New hikes: Kolowalu and Puu Pia Trails in Manoa

Caroline about half way up the Kolowalu Trail in Manoa.

I admit that I'm a creature of habit.  While Caroline has walked or run on every street in upper Manoa, I have my 1-3 routes, usually ending up on the Manoa Falls Trail, one of the most popular and accessible trails on Oahu.  When running to the falls (about a 7 mile run), we like to leave about 8 AM so that we don't have to dodge around many hikers.


Running down the Manoa Falls Trail is easier than running up!

Yesterday, we were considering an early evening run, so Caroline suggested that we take a hike on a couple of trails that we always pass and had never hiked, the Kolowalu Trail and the Puu Pia Trail.  Both of these trails are "short" (between 1-1.5 miles to the end) but they are STEEP!  With an eye on the weather (we anticipated rain), we took our hydration packs, snacks, and walking sticks and started up the Kolowalu Trail first, supposedly the steepest of the 2 trails (1100 feet elevation change over 1 mile).  With the white-rumped shama egging us on, we climbed over rocks and tree roots and went up, and up, until we reached the ridge where the trail meets another coming over from Palolo Valley (Wa‘ahila Ridge). I was spooked by the rainclouds coming in, so we didn't linger at the top, and headed back down.  We saw 4 other people on this hike, so the trail is not crowded.


Some sections of the trail were "Are you kidding me?" steep.

Which side of this tree looks the safest to pass?

The top of the maintained trail at Wa‘ahila Ridge... but you can keep going to Mt. Olympus.

After we returned to the trailhead, we could immediately start on the Puu Pia Trail (400 feet elevation change). Again, there were some very steep sections, and the rain actually hit us this time when we got to the top.  That made the descent slower as you tried to navigate the least muddy, yet stable, footing.







Upper Manoa to the left, and Lyon Arboretum to the right, in the rain.


I may be soaking wet, but, hey, it's Hawaii!


Puu Pia Trail.

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