Hike Difficulty (Overall) : Intermediate – This cardio workout is a three-mile hike to the summit, six-mile total to head back. Have plenty of water on you and know that high humidity, rain, and muddy conditions are common in the winter months (November – April).Summer brings high humidity and intense heat often in excess of 85 degrees so shade and cover is essential to avoid early exhaustion.
Accessibility: Gated Community with Limited (10 parking spaces)Time to Complete: About 4 hours for larger groups, slower hikers.
Suitability for Kids/Dogs: Yes, but note that the valley is a hunting ground, so be warned of hunters and their canines. Hunting dogs are vicious and can often attack anything due to poor hunting practices of the island. Most will never experience an encounter.
Directions: Heading from Town, Take H-1 East until it becomes Kalanianaole Highway. Pass two lights (Ainakoa and Kalaniki St’s), then left on the third. This will be Laukahi St. Head straight up the mountain until you get to the Waialae Iki 5 Community entrance and gatehouse. This private community accommodates hikers through controlled access. The gatehouse requires ID (state, driver’s license, or military ID) from which you will be allowed a parking pass up top. From there, they provide directions, but it is simply straight up the road, then turn left and continue up at the T-section to the end of Okoa St. Park in the shaded areas at the trail entrance or use overflow on a paved lot if you’d rather not risk mud. DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR CAR.
After a little over a mile trek, you will exit an access road of mud and gravel. The trailhead will be on the right following a water tank. Begin under shade of thin koa trees and strawberry guava. Some larger non-indigenous pines will also grace your skyward gaze, as well as some ironwood trees. The later portions of the hike beyond a notable checkpoint swing will be blanketed and spiky uluhe. Wear something to cover your legs unless you want to get scratched. Ferns and steep, open inclines and recycled plastic staircases have been built along the ridge climb up to ease your effort, but this is sometimes daunting due to the steep angles and heat.
Our group headed up the road to the trailhead.
You will continue up the ridge until you reach the electric power station, a total gain of around 1300 feet in a little under two hours. From the station, there is another summit offering a beautiful eyeful of the eastern shores, iconic Olomana peaks, and the Mokapu islet. Reference Na Ala Hele’s link here for more info:
Note: This private community and the whole of Hawaii is under state liability laws. Injuries and accidents on trails don’t just ruin the hike for the few involved, but could result in permanent closure for all who would love to enjoy the scenic views of this mountainous wonder. Keep our lands open by never hiking alone, and always having a plan. If injured, don’t be afraid to call 9-1-1 as Koko Head Fire Department are a little less than 20 minutes away. Better to come out alive than not at all.
Description: Around 1983, the Waialae Iki 5 community sprung up as a private residential Diamondhead venue. The power companies had laced along the ridges these large power lines which would require ocassional maintenance. As the Waialae Iki trail molded along the maintenance route, Na Ala Hele alongside HTMC and Sierra Club took efforts to build a safer access while leaving the natural aesthetic of the open ridge. Efforts included the introduction of recycled plastic black stairs at the steeper of the portions, located at the end of all trails along the eastern ridges.
These steep gains ranged from 450 ft to 600 ft in a matter of one hundred yards on some trails, so footing and safe grip was paramount. The trail evolves with each passing year due to the high rain effects, erosion, as well as the standard wear and tear of any outdoor path. Be careful of rain and be sure to check out some very cool geocaches along the way!
This cool swing sits right at the beginning of the first climb to the hike. There may be more to it than just swinging!
Views of Diamondhead and Waialae Iki.
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