ROPES, RIDGES AND RAW PEAKS - Hiking the Olomana Trail
The Olomana Trail, aka the Three Peaks, on Oahu takes guts to hike! It's not for the faint of heart and definitely isn't for inexperienced hikers. (In the past four years, three people have died on the trail.) Nevertheless, if you're careful and sure-footed this hike offers views and experiences that you won't soon forget.
Named Three Peaks for obvious reasons, this spine-tingling trail allows you to hike as far as you want (picture above is the view from the 3rd peak). Don't feel comfortable about continuing? You can turn around any time. (Just remember that there's no easy exit - you have to go back the way you came.)
It takes about an hour-and-a-half to get to the top of the first peak (further peak away in the photo above), and, when compared with scaling the next two peaks, this portion of the hike is the easy part (i.e. not too dangerous).
Hiking to the top of the first peak is pretty straight forward. There's one clearly marked trail that you follow to the top. However, along the way, there are a few spots where you'll see hanging ropes. They're not totally necessary, but can definitely help hikers up or down some steep rocky sections.
A Note on the Ropes: There are often several ropes to choose from in a given section. Use your brain and give each rope a few good tugs before continuing to see which one is the strongest. From our experience most ropes seemed safe to use, but they're not maintained and are placed there by other hikers. Just know you're taking a risk any time you grab one.
Another tip - check the weather before you go! Hawaii is known for its quick-changing weather; one minute it could be sunny and hot, and the next it's pouring rain. Not only are their risks of flash flooding in some areas, but it also means these ropes you're relying on to save your life might be wet and fraying as they rub up against the rocks. People have had to be rescued from hypothermia in Hawaii because they get caught in the mountains during a rainstorm.
Pictured above are all three peaks. If you have the guts and stamina to make it to the last peak, remember you have to come back the same way you came! Knowing your limits is crucial to having a safe hiking experience.
How We Did It:
- There is no parking at the trail head. Instead, you need to park on the side of the road before the Royal Hawaiian Golf Course and walk to the beginning of the trail. Plug this address into your GPS; it should get you to the parking location: 70 Loop Rd, Kailua, HI
- Walk toward the golf course entrance. It's about a half-mile hike to the trail head, which has an old sign that reads Olomana Trail. It will be on your left.
- Bring plenty of water.
- Check the forecast. Don't attempt peaks two and three if the trail is wet.
- Peak one hiking time: roughly 1.5 hours up.
- All three peaks hiking time: 4-6 hours round-trip.
Parking location is pinned on the map.