Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

The Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail is one of the most stunning hikes in all of Hawaii. It’s a moderately challenging route with significant elevation gain, steep, slippery steps, and a long ridgeline traverse.

Adventurers willing to climb the slippery slopes are rewarded with some of the most awe-inspiring views of the entire island. But don’t underestimate this hike because even experienced hikers can be humbled by this terrain, especially after rain.




4.7 miles


1,617 feet


3 hours

Route Type

Out and back


Allowed on leash

Trail Begins

Waialae Iki 5 community

Gear / To Bring

  • Hiking boots
  • Rope (optional but highly recommended)
  • Water (at least one liter per hour on the trail)

Best Seasons



Free. A limited number of permits are available.


Not Allowed



Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail Location

You’ll embark on the Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail from a trailhead inside the Waialae Iki gated community. Unlike the trailheads in the Hawaii State Parks, there is no fee for parking. But you will need to supply information and license plate number at the guardpost to get a parking pass.

Waialae Iki issues a limited number of visitor passes per day, so if you visit on a weekend or holiday, we recommend getting to the trailhead early to ensure you get a pass before they’re gone. Your visitor pass includes a Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail map to help you navigate your way along the trail.

Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail Length

The Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail takes visitors through lush tropical forests to a mountain ridge, traversing it to the summit. The last half mile or so of the hike contains most of the elevation gain as you make your way up the rocky ridge over wooden steps and clay mud.

You don’t need special technical skills to hike to the summit, but it can be slippery, especially the stairs. Still, it’s one of the safest ridgeline hikes in Oahu, with a well-maintained trail wide enough to feel secure.

The only essential equipment to bring on the Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail is a pair of hiking boots and maybe a rope. Avoid the trail if there’s a strong chance of rain, or even a light drizzle, which can turn an already slippery situation into a dangerous one. Bring lots of water to avoid getting dehydrated on the trail, which is easy to do in this climate.

Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail Hours

There are no official hours posted. There is always a guard at the Waialae Iki guardpost, but a limited number of laminated trail passes are available to visitors. Arrive close to sunrise to ensure you get a pass and return it to the dropbox at the guard post at the end of your excursion when you leave.

In the absence of regular posted hours, assume that the trail is open for use from dawn until dusk and plan to be back at the trailhead by dark.

Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail Reviews

Some reviewers have reported that, unfortunately, some community guards are turning away prospective hikers with out-of-state IDs.

A few extra-zealous guards enforce this discriminatory (and potentially illegal) barrier to entry on an inconsistent basis, but it’s worth being aware of in advance. You may want a backup plan on deck if you’re just visiting.

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Featured image via All Trails