My husband had a 3 day weekend which is extremely rare for our family. So, when we woke up and he said he wanted to go on a family hike I was SO excited! I could see from my hiking friends’ posts that it was an unusually clear day and I just couldn’t wait to get outside and hit the trails!
Hiking rumor had it that the other islands were visible so I wanted to pick a trail where we could witness that for ourselves! I also wanted to selfishly take advantage of our family hike opportunity and make it a nice, long hike!
I settled on Kuliouou Ridge.
5 hours (with kids and stopping for geocaches, snacks and pictures)
3-4 hours (without kids and going at a steady pace)
1945′ elevation climb
I have completed it once prior and attempted it once prior but had to turn back due to the weather and safety with having a large group of kids with us. Today, was going to be amazing…I just knew it!
Before we begin, I want to stress that YOU know what is best for your family. My kids are 4 and 7 and did this hike without any problems. BUT, they are both pretty avid hikers since they tag along with me a lot. I know several other kids who I would not feel are ready for a hike at this difficulty level-some adults as well. Read through this entire post before you decide if your kids are up for it.
That being said…
We got out of the house and made it to the trail head around 11:30am. We grabbed a little lunch on the drive since we knew it was a long hike and we didn’t want to mess with packing a picnic.
This hike begins in a residential area. Be mindful of the people who live there and please be quiet and courteous as you will be parking in front of their homes for several hours.
At the trailhead, you will see a paved path which is where you will begin this journey. Almost immediately, you will see a sign and a dirt path leading you off to the right.
Following the path to the right of this sign, you will soon see another sign directing you either left (to the Kuliouou Valley hike) or right (to the Kuliouou Ridge hike). Take another right here to do the ridge hike.
This is a very easy hike to follow. You will see a few pink ribbons along the way to help guide you. But, for the most part, just follow the path.
There are several switchbacks…like so many you would lose track if you tried to count!
Some people are tempted to cut through and make “short cuts.” This always makes my heart cringe because it is so detrimental to our natural plants. Not only does this trample the plants growing, but your shoes can transport hazardous seeds etc which can have negative effects on the trail. STAY ON THE TRAIL!
If you are a geocacher like I am, you will be excited to know there are a few cache’s on this hike! It was a fun thing to do while on this hike! Keep your eyes open!
One of things I enjoy most about this hike is how it goes from a lush jungle to an evergreen forest. If you are quiet, you can hear so many birds chirping and there is a beautiful scent of floral as you travel along. Take it all in and enjoy your stroll.
Once you get past all of those really fun switchbacks, you will enter an open area of pine trees. Be looking for a sign which will point you in the right direction. This part is a little hard to follow since the path isn’t really distinct. You will be walking on pine straw, so watch for what looks the most traveled on follow that.
Before long, you will see a nice covered picnic area. It’s a great spot to stop and rest before the most grueling part of the hike begins. If you have small children, this would be a good spot to turn around after a picnic if you choose to.
After a brief snack, we ventured on up the ridge. Having done this hike before, I was dreading this part of the trail but kept pushing on with the promise of an epic view at the top. It is always worth the climb!
Here is a glimpse of what you fill find…
Last but not least, you will come across a few areas where stairs have been added to help with hiking and to prevent erosion. Don’t let them scare you. Honestly, they are anything but fun. But, I just keep telling myself, “imagine if these stairs weren’t here! This would be so much harder without them!” By the time I am halfway up, I am actually saying “thank you” to the stairs! Just take your time. If you look behind you, you will start seeing Diamond Head, Koko Head and Haunama Bay!
Here is one of the stair sections. Another hiker counted nearly 300 stairs. The last section is the toughest and almost 200 of those stairs (I didn’t get a picture of those—I think I was in a hurry to just get up there and get it over with!)
Once you reach the top (and catch your breath) you will lose your breath again when you see that view!
You will be soooo happy to see this sign as this marks the end of the trail!
My friends were right! On this clear day, we had a perfect view of atleast 2 of the other Hawaiian islands!
We had a blast taking some fun pictures and refueling with some snacks and water!
After we were finished goofing around, we decided we were finally ready to start our descent down.
And, if you have a blister and “can’t take another step,” you might just luck out and get a ride back down! I’m just glad this didn’t happen until we were already halfway down!
Congrats! You completed Kuliouou Ridge!
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