If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and a challenging hike, the Olomana Trail is one of the best hikes in Oahu!
The trail consists of three peaks at the end that offers some of the island’s best views. It’s definitely not for beginners, but if you’re up for a challenge it’s definitely worth doing!
Also known as “Three Peaks,” the Olomana Trail consists of basic bouldering and rope-assisted climbing. If you’re in good physical condition, this will be an exciting and challenging hike for you.
In this blog post, I will be discussing our personal experience with hiking this trail. We will discuss the different sections of the Olomana Trail and what you can expect while hiking.
Disclaimer: Hiking can be a dangerous activity. Please assess your own mental and physical health before attempting this hike. Content on this site is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical, health, or safety advice.
Please note, multiple people have died over the years while doing this hike. If you decide to hike, do so at your own risk and with extreme caution.
Olomana Trail Information
Distance: 4.4 Miles (round-trip)
Elevation Gain: 1856 ft
Route Type: Out & back
How Long Does it Take: 2.5 Hours to 6 Hours (depending on your pace and which peaks you go to)
Terrain: Rooty, rocky dirt with some rock climbing
Highlights of the Trail: Views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range, windward side of Oahu, Chinaman’s Hat, Mokulua Islands, Makapu’u Point, and Rabbit (Mānana) Island.
How to Get to The Olomana Trail
1) By Car
From Waikiki, it should take about 28 minutes to get to Auloa Road. This is where many hikers park their car, as it’s not legal to park outside of the trailhead by the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club.
From Waikiki, take the H-1 W to HI-61/Pali Hwy to Auloa Rd, then turn right onto Auloa Road.
Olomana Trail Parking
We parked right on the side of the road opposite the bus stop. Note that parking here tends to fill up quickly, so getting there early is probably your best bet.
We got here around 6:45 AM and there was plenty of parking. Only two other cars were there. When we got back around 10:30 AM, about three cars were waiting on us to leave so they could take our parking spot.
Below is a map of where we parked. This is one of the areas that’s heavily monitored by the police. Always follow proper parking protocols to avoid getting ticketed or towed.
2) By Bus
Take Bus #67 Kailua-Waimanalo. Get off at Kalanianaole Hwy + Auloa Road, then walk to the trailhead.
Note that you might need to take multiple bus transfers depending on your starting point.
We use the Moovit App to obtain bus information. Make sure to double-check your route to plan accordingly.
As always, driving or taking an Uber/Lyft is the most convenient way to get there. This hike is very strenuous, and waiting for the bus after hiking for miles doesn’t sound that fun to me.
Getting to the Start of the Trail
You will need to walk for about 10-15 minutes towards the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club from where you parked.
Once you get to the security guard gate at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club, walk past the gate and continue on the paved road.
The “no trespassing” signs always throw people off, but just continue hiking to the start of the trail.
As long as you do not park on their premises you should be fine to hike to the start of the trail.
Do not under any circumstances park here. You will get a ticket or be towed. There are warning signs all over for a reason.
You should see the below sign after walking for about 0.8 miles from where we parked. This is the start of the trail.
Hiking to the First Peak
The first part of this trail is extremely wet and muddy most times of the year. Make sure you are well prepared and wear proper hiking shoes for Hawaii.
I usually tell people that hiking shoes are not required for the average person taking a vacation to Hawaii, but if you are anything like us and like to hike the more challenging trails, I would highly recommend getting proper shoes.
Olomana is one of those hikes where you will get in trouble if you do not have the right shoes.
It took us about 10 minutes to hike through the muddy section. After that, the trail gradually started to get steeper.
On the bright side, the steeper parts were not muddy compared to how it was at the start of the trail.
Do not under any circumstances hike this trail after rainfall. We went after a period of no rain and it was perfect, except the start with muddy sections we just discussed.
Hiking to Peak One (Continued)
After hiking through the muddy section, you will eventually get to the dry dirt part of the trail and some areas with roots. Here you will see the path getting steeper and steeper.
Eventually, we started getting into some of the minimal rock climbing. Make sure to have your hands free at all times as you will need them to climb up the rocks.
We saw a couple of different pairs of people who actually had gloves on and thought that could be worth trying out the next time we do this hike.
You will start to notice more rock climbing and some sections with ropes from here on.
Make sure to test the ropes before trusting them completely. Do not put your entire body weight on the rope.
Keep in mind that other hikers put these ropes here, and they do not guarantee safety.
No one knows how long they have been there or how reliable they are. If there are multiple ropes in one section, make sure to test them out and choose the one that seems the most sturdy to you.
As always, use your best judgment before proceeding. We prefer to use the ropes as a back-up, while using our hands to climb and keeping the rope in our hands as needed.
This trail will challenge you mentally and physically. This is by far one of the most challenging hikes we have ever been on while on Oahu.
There is a lot of scrambling and climbing, so if you are not comfortable doing either of those things, I suggest finding an easier hike to do.
Once you start getting closer to peak one, you will see gorgeous views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range.
At this very moment, we started to tell ourselves that the hike was worth it due to all the gorgeous scenery.
Keep hiking up and you will eventually get to this famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) rock.
Unfortunately for me, this is where my journey ended. I was afraid to climb up due to my, albeit minimal, fear of heights.
I decided not to climb up the rock as I wasn’t mentally prepared as well. I was also unsure of my rock climbing abilities. The kept thinking about the climb down too, and sort of psyched myself out in a way.
Remember that this is an out-and-back trail, meaning that the same way you went up is the same way you will come back down. I was definitely not prepared to come back down this.
Cody ended up climbing and hiking to peak one by himself while I patiently waited. I sat down, enjoyed my lunch, and chatted with other hikers.
I have zero regrets, but I am now prepared to go back and hike this trail again soon. I will update the post at some point in the future whenever that happens.
Since Cody did make his way to the top of peak one, here’s more on that part.
Once you climb up the rock, you will see amazing views all around.
Keep hiking up the very narrow ridge and you will eventually get to another area where you will need to do some more rock climbing. This section can be terrifying due to the sheer cliffs on both sides of you.
If you’ve made it this far, pat yourself on the back and take in the best views of this hike. This is the top of peak one, and the views are definitely the best from here.
It’s also the highest part of the entire hike, so take your time to enjoy the gorgeous scenery around you.
Some people decide to turn back here, so don’t feel pressured to keep going if you are uncomfortable continuing with the hike. After all, you have already seen the best views!
This is where Cody decided to turn back, as he was not prepared to hike the rest of the trail.
If you decide to continue onwards, you’ll leave peak one and descend towards peak two.
Hiking to Peak Two
Although we stopped at peak one, we’ve done some research and talked with other hikers that have done all three peaks so that we can elaborate on the rest of this trail.
The descent down from peak one to the climb up to peak two is said not to be too difficult, but it’s not for everyone. Make sure to take your time and feel free to turn back if at any point you don’t feel comfortable continuing on the journey.
The hike from peak one to peak two should take about 10-15 minutes. You descend from peak one, then hike and climb up to peak two.
Hiking to Peak Three
Many people chose to turn back at peak two since peak three is considered the most dangerous part of the hike.
We met at least four people on the trail that made it to the top of peak three. They tried to convince us to keep going, but my fear was already maxed out, lol.
Where it really gets scary is descending from peak two and then climbing up to peak three.
This is the most challenging part of the entire hike.
If you decide to continue to peak three, take your time and watch your footing.
Once you make it to the third peak, make sure to give yourself another pat on the back, and don’t forget to rest before heading back down. There should also be a metal container with some supplies and a logbook, so sign your name in it if you’d like! You should be proud of your hard work that got you here.
Olomana Trail Tips
Bring lots of water and food: Make sure to have enough water and food on you, especially if you plan on going all the way to the third peak.
While most of the hike to peak one is shaded, the hike to peaks two and three is pretty open so be prepared for the sun.
Wear sturdy shoes: The rocks and boulders can be pretty slippery, so make sure your shoes have good grip/traction.
Tell someone when and where you are going: This is always a good practice when hiking.
Be prepared for a challenge: This hike is not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a challenging hike, this is it.
Be cautious: Some parts of this trail are sketchy, so be careful when hiking and climbing.
Start early if you do not like waiting: The earlier you start, the fewer people you will contend with on the trail. If you have zero patience to wait on people on the rope sections, you might be better off starting the hike early as fewer people are on the trail.
We started the hike around 6:45 AM and didn’t have to wait on anyone. However, on the way back, there were more people making their way up.
If you have a fear heights, do not do this trail: This hike is definitely not for people who are scared of heights. There are parts where you will be on very narrow ridges with sheer cliffs on both sides.
What Else is There to Do in the Area?
There is so much to do on the windward side of Oahu. Below are some of our favorite things to do on Oahu after hiking the Olomana Trail.
Head over to Maunawili Falls: If you are looking for another hike in the area, Maunawili Falls is a great option. It’s a beautiful waterfall hike in Oahu with a swimming pool.
The trail to this waterfall is currently closed for realignment until 2023. Be sure to check it out if you hike this trail when it opens.
Visit Lanikai Beach: No trip to Oahu would be complete without a visit to Lanikai Beach. The white sand, gorgeous views, and crystal blue waters make it one of the best beaches in Oahu. Lanikai Beach is right next to the Lanikai Pillbox Hike if somehow you still had the energy to do both. I would not recommend doing both hikes in one day though.
Visit Halona Beach Cove– this is one of our favorite beaches on Oahu. Be sure to stop by and relax after a busy day of hiking.
Visit the Kailua Farmers Market: You can’t visit the windward side without going to the Kailua Farmers Market. Make sure you add this to your list of activities while on the island.
Get Shave Ice at Island Snow: If you’re looking for a delicious treat after your hike, head over to Island Snow for some shave ice. This place made our list of the best places to get shave ice on Oahu.
Visit Bellows Beach– if you are looking for a secluded beach on Oahu, Bellows beach is a great option if visiting on the weekends.
The Wrap Up
If you’re looking for a breathtaking hike with jaw-dropping views, the Olomana Trail is worth checking out.
Just be prepared for a challenging climb—it’s listed as one of the “toughest hikes in Hawaii” for a reason!
Bring plenty of water and food, and be prepared for some challenging sections.
If you’re scared of heights, this might not be the hike for you. Try checking out some of our easy Oahu hike recommendations. Another great option that’s not as scary would be the Kuliouou Ridge Trail.
But if you ARE looking for a challenge and want to see some beautiful views, the Olomana Trail is worth checking out!
Mahalo for reading our post. Until next time, Aloha, and happy hiking in Oahu!