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Pu’u Konahuanui Peak Hike: Kalawahine Trail To K1 & K2


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ellene Keating



Welcome to the thrilling adventure of hiking to the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak in Hawaii! If you’re a nature enthusiast seeking an outdoor challenge with breathtaking views, this hike is for you. Located on Oahu, the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak offers a memorable experience for both experienced hikers and those seeking a new adventure.


This towering peak, also known as the Ko’olau Summit, is the highest point in the Ko’olau Mountain Range, offering sweeping panoramic views of the island. The hike takes you through lush forests, ridges, and steep inclines, providing an adrenaline-pumping journey like no other.


As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of the coastline, dramatic valleys, and the vibrant cityscape below. The Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike is a testament to the natural beauty and rugged landscape that Hawaii is renowned for.


This article will guide you through the exhilarating journey of hiking to the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak. We’ll provide you with essential trail information, highlight the stunning Kalawahine Trail, and share tips to ensure a safe and memorable experience. So, grab your hiking boots, trail mix, and camera as we embark on an unforgettable adventure to conquer the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak!


Overview of the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak Hike

The Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike is a challenging and rewarding adventure that will test your hiking skills and endurance. With its towering elevation of 3,150 feet, this hike offers a true backcountry experience surrounded by the beauty of Hawaii’s lush landscapes.


The hike is a round-trip journey that typically takes around 8-10 hours to complete. The trail is known for its steep ascents, rugged terrain, and narrow ridges, making it suitable for experienced hikers who are comfortable with physically demanding hikes.


Throughout the hike, you’ll encounter a variety of stunning natural features, including dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views of the island. The highlight of the hike is reaching the summit of Pu’u Konahuanui, where you’ll be greeted with awe-inspiring vistas that stretch across the island.


It’s important to note that this hike requires a permit due to its remote location and environmental sensitivity. Be sure to obtain the necessary permits before embarking on this adventure. Additionally, it’s recommended to hike with a group and bring a map or GPS device to navigate the trail properly.


While the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike offers incredible rewards, it’s crucial to be prepared and mindful of your physical abilities. Ensure you are in good health and adequately trained for strenuous hiking conditions. It’s also essential to check weather conditions before heading out, as the trail can become slippery and dangerous during wet or windy weather.


As you embark on this challenging journey, remember to take your time, enjoy the beauty of the surroundings, and stay hydrated throughout the hike. With the right preparation and mindset, conquering the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak will be an unforgettable experience that allows you to connect with the raw beauty of Hawaii’s natural landscapes.


Trailhead Information

The trailhead for the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike starts at the popular Judd Trail in Nuuanu Valley, Oahu. To reach the trailhead, you can park your vehicle near the entrance of the Lyon Arboretum and follow the signs to Judd Trail.


It’s important to arrive early, as the parking availability at the trailhead is limited. Consider carpooling or using public transportation to minimize congestion and ensure a smooth start to your hike.


The trailhead is well-marked, beginning with a paved path that gradually transitions into a dirt trail as you venture deeper into the forest. You’ll pass through beautiful bamboo groves and picturesque streams, immersing yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings.


It’s recommended to wear sturdy hiking boots with good traction, as the trail can get muddy and slippery, particularly after rainfall. Bringing hiking poles can also be beneficial in navigating the steep sections and providing stability along the way.


As you start your hike, make sure to keep an eye out for trail markers and follow the signs towards the Kalawahine Trail. This trail serves as the main route to the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak and offers a challenging and exciting adventure.


Keep in mind that the Kalawahine Trail is a steady ascent, with rocky terrain and steep sections. Take your time and pace yourself accordingly, allowing for breaks as needed to rest and hydrate.


It’s recommended to familiarize yourself with the trail map and have a general idea of the hiking route before setting out. While the trail is popular, it’s essential to be prepared and ensure you have the necessary skills and equipment for a safe hike to the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak.


By starting your journey at the trailhead and following the Kalawahine Trail, you’ll be well on your way to conquering the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak and experiencing the invigorating beauty of this iconic Hawaiian destination.


Kalawahine Trail

The Kalawahine Trail is a crucial part of the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike, leading hikers through a diverse and captivating landscape. This trail offers a unique combination of lush forests, captivating ridges, and jaw-dropping views, making it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts.


As you embark on the Kalawahine Trail, you’ll be enveloped by the beauty of nature, surrounded by towering trees, vibrant vegetation, and the sweet scent of the forest. The trail starts off with a moderate incline, gradually increasing in steepness as you ascend towards the summit.


One of the highlights of the Kalawahine Trail is the breathtaking vistas it offers. As you make your way up, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the lush valleys and emerald ridges. Take a moment to absorb the beauty around you and capture photos to commemorate your journey.


The trail itself is well-maintained, with clear markers and well-defined paths. However, it’s important to stay vigilant and follow the trail markers to avoid veering off the designated route. The Kalawahine Trail can be narrow and exposed at times, so exercising caution and hiking with a steady footing is essential.


Throughout the hike, you’ll also encounter some captivating landmarks, including charming streams and small waterfalls. These natural features provide a refreshing respite and an opportunity to cool off before continuing the ascent.


As you near the summit, the trail becomes steeper and more challenging. It’s crucial to stay focused and take your time navigating this section. Use caution, especially if the trail is wet, as the terrain can become slippery.


Reaching the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak is a significant achievement, and the Kalawahine Trail serves as the gateway to this stunning destination. Embrace the sense of accomplishment as you stand atop the peak, admiring the awe-inspiring views that stretch as far as the eye can see.


The Kalawahine Trail offers an unforgettable hiking experience, combining the tranquility of the forest with the exhilaration of a challenging ascent. Take your time, enjoy the journey, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you conquer the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak.


Hiking to K1

The journey to K1, the first peak on the Pu’u Konahuanui ridge, is an exhilarating and challenging part of the hike. As you ascend from the Kalawahine Trail, you’ll be awestruck by the stunning vistas and the sense of accomplishment with each step.


The trail to K1 is characterized by steep inclines, rocky terrain, and narrow ridges, making it an exciting adventure for experienced hikers. As you climb, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, lush greenery, and the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean.


It’s important to pace yourself and listen to your body as you make your way to K1. Take breaks when needed to rest and hydrate, especially in warmer weather. Utilize hiking poles and maintain a sure footing to navigate the challenging sections of the trail.


As you approach K1, you’ll notice the landscape changing, with exposed ridges and a more rugged terrain. This section requires careful attention and good balance as you traverse along the narrow path.


Reaching K1 is a remarkable achievement, offering unobstructed views of the island’s dramatic coastline, deep valleys, and the sprawling urban landscape below. Take the time to soak in the beauty and capture this incredible moment on camera.


While at K1, it’s crucial to stay safe and respect the environment. Keep a safe distance from the edges, as the ridges can be precipitous. Be mindful of the weather conditions, as strong winds can occur at the higher elevations.


After enjoying the breathtaking views from K1, be sure to take a moment to appreciate the journey you’ve embarked on and the incredible natural surroundings. Take a deep breath, recharge, and prepare yourself for the next phase of the hike – the ascent to K2, the second peak of the Pu’u Konahuanui ridge.


Hiking to K1 is an exciting and inspiring adventure, allowing you to push your limits and connect with the raw beauty of Hawaii’s landscapes. Embrace the challenge, stay safe, and prepare yourself for the thrilling experience that awaits as you continue towards the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak.


Hiking to K2

Hiking to K2, the second peak on the Pu’u Konahuanui ridge, takes you deeper into the rugged beauty of the Ko’olau Mountains. As you continue your journey from K1, prepare for more breathtaking views, challenging terrain, and a sense of adventure that only this hike can offer.


The trail from K1 to K2 is characterized by steep ascents and descents, rocky terrain, and narrow ridges. It requires focus, physical endurance, and a love for exploration. Take your time, maintain a steady pace, and savor every step as you navigate this exhilarating stretch of the hike.


As you ascend to K2, you’ll be rewarded with exceptional views of the surrounding landscape. Look out for cascading waterfalls, deep valleys, and the verdant forests below. These awe-inspiring sights serve as reminders of the untamed beauty that Hawaii has to offer.


The trail to K2 also brings you closer to the summit of Pu’u Konahuanui, enticing you with the reward of reaching the highest point in the Ko’olau Mountain Range. The grandeur of the vistas from this peak is unparalleled, providing a sense of awe and accomplishment.


On your way to K2, keep in mind that the trail can be challenging and exposed at times. Ensure that you have a firm grip on the rocky terrain and take extra caution during wet or windy conditions. Hiking poles can provide stability and support while navigating this section of the hike.


As you arrive at K2, take a moment to revel in the panoramic views that stretch out before you. The sweeping vistas of the island’s coastline, lush ridges, and serene valleys create a scene that will forever be etched in your memory.


Remember to respect the environment and stay safe while at K2. Be cautious near the edges, as the ridges can be steep and potentially hazardous. It’s also essential to keep an eye on the weather conditions, as they can change quickly at higher elevations.


Celebrate your accomplishment of reaching K2 and take the time to appreciate the journey you’ve undertaken. Capture photos, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and reflect on the beauty of the natural world around you.


Hiking to K2 is an invigorating and unforgettable experience, offering a true sense of adventure and a deeper connection to the incredible landscapes of Hawaii. Enjoy the journey, take in the mesmerizing vistas, and embrace the spirit of exploration as you conquer the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak.


Safety Tips for the Hike

Embarking on the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind before and during your hike:

  1. Obtain necessary permits: Make sure to secure any required permits for the hike well in advance. Check with local authorities or hiking organizations to ensure compliance with regulations.
  2. Hike with a group: It’s highly recommended to hike with a group, ideally consisting of experienced hikers. The company provides additional safety, support, and assistance if needed.
  3. Come prepared: Carry a well-equipped backpack with essentials such as water, snacks, a first aid kit, a map or GPS device, extra layers of clothing, and sun protection. Be prepared for changes in weather conditions.
  4. Check the weather forecast: Before heading out, check the weather forecast for the area. Avoid hiking during severe weather conditions such as heavy rains, strong winds, or thunderstorms, as these can make the trail hazardous.
  5. Wear appropriate gear: Choose sturdy hiking boots with good traction to navigate the uneven and slippery terrain. Dress in layers and bring a waterproof jacket in case of rain. Use hiking poles for added stability.
  6. Stay hydrated and nourished: Drink plenty of water and bring energy-rich snacks to keep your energy levels up throughout the hike. Hydration and proper nutrition are essential for maintaining stamina and preventing fatigue.
  7. Know your limits: Be aware of your fitness level and experience with hiking. The Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike is challenging and requires a certain level of physical fitness and endurance. Know when to rest and take breaks when needed.
  8. Leave no trace: Respect the environment and leave no trace behind. Dispose of any waste properly and avoid damaging or disturbing the flora and fauna. Leave the trail and its surroundings as pristine as you found them.
  9. Be mindful of your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings throughout the hike. Be cautious of loose rocks, slippery sections, and potentially hazardous areas. Pay attention to trail markers and follow established routes.
  10. Inform others of your plans: Before starting the hike, inform a friend or family member about your hiking plans, including your expected start and finish times. Check-in with them upon completion of the hike to let them know you’re safe.

By following these safety tips, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the challenges of the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike while ensuring the safety and well-being of yourself and your hiking companions. Stay attentive, be prepared, and enjoy the incredible journey that awaits you amidst the natural wonders of Hawaii.


What to Bring

When embarking on the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike, it’s essential to come prepared with the right gear and supplies to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. Here is a checklist of items to bring along:

  1. Hiking boots: Invest in a good pair of sturdy hiking boots with ankle support and good traction. This will provide stability and help prevent injuries on the rugged and uneven terrain.
  2. Backpack: Choose a durable and comfortable backpack to carry your essentials. Opt for a backpack with multiple compartments to keep your gear organized and easily accessible.
  3. Water: Stay hydrated throughout the hike by carrying an ample supply of water. Consider bringing a hydration bladder or a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter.
  4. Snacks: Pack energy-rich snacks such as granola bars, trail mix, nuts, and dried fruits to keep your energy levels up during the hike.
  5. Extra clothing: Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. Bring a breathable base layer, a warm mid-layer, and a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
  6. Sun protection: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with high SPF. Consider bringing lip balm with SPF as well.
  7. Navigation tools: Carry a map, compass, or a GPS device to help navigate the trail. Familiarize yourself with the route before the hike and periodically check your progress.
  8. First aid kit: Pack a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications.
  9. Hiking poles: Consider using hiking poles for added stability and to lessen strain on your joints, especially during steep ascents and descents.
  10. Bug repellent: Hawaii’s lush landscapes can attract insects, so bring insect repellent to ward off any pesky bugs along the way.
  11. Emergency supplies: Carry a whistle, a flashlight or headlamp, a pocket knife, and a mini survival kit with essentials like a fire starter, emergency blanket, and extra batteries.

Remember to pack your belongings in a lightweight and compact manner to ensure ease of carrying throughout the hike. Consider the overall weight of your backpack and only bring what is necessary to avoid unnecessary strain.


Being prepared with the right gear and supplies will help make your journey to the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak safe and enjoyable. Take the time to double-check your gear before the hike, and don’t forget to bring a sense of adventure and enthusiasm as you embark on this exciting outdoor excursion.



The Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike is an incredible adventure that offers a thrilling and rewarding experience for nature enthusiasts and avid hikers. From the lush forests and cascading waterfalls to the steep ridges and breathtaking panoramic views, this hike showcases the stunning natural beauty of Hawaii’s landscapes.


Throughout the journey, you’ll be challenged physically and mentally, but the sense of accomplishment and the awe-inspiring vistas make it all worthwhile. Conquering the Pu’u Konahuanui Peak gives you a deep connection to the raw beauty of the Hawaiian islands and an appreciation for the power of nature.


However, it’s crucial to approach this hike with proper preparation, caution, and respect for the environment. Familiarize yourself with the trail, obtain necessary permits, and hike with a group if possible. Take the time to pack essential gear, stay hydrated, and stay aware of your surroundings throughout the hike.


Embrace the challenge, but also take the time to enjoy the journey. Pause to appreciate the sights and sounds around you, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and capture the moments with your camera. The Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike offers an opportunity to disconnect from the everyday hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature.


As you reach the summit and take in the breathtaking views, embrace the sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering this iconic peak. Reflect on the beauty of the natural world and the strength within yourself that allowed you to undertake this adventure.


Remember to leave no trace, respecting the environment and preserving the pristine nature of the trail for future adventurers. Leave with a sense of gratitude for the experience and a renewed appreciation for the wonders of the outdoors.


The Pu’u Konahuanui Peak hike is an unforgettable journey that will leave you with lasting memories and a deeper connection to the incredible landscapes of Hawaii. So, lace up your boots, pack your gear, and embark on this adventure of a lifetime. The Pu’u Konahuanui Peak awaits your conquering spirit!