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Best Hikes On Oahu: The Ualaka’a Trail

Basic Information

  • Name: Ualaka’a Trail
  • Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Cost: Free
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 213 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 30 min – 1 hour
  • More Information: Division of State Parks website

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Topographical Map of the Ualaka’a Trail

Ualakaa Trail Map

GPS Map of the Ualaka’a Trail

Ualakaa Map

Ualaka’a Trail Narrative

For anyone looking for some good family friendly hikes in the Honolulu area I highly recommend checking out Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park.  This park is located on an extinct cinder cone volcano known locally as Mt. Tantalus that rises up above Honolulu:

The easiest way to get to the park is by taking Round Top Drive where after a sharp turn the entrance sign to Ualaka’a State Park can be seen:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

After driving a short distance through a grove of tall eucalyptus trees the parking area for the Ualaka’a Trail is easily spotted on the right side of the road:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Here is what the parking area looks like when viewed from the trail:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

There was parking for about 8-10 vehicles in the lot.  Immediately across the parking area is the well signed trailhead:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

One of the reason l decided to hike the Ualaka’a Trail is because I had my three year old son and six year old daughter with me.  I don’t like to take my three year old on rough trails and this one was perfect for little kids since it was well maintained the entire way:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Something we noticed by the end of this hike is that there are a lot of intersections that are require hikers to follow various signs to remain on the loop trail.  At the first intersection shortly after starting the hike we followed this sign to Round Top Drive:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

As we walked towards Round Top Drive we passed the first of many large banyan trees we would see on this short hike:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

We next reached the road and were careful to cross it because this road can be busy with drivers more often than not having their eyes on the amazing scenery and not looking for random hikers stepping out of the rainforest.  After crossing the road we found ourselves in a little parking area with a concrete trash can:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

In this parking area we spotted the next trail sign and followed it into the rainforest:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

On the trail we next ran into the unusually curved tree:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

We then came to an intersection where we went up a short side trail that provided a nice view of the world famous Diamond Head Crater:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

You can read more about my previous hike up Diamond Head at the below link:

After taking in the view we then walked back to the intersection that led once again to Round Top Drive:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

At the road there was a sign we followed that forced us to walk along the side of the road:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Once again we used extreme caution here because there was little room on the shoulder of the road and cars we speeding by.  We soon saw the trail across the street from us:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Once we safely crossed the street we continued to follow the trail signs:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

We then came to another banyan tree and this one actually had a tunnel cut through it for hikers to pass through:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

After the banyan tree the trail was an easy walk through the rainforest:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

We next came to a four way trail intersection that had a few benches for hikers to rest on:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

At the intersection we sat down and I gave my kids snacks and water to drink.  They were having a great time and after finishing their snacks we then followed the Ualaka’a Trail sign back towards the parking lot:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

The trail was once again in great shape:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

We came to yet another banyan tree that had another tunnel cut into it:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

We then passed by a grove of very large Norfolk pine trees:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Conclusion

Shortly after passing by the grove of trees we reached the first trail intersection again and walked down to my truck completing the hike.  It took us about an hour to complete the hike moving at the speed of a three year old.  My kids had a great time, especially with all the tree tunnels on this trail.  This is really a great hike for anyone looking for a simple hike for little kids.  I look forward to exploring more of the trail on Mt. Tantalus with my kids in the future.

2 Comments
  1. Dobbs

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