A group of three peaks stands tall in the center of a beautiful green valley on the east side of the island of O'ahu in Hawaii. Summiting each peak rewards a 360° view of the Ko'olau mountain range to the west and the beach town of Kailua nestled in a beautiful turqouise bay. While the first of the three peaks is fit for intermediate hikers, the final two require fitness of both mind and body. Rock climbing sections are aided by ropes, but sheer cliffs to either side will thwart those with a fear of heights. If adrenaline is your thing, by all means take this beasty on!
Hike time: 5 hours
Distance: 7.1 miles
Net Elevation Gain: 1,355ft
Park before the guard station on the sides of Loop Road in Kailua. Continue walking from the parking area along Loop Road and you will pass a guard station. There you can get current information on weather, tips, and the trail itself. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the trailhead.
From the trailhead to the top of the first peak it is a consistent uphill grade through a muddy, wet forest that transitions to a pine forest. After that you will begin a fairly steep climb to the peak. There are two significant rock walls toward the top that will require some comfort in rock climbing using the ropes that are present, so be mentally prepared for that. From the top you'll have incredible views of the Ko‘olau mountains and the ominous and enticing second and third peaks of the trail.
Those comfortable with heights, scrambling, and rock climbing may continue onto the second and third peaks. Keep in mind that each peak you climb requires a descent, and you will have to traverse the track in reverse! Give yourself ample time and bring tons of water, sunscreen, and some snacks to keep you going. The second peak is a bit lower than the first, but you'll have an unimpeded view of the razor-sharp ridge of the third peak. It's beautiful. The grade down from the second peak onto the third is very, very steep. Likewise, the track up to the third is mostly rock climbing (with ropes) and has very sheer and dangerous drops to either side. This should only be attempted by those who are comfortable with heights, have proper equipment and training, and in appropriate weather conditions.
Please note: There have been multiple deaths over the years on this trail. When it has been raining, there are high winds, or rain is in the forecast, please choose another trail. The ridgeline can become dangerously slippery, rocks can crumble, and mistakes on the second and third peaks can cost you your life. Be safe, come prepared, and keep an eye on the weather!
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