Date: Sat, 4 Jul 1998 16:40:53 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (>
Subject: Kawaewae Loop

It's summer time and with it comes some additional opportunities to hike. And, yes, I'm still working, but with reduced hours. Happy, Happy.

I live in Kaneohe and in the last week I've hiked nearby Kawaewae Ridge three times, doing a mini-loop that starts and ends on Lipalu Street, which is on the hillside near the Pohai Nani retirement home.

Pat did a write-up about this hike a couple weeks ago. On his outing, he began at Kokokahi Place and ended at Lipalu by the Kawaewae Heiau.

Let me describe the route I hiked. The easiest way to find Lipalu Street is via Bryan's street maps of Oahu. Once there, park at the end of the street and you can either head to the right up a concrete culvert where you'll soon find yourself on a blue-ribboned trail leading up to an ironwood grove OR head left to get to a trail leading to Kawaewae Heiau.

I'll describe the route heading left past the heiau.

From the end of Lipalu, follow the trail that heads left. Within 50 yards of the start reach a ribbonedjunction. Head left to climb a slope (the trail heading straight will lead you into a forest area used by paint ball enthusiasts for war games).

At the top of the hill pass a sign marking the heiau. Continue on a rocky trail with the heiau on the left. At the upper boundary of the heiau, follow a trail that heads slightly to the right into the forest. The trail becomes indistinct but pink ribbons are available to mark the way.

At times hau branches intrude on the path. Continue looking for pink and/or orange ribbons. At one point, the trail contours along the right side of the ridge to avoid hau and at another it drops down to the left to avoid a Christmas berry tangle. After some meandering, the trail, indistinct at times, begins a steady, sometimes steep descent to the crest of the ridge.

On the climb, there are several rope sections, for convenience rather than for life-saving purposes. Plan on about 30-45 minutes (20 for speed hikers) to gain the ridgeline from Lipalu.

Once on the crest of the ridge (~900 feet elevation), reach a junction. Continue on the ridgetop to the right (to the left the trail follows the ridge to the Friendship Garden on Kokokahi Place).

After a pleasant level section, including spots with nice views toward Olomana and of the Koolau Range from Konahuanui to Keahiakahoe, descend to the left an eroded slope with the aid of a rope. Far below to the left is the HC&D quarry where materials are mined for concrete.

Descend steeply with the assistance of a couple of long rope sections. Just past an old fuel/water tank, reach a jeep road overgrown with buffalo grass. Follow a narrow swath on the old road, passing a junction on the left. Climb the grassy road and ascend a ledge on the right with the aid of a rope. Continue to climb along the ledge as it broadens.

Climb another ledge on the right with the aid of a rope. Reach the top of pu'u and a junction. Veer right and down on a trail (the trail to the left continues on to the large water tank above the Kaneohe Veterans' Cemetery).

Descend through a forest of primarily non-native vegetation. Ropes are available in some of the steeper or handhold-deprived sections. At some points, Kawaewae Heiau is visible down to the right.

After steady descending, reach a heavily ribboned hollow between hilltops. Follow the ribbons through a maze of octopus trees. Contour along the right side of a pu'u and then climb to its top.

Reach another junction. Follow a trail down a slope to the right. The trail straight ahead will lead to the former tower site of a defunct radio station and thereafter to a residential street (can't recall the name of the street and don't have Bryan's street map handy at the moment).

Descend a hillside populated by some nice specimens of ohia lehua. An ironwood grove should be visible further downslope. Eventually, reach the ironwood grove, turning right just as it begins.

Follow a blue-ribboned trail as it veers to the right downslope and away from the ironwoods. Eventually the trail will merge with a concrete culvert. Follow the culvert to its terminal point at the end of Lipalu Street.

Plan on 1 to 2 hours to complete the loop, which can be done in reverse as well.

Notes: This is a nice quick hike that provides a good workout. The fact that it's close to home is an added benefit for me. The section from the heiau to the ridgetop needs some clearing but everything else is fairly open, thanks to the efforts of Doug Klein and also the HTMC trail clearing crew who worked on the route a few months ago. This is an intermediate trail, given the occasional steepness and rope sections.


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