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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.

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This story was last modified on May 5, 2011. (Originally published in May 2011.)

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