Hawaiian Trail & Mountain Club

Trails

Olomana

5.2 miles / Ridge / Advanced

Overview

Olomana is a three-peaked monolithic land mass that is separated from the Koolau ridge line. Olomana resides in Maunawili Valley with a panoramic view of the windward coast, Kailua, Waimanalo, and Kaneohe to the east and a great view behind of Mt. Olympus, Lanipo, Puu o Kona, and Konahuanui. In his book “The Hikers Guide to Oahu”, Stuart Ball calls Olomana “Oahu’s Matterhorn”. Climbing to the first and second peaks are somewhat challenging and is considered an intermediate hike, going all the way to the third peak is a good deal more difficult and dangerous; it is rated an advanced hike.

Of the three peaks, the first is the highest, clearest, and affords the best panoramic view of the windward coast. From this vantage point atop the first peak, the impressive sharpness of the third peak is plainly visible in the distance.

In the foreground is the second peak with a nice shaded area. It requires about 15 minutes to reach the second peak from the first. Proceed down the hump across the saddle and climb the second peak. This spot provides excellent views and a shady spot for lunch and is a good spot to end Olomana hike.

For those who are adventurous, determined, and capable, the third peak provides a nice challenge. It takes about an hour to reach the third peak from the second. Descend steeply down the precipitous back side of the second peak down at least three hundred feet. This is not for the acrophobic or the faint of heart–also keep in mind that you will have to climb back up this steep slope on the return trip. Test any cable or rope carefully–they are not maintained. At the bottom of the saddle, begin the ascent of the third peak along a very narrow ridge with severe drop offs on both sides. There is a large walled dike section with a “keyhole” in it that you must circumnavigate very carefully. Next you will encounter a steep rocky face with a cable to assist you. The trail contours along the mountain-facing side of the peak and slowly regains the ridgeline. After contouring a second time, you will then reach a rock face with a ledge Typically, there is a cable there to assist you. Once you pass this point, just a few more minutes is needed for you to conquer the third peak of Olomana.

Keep in mind that no matter how far you go (first, second or third peak), you will have return the same way you came. Climbing back from the third peak to the second, and back from the second peak to the first are nice heart-pounders. The entire hike to and from the third peak probably takes 5 hours depending on your level of conditioning and the amount of time you spend admiring the fantastic views.

Directions

Turn left off the paved road where the sign indicates and follow the trail as it begins to ascend a small spur to the ridge line. The trail here is rooty and may be muddy. Soon you will see an abandoned building as the trail turns to the left. Further up you will enter an open intersection with a large water pipe where you will turn right and proceed up the ridgeline to the first peak. Your first major rest stop is a large stand of ironwood trees that provide shade and a good opportunity to rehydrate. As you continue you will reach the an open rock face that has several metal rebars hammered into the rock and a long cable to assist you in your assent. Further up the trail is a steep large rock outcropping and shortly you will be at the top of the first peak with its excellent views.

Hazards

  • Sections of this hike require very steep climbs.
  • Narrow crossings are required with sheer drop-offs to one or both sides. Extreme and excessive caution is advised especially in rain or during windy or blustery conditions.
  • Test all ropes, cables, and straps before using them. There is NO assurance on any of their conditions–they are NOT maintained. Use at your own risk and avoid placing your entire weight on them.
  • This hike demands a lot of energy . Be sure to have sufficient water ( minimum of 2-3 liters).