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Keaau Ridge

Wiliwili Tree in Keeau, Seen while Hiking in Hawaii#1

We hiked through a beautiful forest on the Leeward side of Oahu.

Hikers on Keaau Ridge, Oahu, Hawaii#2

Following the ridge, we summitted Pu’u Keaau.

Ryan descends Pu'u Keaau Middle Ridge, a Hawaii Hike on Oahu#3

We hiked across a saddle in the ridgeline and descended Keaau Middle Ridge.

Descending from a ridge hike in Hawaii#4

Hiking to the summit of Pu’u Keaau and down the Middle Ridge with: Lei, Chenay, Pete, Chase, Ryan and August. Leeward side of Oahu, Hawaii.

It was a long hike that took most of the day. Keaau is a Hawaii ridge hiker’s dream.

With the heavy rain we had in Hawaii this season, the Waianae Mountains were as green as I’ve ever seen them. It was a perfect time to hike them and my friend Pete had a hike planned.

There are a different ways to hike this area. We did a loop that goes up the front of Pu’u Keaau, turns left (sort of) into a saddle in the ridgeline and then back down Keaau Middle ridge. We were on the trail for something like 8 hours.


Pete knew the trail and lead us up Keaau Ridge. The crew for this hike: Lei, August, Ryan, Chenay, Chase and Pete on this hike.


We started at a stream bed.


Pete lead us through this forest to the base of Pu’u Keaau.


With no real warm up time, we were making our way up the 2,650 foot tall mountain.


The summit of Keaau came into view and we wanted to get to it as quickly as possible.


We got a chance to catch our breadth as we traversed this small foresty area.


And then it was back to climbing.


I don’t think these mountains typically look this green. The cows and goats in Keaau must have been as happy about this site as we were.


Taking advantage of the cooler morning air, we kept pushing up the mountain.


During the hike up, we encountered some protruding dike formations that we had fun scrambling over. We would see a lot more of this later on.


Looking back periodically I could see stunning views of the ocean. I could also wave for Ryan and Lei’s cameras. And I could also give them a break from looking at my butt.


Onward and upward.


Onward and upward.


Onward and upward.


Break time. We were not yet at the summit but we were hungry.


The closer to the top of Pu’u Keaau we were, the more amazing the views were of this incredible ridge.


Rock dike formations abound in these hills.


If your balance is a good as Chenay’s you can peer step out to get a better view. But, not too many people have balance as good as Chenay.


Most of these dikes have contour trails that run beside them. Sometimes we contour, sometimes we climb.


Just a bit more hiking and scrambling and we would be at the top of Keaau.


Chase inspects the dike here to see if it would be better to rock hop or contour around it.


In this case, the contour was the better option.


At the summit of Pu’u Keaau we stopped for lunch.


We then continued along the ridge that dips down into a saddle and then hits Keaau Middle Ridge.


Pete and Chase checked out the geocache. Amongst the items in it was a journal that listed hikers that have passed this mark.


You could see all of Waianae from the top.


The ridge was clear of growth but there were significant drop offs on either side.


We set off to find the junction to Keaau Middle Ridge.


Along the ridge we would pass through shrubbery. Nothing that required bushwhacking though.


And then, a cliff.


There was a trail that lead down the side of the cliff that made it safe to pass.


At this lookout point we broke for a snack.


From here we could look back and see the ridge we had just hiked. This is Pu’u Keaau.


Way off in the distance we could see a waterfall.


We hiked over this red mound to find our trail junction.


Our objective was this peak. To the right of the peak you can see a point. That’s the summit of Ohikilolo. (You can learn about hiking to Ohikilolo on Josh’s 808 Goonies blog.)


We hiked up another red mound.


The spines of the Wainae mountains have a different character than the Kooloaus.


One last scramble and we would be at the peak.


Lunch, part deux.


August and Pete look off into the distance at some hikers they spotted on Ohikilolo.


After a much needed break, spent eating and talking story, we made our way down Keaau Middle Ridge.


Some parts are forested and some are exposed.


There were ropes in place on several sections that help in getting down slippery sections.

Hikers in Hawaii on Keeau Middle Ridge, Oahu Hawaii#49

The middle ridge is a beautiful hike in itself.


After a couple hours of descending down the ridge we were finally on level ground.


We walked down the dirt road passing cows and a huge bull.


It was late afternoon and we were happy to be closer to sea level.


The views we saw on the trail were majestic. Almost as good as seeing your car still in the place you parked it after a long hike.

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This story was last modified on May 12, 2014. (Originally published in April 2012.)

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