Pu'u Manamana - May 25, 2008

I've been waiting a long time to do this hike. My intention was to do it at the end of summer, but I was itching to do it sooner. Considered to be one of the most dangerous hikes on the island, Pu'u Manamana rises above the left side of Kahana Valley at 2,100 feet, and its reputation for being one of the most dangerous trails on the island is an honest claim. The trail Matt and I hiked was narrow with cliff drops on both sides. There were several parts during the hike that we had to climb rock faces with the aid of ropes; some rock faces didn't even have any ropes! The trail starts off right by the road near the fish pond in Kahana Bay. The trail ascends gradually for about 80 yards when you hit a rock face with a rope. After climbing the rock face, the ridge is obivous. Looking up toward the sky it seems as though the ridge is impossible to climb, but the more ground you gain, the more possible the trail looks. After we passed the sheer cliff sections, the trail was thick and overgrown with uluhe ferns. The next time I do this hike I'll be sure to wear pants. Matt and I were itchy, and we had bloody legs at the end of the hike. After making it through the brush we reached the turnover and had lunch. There was a right junction to take to make the hike a loop but we couldn't find it. Instead we took a left junction that ended up looping the hike, but it looped it back to the sheer cliffs. From what I've read, the correct right junction to make it the correct loop ends at a graveyard and is extremely narrow, and that's what Matt and I came for: the crazy parts. We wanted to head back to find the correct junction to the graveyard, but we had been hiking for almost six hours, so we decided to just go back the way we came in. I'm pretty disappointed that we didn't complete the four mile loop, but it's okay: it gives me good reason to do it again, hopefully with more people next time. My friend Rio also did the hike with his grandpa that day. They found a junction that led to Ka'a'awa Ridge to the south of Manamana. The junction that leads to Ka'a'awa Ridge crosses a stream. From the stream you can follow it out to its 1,000 foot waterfall, though it's usually dry. In summary, this hike is probably my favorite so far. The views are immediate from the start, and walking the trail on the sketchy parts are adrenaline inducing. This trail is no joke. Do not attempt when it's raining or if the wind is howling. Also, if you're afraid of heights, this is not the trail for you.

Crouching Lion.

Initial stretch.

We were only 20 minutes into the hike and this is how high we were already.


Rock climbing with no rope.

This wasn't even the scariest part. You can see the trail we just walked, with a sheer drop on the side striaght to the bottom.

The view looking back at the first part of the ridge. Click on the picture to see a bigger picture of the trail.

Matt's dumb. Don't ever rely on ropes like this. Cool picture though.

You fall, you die.


Descending a rock face with a rope.

Still steep cliffs on the side.

Turnover marker at the top.

Peace to Ka'a'awa town.

Going back.

Super narrow.

I love my fish eye lens.


This is the closest I've been to an ohi'a blossom. Usually it's too high or too far off the trail to photograph.


The peak in the middle of the picture is Pu'u Piei. Kulani and I did that two weeks ago. Click the following link to view that hike. http://kaleolancaster.blogspot.com/2008/05/puu-piei-may-10-2008.html

It's hard to see, but that's Mokapu Point in the distance.


I like this shot. Looks like the picture is being taken from an airplane.


Kahana Bay.

Kahana Valley.


Anonymous said...

Totally a hardcore hike! The most dangerous trail on Oahu! Did it last year and willing to hike again this year. Any takers again? :)

Elle G said...

I don't know you, but you are my hiking hero.

Did this hike last year, before my birthday and was just so happy to be able to celebrate another year of life.

Your pictures are awesome. I think I managed to take less than 10, my sweaty palms kept me from gripping my camera.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I know this is an old post, but I had a question about the flower in the picture above the ohi'a blossom. Any idea what the name of that flower is? I was recently hiking the east Nounou trail on Kauai, and saw the same flower. However, regardless of how hard I search, I can't seem to find the name of it. Help? Also, nice job on the hike, looks like a nice trail. If I'm ever over there I'll look it up.

Anonymous said...

Old post...but I believe it's lantana.

Anonymous said...

I and my friend finished this trail last friday, Apr 2 2010. It took us 4.5 hours. A hard trail, I must focus attention on road.

Unknown said...

This hike is amazing...but long! Once you climb the rock faces and ridge walk and make your way into the forested areas, it gets pretty muddy. The junction is at the VERY top. Just follow the trail marked with pink flagging tape. At the very top is a benchmark. Backtrack about 20 feet from the benchmark and go left. This takes you all the way down the mountain, ending in a Hawaiian graveyard. Take plenty of water!! Hike feels more than 4 miles long...feels more like 8!

Anonymous said...

Me and my buddy did Manamana Turnover yesterday. The weather was pretty much perfect conditions, and it didn't seem like anybody had done it in at least a few days, judging by the number of spiderwebs to the face.

I didn't really think it was that bad. Sure, if you fall off you'll almost certainly die, but the trail is plenty wide, and sturdy (I thought Koko Head Rim was sketchier). It's those rock faces you gotta climb that'll probably be next to go, hope nobody's on 'em when they do.

Speaking of which, we heard a landslide as we were coming down cemetery ridge (named for the old Mormon cemetery at the bottom). We thought it was somebody shooting guns in the valley at first, but then the telltale signs of rumbling and trees cracking in half made us realize it was a landslide. Couldn't see it, but it sounded like it was coming from closer to the 1900' lookout, closer to True Manamana.

Anyway, just wanted to post 'cause i used this blog to research for this trail (and a few others, good work Kaleo) and the Geodetic Survey marker was a different one then the one that's pictured here. It said Turnover on it, but there was an arrow with a line through it, and no cement base, just the cylindrical metal piping all the way into the ground. I realize this original post is over 3 years old now and figure the marker might have been replaced at some point since then, but just thought I'd throw it out there.

Clarence Price said...

Great blogg post