Wiliwilinui summit
DATE: 5 August, 2010
TOTAL TIME: 3.5 hrs
PARTICIPANTS: “Sunburn” Samantha and Me

Any hike described as the quickest access to the Ko'olau mountain range from the Honolulu side deserved to be checked out by yours truly. So far, the best route I’ve encountered was the Kuli’ou’ou Ridge because it was short, easy, and super rewarding.

I can testify that the Wiliwilinui trail is probably one of the most accessible trails I’ve ever been to. It may even have one of the safest parking areas being in a gated community. You’ll need a parking pass from the guard shack but it’s absolutely no hassle.

"Sunburn" Samantha and me

Branches arch over, providing cool shade
All you trail runners, do I have a trail for you! This is as maintained as any trail can get on Oahu. Half of it is pretty much a huge, super wide dirt road that seems to be regularly groomed by some sort of mini bulldozer we passed. The rest of the trail climbs steep steps and is narrower, but extremely well maintained. There were ropes to aid in some of the steep portions but the climb to the peak was fairly easy, albeit muddy.

As good as any trail can get

Stairs are in place, but rope offers additional help
A functioning radio transceiver tower sits near the end with signs warning us of the possibility of our brain exploding if we neared within three feet of the radio dish. I admit, I don’t know much about microwave transmissions, but how the hell do they know it’s exactly three feet? The summit was … okay. Granted, the weather wasn’t exactly cooperative, but I imagine the view would have been pretty similar to the ones atop many points along the Ko'olau Summit Trail. I looked around to see if any part of the KST would be worth checking out, but came up with a big donut. It’s pretty much more of the same.

Although this is the quickest way to get to the Ko'olau summit, especially on a dry day, it is uninteresting at best. The greatest reward is in the view, but you can get those from other, more interesting hikes. Fail.

Muddy climb to the summit

Up the mountain, away from the ocean

Ko'olau Summit Trail shrouded in clouds

Diamondhead Crater in its entirety

Indifferent to our presence

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