Ohikilolo to Keaau Ridge

by kenji SAITO on December 16, 2012

Hiking Ohikilolo to Keaau Ridge

After a month of relatively easy hikes, it was time to get my “hiking legs” back. And what better way to do that, than an ridge hike with the Caveman? That’s why I found myself in Tamura’s parking lot along with Marcus, George, Jay, Tom, Brian R, Darren, Brian C, Peter, Helen and Scott at 7:45am sharp. Adjusted for Hawaiian time of course.

The long dirt road

The long dirt road

We then drove North on Farrington Highway until we passed Kea’au Beach Park and parked outside of the Lady of Kea’au, which is the former FHB recreation center. After climbing over the gate, we walked for about half an hour upon a series of roads while the sun started to break over the Waianae Mountain Range. We soon turned left into the treeline to follow a fence uphill, which we eventually hopped over to make our way up one of the side ridges.

Cardio climb

Cardio climb

It was a steady cardio climb up the rocky ridge that was thinly covered by dry grasses and shrubs.

The fence

The fence

We soon found ourselves at the top of the ridge to face the fenceline which would pretty much run up all the way to the top of Ohikilolo. Of course, they were several rockfaces along the way up, that presented climbing opportunities to those inclined.

Free range goat

Free range goat

The saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” certainly applied to this goat that we found stuck in the fence. There seems to be much more green vegetation on the Makua Valley side, which is why this goat stuck his head through the fence to munch his lunch and was luckily freed by Jay, Darren and Peter.

Makua Valley

Makua Valley

A nice view of Makua Valley from the ridgeline. The fence was installed to prevent goats and pigs from entering this valley and other protected areas. Photo by Tom Engle.

Skin and bones

Skin and bones

Further up the ridge, we discovered the remains of a goat that wasn’t so lucky.

Scenic viewpoint

Scenic viewpoint

Taking two minutes to stop and enjoy the stellar views. I think Marcus gave us a break and actually gave us ten minutes.

Mountain cabin

Mountain cabin

Just before the summit of Ohikilolo, is a cabin in the mountains. Great timing as a passing rain shower pelted us briefly as we took refuge in the cabin. We took another short break inside the cabin, checking out the inside ( which can bunk up to 12 people ) and the great views of Ohikilolo and the surrounding mountain range. There is even an outhouse with outstanding views of Makua Valley, a good reason to take your time on the throne.

Pu'u Ohikilolo

Pu’u Ohikilolo

We left the cabin to pick up the fenceline trail going up to the summit. While the fenceline is a blight on the landscape, it did come in handy in areas where the loose, brittle rocks made footing a little tricky.

Summit of Ohikilolo

Summit of Ohikilolo

We reached the 3,052′ pyramid summit of Pu’u Ohikilolo at 11:00am, with clear views of Makaha, Ohikilolo and Makua Valleys.

Panoramic view from Pu'u Ohikilolo

Panoramic view from Pu’u Ohikilolo

Click here for the larger image.

Going down the saddle to Pu'u Kea'au

Going down the saddle to Pu’u Kea’au

We headed back down from the summit and turned left towards the saddle of Kea’au ridge. Photo by Scott Bowling.

Rock climbing ahead

Rock climbing ahead

We scrambled and climbed our way along the rocky ridge, absent was the fenceline. I guess there are places that even goats can’t climb over.

Climbing down the saddle

Climbing down the saddle

Climbing down the exposed dike formation was a litte tricky due to a small drop and gap in the rocks. Photo by Scott Bowling.

Top of Pu'u Kea'au

Top of Pu’u Kea’au

We topped out at the 2,650′ summit of Pu’u Kea’au at around 12:20pm, with the flat topped mountain of Ka’ala in the background. Bottom row left to right: George, myself, Jay and Tom. Top row left to right: Brian R., Darren, Brian C., Marcus, Peter, Helen and Scott.

Panoramic view from Pu'u Kea'au

Panoramic view from Pu’u Kea’au

Click here for the larger image.

Going down Kea'au ridge

Going down Kea’au ridge

We soon headed back down the ridge into Kea’au Valley.

Almost pau

Almost pau

George checking out a bunker on our way down.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

The 6 1/2 mile hike took us exactly 6 hours to complete. The weather also blessed us by giving us cloud cover for most of the hike, which dialed down the notoriously hot Waianae sun.

Leave a Comment

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris December 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Nice! Actually just did this on Sunday the 30th! Have the exact same picture of the dead goat stuck in the fence.

Reply

kenji SAITO December 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hey Chris,
Thanks and maybe we’ll bump into each on the trails one day! Happy New Year!

Reply

Yuko July 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Hi Kenji

Love the pictures. Interested in doing this hike tomorrow, is it pretty easy to navigate to Pu’u Kea’au and Kea’au ridge after climbing down Ohikilolo?

Thank you!

Reply

kenji SAITO July 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Hi Yuko,
From the top of Ohikilolo you climb down and make a left which is the saddle to Pu’u Kea’au. Coming down from the ridge can be a little tricky. If you take the wrong one, you may end up spending more time in the mountains than you would like. If you like, I can email you the GPS tracks. Sorry my response is delayed, I’m actually in Japan now as we just climbed Mt. Fuji yesterday. LMK. Thanks for visiting!

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Joseph Romano October 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I am interested in attempting a portion of this hike. Could I get the GPS tracks you mentioned in the comments below? Thanks.

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kenji SAITO October 5, 2013 at 6:18 am

Hi Joseph,
I just emailed them to you. Have fun!
Aloha

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Baron January 19, 2015 at 6:52 am

Hi Kenji,

Actually, the true summit of Puu Keaau is further along Keaau Ridge closer to Makaha Beach. If you hiked up the water tank ridge on Kili Drive, you would end up just under the summit of Puu Keaau. The water tank ridge I am talking about is the first water tank you see as you drive from Makaha Beach gping into Makaha Valley.

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kenji SAITO January 19, 2015 at 7:59 am

Aloha Baron,
Thanks for the info and correction. I think a bunch of hikers went up Donkey Ridge? to gain the true summit of Keaau a couple months ago. Alright, another hike for me to do!
Mahalo

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Baron January 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm

I’m not familiar with Donkey Ridge but I know others have hiked up to Puu Keeau from inside Makua-Keaau valley on a ridge opposite of the Water Tank ridge.

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Baron January 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Hiking Keaau Ridge is way better than Ohikilolo Ridge. Keaau is one of the last remaining fenceless ridges on the westside if not the only one. Hiking the Kili Drive Water tank ridge back to Makaha Beach is a short hike but an interesting one since it passes the Keaau bunkers overlooking Makaha Beach.

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kenji SAITO January 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Aloha Baron,
Thanks again for the useful information. Hey, maybe one day I can tag along on one of your super duper waterfall hikes?
Mahalo

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Baron January 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Kenji, I believe you have seen all the waterfalls on Oahu that I have trekked to. The last couple years I’ve been exploring the neighbor islands’ waterfalls, ridges and petroglyphs.

Anites February 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

Hi Kenji. I’d love to hike to Pu’u Ohikilolo….can you pls email me your GPS track so I don’t get lost? Thank you much.

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kenji SAITO February 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Aloha Ani,
Okay, will email it to you tonight. I saw you want to do this for your birthday hike? Have fun and stay safe!
Mahalo

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Deirdre March 30, 2016 at 2:37 am

Hi Kenji, any chance you could email me the gps tracks previously mentioned? Hoping to spend a night in the mountains :)

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kenji SAITO March 31, 2016 at 6:08 am

Aloha Deirdre,
I will email you later regarding this hike.
Mahalo

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Deirdre Madrid April 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

Finally went up there earlier this month! It’s closed now ???????? All good though. I was able to do the loop in a day albeit a little slower than your 6 hours! Mahalo for the tracks.

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kenji SAITO April 14, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Aloha Deirdre,
Glad you were finally able to hike it! Hope you had some great views along the way!
Mahalo

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Philip Higgins July 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Hello Kenji, doing this hike tomorrow! Any tips??

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kenji SAITO July 2, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Aloha Philip,
Just make sure you take a lot of water as it gets really hot on the West side. 3+ liters. Coming down make sure you take the right ridge coming down, hard to explain, but I know others that have taken the wrong ridge down and spent extra hours than needed on the trail. Stay safe and have fun!
Mahalo

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Carla July 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Hi Kenji,

Do you think I can take my dog on this hike? She’s not a big dog and she loves hiking and can do most hikes with me but I know it can get really hot in Waianae.

Thank you,

Carla

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kenji SAITO July 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Aloha Carla,
Sorry for the late reply. I wouldn’t recommend taking a dog on this hike. It gets really hot and there are some skinny and crumbly sections.
Mahalo

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Crazy_Kane July 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

Mahalo for your detailed blog. We were able to follow most of it and got to the summit this weekend. The most tricky part is coming down from the ridge. And please please wear long pants – those crazy sharp grasses can really cut into your skin.

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kenji SAITO July 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Aloha Crazy Kane,
Thanks and glad you summited. I didn’t really intend for my blog to be a guide, rather more of a bedtime reading material. LOL. Yeah, I stopped wearing shorts a long time ago on my hikes and just wear long pants for any type of hikes nowadays.
Mahalo

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Kookie G November 26, 2016 at 8:34 am

Hi kenji planning on doing this hike. Mind if you email me tips and the gps of this trail? Thank you!

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kenji SAITO November 26, 2016 at 10:08 am

Aloha Kookie,
I will email you under separate cover with tracks and tips this weekend. Stay safe and have fun.
Mahalo

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Justin May 24, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Aloha Kenji,

If willing, please email me your GPS tracks for this hike. Much appreciated!

Justin

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kenji SAITO May 25, 2017 at 5:23 am

Aloha Justin,
Emailed you the tracks. Stay safe and have fun.
Mahalo

Reply

Christopher May 30, 2017 at 11:07 pm

i would love to be caretaker of that Ohikilolo ranch i’ve seen squatters there that needs to kept out of there and up keep the place would be nice raise some cattle and pigs chickens plant corn ,green beans taro yeah me my wife and grandson

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kenji SAITO June 7, 2017 at 6:16 am

Aloha Christopher,
That would be a nice idyllic life to have on a ranch. Hope you can realize your dream one day.
Mahalo

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Mac Kessel August 16, 2017 at 7:25 am

Hi Kenji,

Thank you so much for posting this. Would you please send me the GPS tracks of the route you took? Looks like a an incredible hike! Thanks again

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kenji SAITO August 17, 2017 at 5:46 am

Aloha Mac,
Emailed you the tracks. Stay safe and have fun.
Mahalo

Reply

Jordan October 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Hey, just wanted to give you all an update on this hike. It is officially not okay to do anymore, unfortunately since people have been harsh on the cabin, they have boarded it up and it is only used by the organization now. They have cameras there too to make sure no one enters. The reason I warn you all is because a group of people and I almost got into a lot of trouble for going there recently and I don’t want anyone to go and not be as lucky as us!

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kenji SAITO October 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Aloha Jordan,
Thanks for the info. Yes, I saw that post on FB where a bunch of people broke in and vandalized the cabin. While the cabin is off limits, I believe the trail is not.
Mahalo

Reply

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