected. 

Unlike its neighboring trails, the Valley hike ends with a marker. Nothing special. But you will appreciate the peace, surrounded by nature with the birds singing. We even saw some families with their babies in a backpack and small kids finishing it. So if you don’t think the Kuliouou Ridge Trail is achievable for you and your family, a quick adventure here is a good alternative.

Traveling with Family?
Read our Family Travel Tips

25 Family Travel Tips to Slow Down
The Lightweight Family Vacation Packing List
Why put a Crayon in your Wallet when traveling
5 Best Travel Baby Monitors – Review

Can you hike Kuliouou Ridge with Kids?

Older kids will find it manageable hiking the Kuliouou Ridge Trail. But with the challenging makeshift steps, bringing kids might not be a good idea. But good thing there’s a child-friendly hiking option that still offers adventure and views for both the kids and the kids at heart. 

Kid Friendly Trails

-Kuliouou Valley Trail

Where to Stay in the Area

View from Kuliouou Ridge trail

Stay close to Kuliouou Ridge Trail and stay in one of these accommodations roughly half an hour away:

Other Activities in the Area

If you’re still searching for additional items to your itinerary, here are more things you can do to supplement your Kuliouou Ridge Trail:

Atlantis Submarine Waikiki

Diving a hundred feet underwater, the Atlantis Submarine tour is the best way to experience the marine world without getting wet. See green turtles, sharks, and more safely. The tour also passes by shipwrecks and other artificial structures packed with marine life. It’s an excellent family activity while in Oahu. 

Cliff Jumping

Cliff jumping is popular for thrill seekers. The nearby Spitting Caves, China Walls, and Haloma Blowhole are the daredevils’ paradise. But if you’ve never tried it, plenty of cliff-jumping spots in Oahu can accommodate your skill and fear level. However, you do this activity at your own risk. So assess your situation properly before proceeding. 

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

The first of its kind in Hawaii, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a hotspot for snorkeling due to its diverse marine ecosystem. Currently, with a $25 entrance fee, you can lavish in the warm and calm turquoise waters with plenty of fish, reefs, and other underwater wildlife. They are operational and open to everyone from 6:45 AM to 2 PM daily, and you must make reservations in advance. 

Cockroach Cove

Free from crowds, this little piece of serenity next to Halona Blowhole is a peaceful escape accessible from Hwy 72. Its name is very deceiving. This paradise is in no way close in description to its bug counterpart. 

It’s also known as Eternity Beach, inspired by the 1953 movie From Here to Eternity Beach, or you might hear people call it Halona Cove. Don’t swim way far from the shelter of the cove since the waves are pretty powerful outside. And if you decide to climb up the rocks, make sure you’re wearing grippy and reliable footwear. 

Shave Ice at Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha

Get your shaved ice from this local favorite. Nothing beats a refreshing treat after a hike. Even more so, it’s all healthy- organic and homemade. Try out the creaminess of their signature flavors: Classic Rainbow and Strawberry Dream. You can also build-you-own for a more fun and fulfilling shave ice experience. 

Malasada from Leonard’s Bakery

Hawaii’s first, Leonardo’s Bakery, has been serving malasadas since 1953. These fried doughnuts don’t have a hole in the middle and are coated with confectionery. You can choose the filling: custard, choco, guava, macadamia nuts, and coconut. Don’t miss out on the yummy blueberry ones! It will also make a delectable hike snack, so why not grab some before your journey! 

Kuliouou Ridge Trail Packing Checklist

Here’s a quick list of essential things to make your hike as comfortable and safe as possible:

  • Backpack: A comfortable backpack with around 20-30 liters capacity should be sufficient for this day hike.
  • Water: Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout the hike. Bring at least 2 liters of water per person.
  • Food: Pack energy-boosting snacks like trail mix, energy bars, fresh fruit, or sandwiches for a quick bite. You can also pack a light lunch for more energy and flavor. 
  • Hiking Shoes: Choose a sturdy, comfortable, and grippy pair to navigate the slippery, steep, and uneven trail. 
  • Clothes: Moisture-wicking and breathable hiking shirt or t-shirt
  • Lightweight, quick-drying hiking pants or shorts
  • Rainwear
  • Extra layers like a lightweight fleece or sweater in case of cooler temperatures
  • Sunscreen with a high SPF
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Hat or bandana
  • Insect Repellent
  • First Aid Kit: Pack band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, blister treatment, and any personal medications you may require.
  • Trail map or guidebook
  • Compass
  • A GPS device or smartphone with offline maps
  • Whistle for signaling
  • Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
  • Waterproof matches or lighter
  • Emergency blanket
  • ID card and/or driver’s license
  • Cash or credit card
  • Cell phone

Optional Extras:

  • Trekking poles for extra stability and support
  • Binoculars for bird watching or enjoying the scenic views
  • Portable phone charger or power bank
  • Camera 

Remember to check the weather forecast before your hike and adjust your packing list as needed. It’s also important to let people you trust know about your plans for safety purposes. 

Kuliouou Ridge Trail Reviews for Families

“Before we begin, I want to stress that YOU know what is best for your family. My kids are 4 and 7, and did this hike without any problems. BUT, they are both pretty avid hikers since they tag along with me a lot. I know several other kids who I would not feel are ready for a hike at this difficulty level-some adults as well.”


“The place has two trail. One of them is ridge trail which is very hard, but another one, valley hike is easy for young kids. The hike is waking almost all flat area, just tiny up and down hill hike. That is why I recommend to beginner and young kids. The place used to have tiny river but when we went there, we could not see the one. Good light walking exercise with kids.”

Review from Parent on Tripadvisor

“A must for hiking on Oahu. Could have brought our kids along on this one but thought it would be more challenging than it was. Passed a group of hikers going up that had a baby and two small children and they did make it to the top so I know it’s doable for the young ones just take your time!”

Parent Review on Yelp

“My family and I tried to do this hike with our two kids, one is 5 the other is 1. The one year old was obviously carried, but the 5 yr old made the trek.”

Parent Review on Yelp

“It’s a long way up! Lots of different terrain. We brought our 7 year old daughter and she really didn’t have a fun time or even enjoy the top. So, if you have children, this may not be the hike for them. It’s quite the workout! I am still sore from the hike, and it’s been almost a week. It took us about 4 hours round trip with a lot of stopping. Go early in the morning when it’s cooler. BRING A LOT OF WATER and something to refuel on. The view is incredible!”

Review from Parent on Tripadvisor

“…I believe valley is a lot easier and more suitable for debutants or families. We opted for the ridge hike We did it with a 9 months baby in a baby carrier. To anyone who would ask me if I recommend it with a baby, I would answer it clearly depend of your hiking level as it is an intermediate hike. If you never hiked it is clearly not a good idea to bring your little one there as it can get a little challenging and very steep at times.”

Review from Parent on Tripadvisor

“I absolutely love this hike! It’s not too difficult, mostly shaded and the forests change about 3 times while walking up. The view at the top is breathtaking and you usually get a nice cool breeze. My 10 and 7 year old kids love this hike as well.”

Parent Review on Yelp

Traveling with Family?
Read our Family Travel Tips

80+ Road Trip Snacks for Kids
Things to do on a car trip for a teenager
The Lightweight Family Beach Vacation Packing List


When is the best time to Hike Kuliouou Ridge Trail?

Summer is the best time to hike since Kuliouou Ridge Trail is easier to follow. You can also catch the most beautiful sunrise and sunset at the summit. 

Learn more in our guide on Hiking the Kuliouou Ridge Trail.

How long does it take to hike Kuliouou Ridge Trail?

It will take between 3 and 4 hours to complete the journey at Kuliouou Ridge trail, depending on your pace. 

Learn more in our guide on Hiking the Kuliouou Ridge Trail.

Is Kuliouou Ridge Trail a difficult hike? 

The trail is moderately difficult. If you’re in reasonably good shape, you can tackle it with no problem.

Learn more in our guide on Hiking the Kuliouou Ridge Trail.

Can you hike Kuliouou Ridge with Kids? 

If you’re regularly tagging with your kids on your hikes, they probably have the skills to hike Kuliouou Ridge Trail easily. It’s also an excellent challenge for tweens and teenagers. But if your child has never hiked, we recommend taking the more accessible Valley Trail instead.

Learn more in our guide on Hiking the Kuliouou Ridge Trail.