Hiking at Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area

Hiking at Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area

The Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Arealets you enjoy some wildland trails and picnicking underneath Cook pine trees. When you reach the top of the forested ridge, an impressive display of the Palolo and Manoa valleys opens up for you to see. The reserve also provides some challenging trails for the entire family to enjoy.

Although the length of the Wa’ahilia Ridge Trail is only 2.4 miles round trip, it can be a steep trail at times. This experience quickly takes you out of the city as you travel through the thickly wooded area, trees standing tall as they point toward the sky.

What to Expect on the Wa’ahila Ridge Trail

When you get to the parking lot at the Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area, you’re already at a considerable elevation. As you start hiking up the train, the Palolo Valley is on your right, while the Manoa is on the left.

There isn’t a clear up-and-down while progressing along the trail. You’ll change elevations several times as you work toward the ridge summit. Several rocky obstacles stand in your way as you journey forward, sometimes with suddenly steep and deep downward stretches to navigate.

Think of the Wa’ahila Ridge Trail as more of a scramble than a hike to gauge whether you’re ready for the experience.

Take Note of the Ohia Trees While You Walk

One of the best features of a visit to the Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area is the proclivity of the ohia trees. Their gnarly branches offer particularly beautiful firecracker blooms. Several koa trees are along the hike, their sickle-shaped leaves contributing to the lush greenery that stretches out before you.

Several guava saplings have appeared along the Wa’ahilia Ridge Trail in recent years – an invasive species that produce deep, red berries. You can pick firm fruits to enjoy along the trail, although they’re full of seeds.

You’ll reach a flat meadow right before the ridge trail meets up with the Kolowalu Trail, a step trek into the Manoa Valley that adds another mile to your adventure. Many families stay at the summit to enjoy the picnic area and its 360-degree views. You can see all of the way to Diamond Head from this rest area during a clear day.

Information to Consider Before Your Hike

  • Keep track of the weather reports before your trip to the Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area. You will be high enough that storms could be dangerous if they blow through while you are on the trail.
  • Even if the weather is cool, pack plenty of sunscreen. You burn faster than expected while hiking here.
  • Don’t go beyond the summit past the trail junction with the Kolowalu as that area is a restricted watershed.
  • Dogs are permitted if they are kept on a leash. You must pack out what you bring in during your day on the trail.
  • Mountain biking is not permitted on this particular trail, and open fires are forbidden.
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