Oʻahu Hike We Like: Kuli‘ou‘ou Valley Trail
Need a quick workout? This lush trail in East Honolulu is perfect for the beginner hiker.
Editor’s Note: We love hiking! Fortunately, O‘ahu is full of great hikes. In this web series, we bring you our favorite O‘ahu trails.
TRAIL NAME: Kuli‘ou‘ou Valley Trail
LENGTH: 3 miles round trip
WHERE: Kala‘au Place
Hiking can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Keep your personal fitness in mind, always check the weather and go with a friend or family member if possible. Note that this trail also traverses a hunting area so keep dogs leashed and wear bright clothing.
PHOTOS: JENNIFER ADAMS
The trail begins at the cul-de-sac at the end of Kala‘au Place. You should see a yellow gate and a large tree. Stick to the left.
There is a nicely paved path that will take you to a boot brush and a sign, creating a mini fork in the road. Keep right, on the mountainous terrain. I accidentally kept going on the paved path and it led me to the water reservoir tank. Whoops!
This trail leads to another sign about 0.1 miles in, and another boot brush. Make sure you take the valley trail. The main difference between the valley and the ridge trail is that the latter takes about three hours longer and is a bit more difficult. Could be fun but if you’re looking for a short hike, the valley is the way to go.
Along the valley trail, there are a ton of trees. Keep your head down and an eye out for low-hanging branches. Most of the trail is on a slightly upward incline; the many rocks along the path can serve as “steps.” We got in a good leg-day workout.
In the last 10 minutes of the trail are tree branches—and sometimes entire trees—you’ll have to duck under. Once you make it past these, you’ll know you’re almost at the end.
The end of the trail is marked by a sign before a thicker stretch of trees. I’ve heard there’s supposed to be a creek past the sign, but the area seemed pretty dry despite recent rain.
It took me around an hour round-trip to complete this hike. Most people in the area were hiking the ridge, so don’t worry about it being crowded.
SEE ALSO: Oʻahu Hike We Like: Koko Crater Trail
Although the view at the end is nothing too spectacular, there are some trees that create a peaceful ambience. When I finally got to the end, I heard birds chirping, which made it feel like I was miles away from the city.
Overall, this hike is nice if you’re looking to get some light exercise. If you’re like me and got out of shape during quarantine, this hike is perfect for when you want to start working out again but can’t exactly run up the steps of Koko Crater. And the hike itself is completely shaded. Great for summer!
- Watch your step! There are some tree roots that are easy to trip over.
- Get there early. Neighborhood parking fills up quickly, so consider an early start to beat the crowds. I went on a Sunday around 10 a.m. and parking on Kala‘au was completely full. I had to park a few streets down the hill and walk about 10 minutes to the beginning of the trail.
- Bring a bottle of water.
Map & Directions
Follow Kuli‘ou‘ou Road almost all the way to the back of Kuli‘ou‘ou Valley, then turn right on Kala‘au Place. A yellow gate marks the start of the trail.