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Pu’u Hapapa

#1

This trail starts at the base of the Waianae Range on Schofield Barracks.

#2

Coming up the ridge, paper bark trees will indicate where to make your ascent.

#3

Certain times of the year, the views are green and lush.

#4

While crossing a huge notch, be sure to look back and see this perfectly framed view.

We went up a ridge that has two notches and came back down the same way. The hike is relatively short (at around 4 miles round trip) and offers beautiful views of the entire island.

UPDATE 1/28/2014: I’ve heard that this trail is now considered off-limits. Please be aware that access to the trail is very difficult if not impossible. 

#5

This is the trailhead. Enter the forest here and follow the trail.

#6

The trail will take you to a series of wooden steps.#7

You get elevation fast on this trail.

#8

You’ll know you’re on the right path when you see Kolekole Pass Rock. (I’ve already walked past the rock and am looking back at it in the picture above.)

#9

Follow the trail further and you’ll come to a clearing with this tower. Justin (pictured above) tells me that this is a cell phone tower. He’s actually had to climb to the top for work.

#10

Pass the tower and you’ll come to this fork. Go left.

#11

At the next fork, go left again. (I took this photo on our return trip back down the mountain.)

#12

You’ll eventually pop out of the woods to this clearing. Cory points at one of the notches in the ridge we’ll have to negotiate.

#13

If you walk to the edge of this meadow here you’ll be treated to some superb views.

#14

Walk past the field and follow the trail back into the woods.

#15

And soon you’ll be up on the fantastic ridgeline.

#16

Keep and eye out for this spot. The trail will switch back, but we found it easier to shortcut up the slope here.

#17

You want to get to this ridgeline of paper bark trees.

#18

When you come out of the trees you’ll be treated to views of central Oahu and Waianae.

#19

This is the first notch. The dirt trail leads you up the left side of it. Those that are more daring, can scramble up the middle over the rocks.

#20

I wanted to do this hike to see some views of the Kolekole Pass. It’s a saddle in the Waianae Range that allows the military to drive straight from Central Oahu to the West Side.

#21

At the top of the first notch, I was treated to a nice view of the pass.

#22

The second notch follows directly after.

#23

All that notch crossing gets you thirsty.

#24

And now, it’s on to the peak of Pu’u Hapapa.

#25

Goat fences were installed closer to the top. Once you see them, you’ll know you’re almost there.

#26

You get some super nice views from up here. From this peak, you can see Diamond Head, Haleiwa, Waianae and all of Central Oahu. Pretty neat.

#27

After hanging out at the summit for 45 minutes or so we made out way back down. You can make this trail a loop by taking a different ridge down, but we opted to go down the same way we came up.

#28

This of course meant we had to cross those notches again. (It’s always easier going up than going down.) The second notch wasn’t too bad.

#29

But this first notch … this one was a little hairy.

#30

Now you could, and probably should go down the dirt trail toward the left side of this photo. But, we didn’t. Slipping here would’ve sucked.

#31

As you near the bottom of this ridge there’s a fork. The right for would’ve taken us back to that paper bark tree ridge. To mix things up we went left.

#32

We ended coming down this slope.

#33

That slope met up with the main trail which then led us back to that cell tower and back to the cars.

#34

And since we were already close to the North Shore, we picked up some food and hit the beach.

Tips:

  • Give yourself four hours for this hike.
  • Remember to make sure you have your insurance card, registration and an up to date safety check sticker on your car.
  • Two liters of water should be fine, unless it’s really hot.
  • Waianae Range hikes tend to be more tolerable in cooler months.

See also:

This story was last modified on January 28, 2014. (Originally published in May 2011.)

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