UPDATE - The Backpackers Guide to Hawai`i

Ko`olau Summit



..... For the Schofield-Waikane Trail on the last day, obtain written permission from the Commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, HI 96857 (attn: APVG-GWY-O). Request the permits for the two trails well in advance......

..... Also, take a tent as there is no shelter at Kawailoa, the first campsite, and the Poamoho Cabin is reserved for emergencies only. Bring a light sleeping bag or liner .....


Trailhead Directions - La`ie Trail

..... Take Likelike Hwy (exit 20A, Rte 63 north) up Kalihi Valley through the Wilson Tunnel.
The highway forks. Keep right for Kahekili Hwy (Rte 83 west).
Kahekili Hwy becomes Kamehameha Hwy (still Rte 83), which continues up the windward coast. .....


Trailhead Directions - Schofield-Waikane Trail

..... Cross Wilson Bridge and enter Wahiawa town.
At the third traffic light by a Shell service station turn right on California Ave.
The road narrows to two lanes. .....


DAY ONE - La`ie to Kawailoa

..... Pitch your tent in the small grassy areas, either on the windward side of the marshy bowl or on the leeward side of the helipad next to some metal landing mats. If you and your tent .....

The best water source is a tiny waterfall in a gully to the left just beyond the windward camping area. An alternate source is the sluggish stream you cross just before reaching the base of the helipad. Boil, filter or chemically treat the water, whether from the waterfall or the stream.

If you still have some energy .....

Route Description

.....A flat topped mound occasionally used as a helipad comes into view on the right. Its windward side has a collapsed wooden platform.
gradually into a marshy bowl with some dead Australian tea shrubs. The grassy area on the left to windward is a possible campsite.
Cross sluggish Kamananui Stream on metal landing mats.
Near the base of the helipad reach the junction with the Kawailoa Ridge Trail (map point F). Turn right on it and go around the helipad.
Camp on the leeward side of the helipad or on its top, or, as previously mentioned, on the windward side of the bowl.


DAY TWO - Kawailoa to Poamoho

Route Description

.....The trail crosses over to the leeward side.
Switch to the windward side of the summit ridge.
Walk through a flat open area with views to windward. The back of Koloa Gulch is on the left.
On the left pass some boards and concrete blocks, all that remains of the Kahuku Cabin......

.....Switch to the leeward side to go around a huge hump in the ridge.
Pass several huge rocks. One is in the middle of the trail. Climb steadily......

.....Cross a small grassy area and swing left. To leeward you can see the Wai`anae Range and Wahiawa town.
Switch to the windward side for a long stretch and cross another grassy spot.
Cross over to the leeward side......

.....As the trail turns sharp left, reach a junction (map point K). Keep left on the Summit Trail. (Straight ahead the Pe`ahina`ia Trail leads past some white PVC pipes down to Haleiwa.).....


DAY THREE - Poamoho to Wahiawa

In the morning continue along the Ko`olau Summit Trail past the Poamoho Cabin and beneath massive Pu`u Pauao. The cabin was rebuilt in 1999 with four wooden bunks and a covered lanai, but no water or toilet. The cabin is reserved for Forestry personnel only, but may be used by others in an emergency.

Route Description

Walk back up the Poamoho Trail.
At the Cline memorial turn right on the Ko`olau Summit Trail.
Contour briefly on the leeward (right) side of the ridge.
Switch to the windward (left) side and switchback twice up a grassy slope.
The trail crosses over to the leeward side. You can see the Poamoho Cabin ahead on the right.
Reach a junction near the cabin (map point M). Keep left on the Summit Trail. (To the right a short side trail leads to the cabin.)
Switch to the windward side briefly.
At the summit ridge turn right, switchback left and contour on the leeward side.
Cross over to the windward side and then back to the leeward side briefly.
The trail switches to the windward side and then goes through a narrow, windy notch to get back to the leeward side.

Cross over to the windward side for a long scenic stretch below Pu`u Pauao (map point N).
On the left pass the ridge dividing Punalu`u and Kahana Valleys.
Walk on top the summit ridge and then resume contouring on the windward side.
On the right pass a notch in the ridge.
Switch to the leeward side to go around a hump and then cross back to the windward side to bypass another hump.
On the far side of the hump,
reach a junction (map point O). Turn right, down the Schofield-Waikane Trail. (The Summit Trail continues straight and leads to the Waikane and Kipapa Ridge Trails.).....



..... In the other direction, the Summit Trail continues past the La`ie Trail junction all the way to Pupukea Rd. That section has been cleared in 1999, and you can get permission from the U.S. Army to do it. Check out the route description in the index under Ko`olau Summit (Pupukea to La`ie).


Last Update: 06/02/00

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