The Wiliwilinui trail is tucked back in a gated community in Hawaii Kai. It is a very well maintained path and all you need to do is collect a parking pass from the gate guard before you begin. This hike is 2.5 miles long and takes about 2 hours to complete.
Take H-1 to Hawaii Kai until H-1 turns into Kalanianaole Highway. Turn left on Laukahi Street and follow the road until you approach Waialae Iki subdivision guard station. The guard will have you sign in (make sure to bring your license!) and provide you with a parking pass and parking directions. Try to arrive early as there are limited parking spots and on a clear day the hike is sure to be packed.
The trail entrance for this hike is a few feet away from the designated parking area and is easily accessible. The path isn’t narrow and the first mile or so is a paved path that leads to a gravel path and tapers off to a dirt path right before you ascent the ridge.
Once you reach the first clearing you will start to see some of the beautiful views this hike has to offer. You will encounter a series of plastic steps placed on the hike to help with the steeper parts. The steps are also used to prevent erosion from rain and the constant trail-goers.
The last half mile or so of the hike is the steepest and perhaps most difficult part of the trail. In addition to the steps on this section of the trail there are ropes that can assist with hoisting yourself up (especially if it’s been raining).
After the last stretch you will reach the Koolau summit. There will be a single bench at the summit where the Wiliwilinui trail ends. To the left of the summit is trail head that will take you on another ridge to Lanipo and Mt. Olympus. To the right of the summer is another trail head that will take you towards Makapuu. So if this hike left you wanting something more feel free to keep trekkin’.
If you hike on a clear day you will have a stunning view of east Honolulu. Olomana (3 peaks) will be facing you and the back will be views of Koko Crater, Diamond Head, and Waiks. We got caught in the clouds this time around but welcomed the cool breeze and the fresh smell of rain.
This is an awesome hike to bring visitors who may not be accustomed to hiking because it provides some of the better views of the east side without the strenuous climbing of some of the other ridges. It’s also a great work out!