Kamanaiki Ridge - May 29, 2008

There really isn't much to say about this hike, and Chase and Garid would agree. We started at the trailhead around 7:45am and ended around 10:30am. The trail is supposedly five miles round-trip, but it felt a lot shorter. The trailhead is awkwardly located right in between two houses. It starts with climbing a little over a hundred rock stairs and then resumes steep climbing along the ridge. There are three long hill climbs, and it is sure to give a mean leg burn. With the most tiresome part of the hike behind you, the ridge starts its fair share of ups and downs. The trail gets rocky, and it begins to narrow. There is one more stiff climb before the end, and a rope is anchored for assistance. At the end of the trail there is a huge ohi'a tree. The end point is a nice grassy area that is wide and breezy. There is a faint, overgrown trail going down into Kamanaiki Valley, but you would need a machete to get down to the bottom. The obvious trail striaght ahead once you reach the clearing is the summit trail to Lanihuli. Someday I'll plan out the Lanihuli hike and post it on the blog, but for now take a look at these picture from today's hike.


This is after the long, steep climbs.

I was taking shots while Garid and Chase left me in the dust. As I began walking again, they hid on a tree and scared the shit out of me as I passed. Fucking bullshit.

Ohia' tree at the end.


Pu'u Kahualui. There's gotta be trail to that summit, too.

Going back.



Kamanaiki Valley, looking toward the ocean.

Pu'u Kahualui on the left, Lanihuli on the right, and a saddle that connects both summits. There's gotta be a trail on the saddle.


Graffiti at the water tank near the beginning of the hike.

*Next hikes: Olomana, and hopefually Lanipo.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kaleo,
Great site you've got. I was looking up info on Kamanaiki stream and ran across yours. I'm with KAUPA, Kalihi Ahupua'a Ulu Pono Ahahui Ulu Pono. We do restoration on Kalihi Stream, and will eventually be working on Kamanaiki. We are planting native edible and medicinal plants on the streambank at Kalhi Waena School.
I live up the street from the Kamanaiki hike and have taken my two small boys with me. The water tank is as far as we've gotten!
Great pictures, keep up the hiking (I miss it), and if you want to hear more about us I can send you a monthly newsletter (drop me a line at kaupa4kalhi@hawaii.rr.com).
Barbara Natale

Anonymous said...

It's been maybe 7 years since I've lived in Kalihi Valley but I used to hike what apparently is Kamanaiki ridge (been wondering what the name of the ridge is for a while now), but I've never actually got to the end (Lanihuli) because it gets sketchy at the end and I have yet to find a friend willing to go all the way to the end (not so much because of the sketchy parts but more because they were exhausted).

I didn't know what trail it was because I don't ever start at the traditional start, but on a steep trail up the valley wall from the Iceponds trail (sssssshhhhhh, don't tell anybody).

As far as I've got is the base of the last ascent up to Lanihuli before my friend wanted to turn around, but that point is pretty cool 'cause on one side you got the Likelike tunnels and the other side you got the Pali tunnels, and we were yelling "BOTO" and "DOODOO" (not just because it's childish but because you can do deep bass with it) into both valleys and got excellent echo replies from both sides.

I used to do the trail in tough long pants, long sleeve shirt, and waterproof hiking boots, because when the Kamaiki trail ends at the Ohi'a tree, the trail gets about as rugged and overgrown as you can get. The uluhe grows 6 feet tall in places (as well as hiding many pitfalls - though sometimes it's your best friend 'cause you can use it to climb - just grab as much as possible and keep your body profile low), there are huge mud puddles on narrow ridges that you have to walk through (some of them deep enough that it actually gets into my boots), and the trail roller-coasters the whole way (big ups and downs, much of it through either thick uluhe or narrow ridges with strawberry guava growing on both sides).

There's a big junction on the trail where the ridge from Kamehameha meets up with the ridge and it continues on to Lanihuli, and from that point the hike gets pretty cool. Computer cables substitute for climbing ropes (though I don't trust 'em), it gets muddy, the flora and fauna changes, and the drops on both sides get serious (not that they aren't on the rest of the trail, but there's usually some vegetation to either conceal the drops are aide as handholds if you do fall).

Anyway, I wouldn't waste my time with a machete trying to clear the trail, it doesn't get enough traffic that it'll stay cleared (i think, it's been a few years since I've been there) plus it'd probably take a week to clear the whole thing. I would just where solid clothes and push the fuck through the uluhe (heavy boots were handier than light shoes, easier to get through the uluhe which grows THICK). Also, be ready to walk through what will seem like a million spiderwebs, many of them at face level.

If you're gonna do this hike be prepared. It's a rough one. You need at LEAST 2 liters of water, but 3 is better (it's long and there's plenty of rollercoastering so the water goes fast). I've only ever seen one other guy on the trail (I've done it maybe a little over a dozen times) and I think he was European; old guy, said he just wanted to explore. I'm gradually working my friends up to this one 'cause it's a hell of a hike, but I hope to finally complete it in the near future.

Just thought I'd share. I use your blog to research some hikes, Kaleo, and it comes in real handy. Keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

"I didn't know what trail it was because I don't ever start at the traditional start, but on a steep trail up the valley wall from the Iceponds trail."
I found this trail going down to ice ponds and at the bottom their is a ancient Hawaiian village with stone piles about 3 feet high. great hike!
Right past the end junction their is another hill, veer right down the ridge and you end up at ice ponds.

Anonymous said...

Right past the end junction their is another hill, veer right down the ridge and you end up at ice ponds.

I meant veer left down the ridge, when you get near the bottom stay left and before you hit the river you will find the village.

Anonymous said...

That was me posting about hiking the ridge 7 years ago trying to get to the end...

I tried again about 6 weeks ago, starting like I was going to iceponds but going up the right fork early on the way I usually go.

That beginning part used to have a clearing in the pine trees with bamboo fringing in from all sides. Now that place is overgrown with bamboo. There's still a very faint trail down at the beginning, but it's kinda hard to find. You go up the ridge from there, past a marker that says "La Verne" and up the steep ridge to reach Kamanaiki ridge. That ridge was never the easiest thing, but it's now totally and completely overgrown with Uluhe mostly but everything else as well. It took me FOREVER to get up that damn ridge.

At the top the Kamanaiki trail is looking nice up to the Ohia tree, then from there it's more overgrown than it has ever been. There used to be a faint trail in the Uluhe but now it's completely gone except for the swath I left behind. then for a lot of the ridge you used to be encased in strawb guav on both sides, now it's pretty much everywhere. I went as far as I could, i could see the junction to the ridge from Alewa Heights ahead, but I was gassed. By the end of the day it took me just over 7 hours to go 2.5 miles; it was completely overgrown.

Then a couple weeks ago I reached the summit of Lanihuli by Alewa Heights. That was a waaaaaaaaaaaay better trail. To be quite honest, there's really no reason to do the Kamanaiki ridge unless you want a challenge, because there's no real payoff until you reach the junction anyway.

I also did the ridge from Kamehameha in high-school one day when we skipped band practice one afternoon and we ended up running the ridge behind Kamehameha to where it meets up with the other ridge and at the time it was in great condition. So much so that we could run the whole way.

I definitely wanna see this Hawaiian village you speak of in the last post, but I think I'll look for it from ice ponds and not from the top of that ridge. I also want to see if I can access what looks like three very large waterfalls in the back of Kalihi on the Ewa side of the valley. From Lanihuli it looks like when it rains there are three waterfalls that are maybe 300+ ft high in the back. From what I can tell it looks like there are cables running by with a clearing in front of it, probably accessed by the water supply place lower down in the valley. We'll see.