Mount Olomana, a short drive from Honolulu on the southeast corner of O'ahu, is a spectacular three peaked mountain that stands apart from the larger Koolau Ridge. Technically, Olomana is the name of the highest of the three peaks only, which is also the first peak along the Olomana Trail that links all three. The second peak along the trail is Paku'i, better known as Olomana's "second peak," and the third is Ahiki, better known as (surprise) Olomana's "third peak." The striking peak has been called "Oahu's Matterhorn" by Stuart Ball in his book "The Hikers Guide to Oahu" while the translation of the Hawaiian name is roughly "divided hill." The first peak offers spectacular 360 degree views of the windward coast from Kailua to Makapuu while the third peak offers challenging rock scrambling. Looking south from the summit, you will see the Koolau Ridge which is comprised of the following peaks (left to right) Keahiakahoe, Kahuauli, Lanihuli, Konahuanui, Olympus, Lanipo, and Pu'u O Kona.
Legend has it that Olomana was a renowned warrior that was over 30 feet tall and ruled the lands from Makapu'u to Kualoa. The mountain was formed when the King of Oahu, Ahuapau, sent one of his foremost warriors, Palila, to confront Olomana. During the ensuing battle, Palila, gifted with supernatural powers, sliced Olomana in half with the top portion landing near the ocean while the bottom portion became Mount Olomana.
The three peaks are hiked along a 1.5 mile YDS class 3 Olomana Trail that starts at the Luana Hills Country Club in Maunawili Valley. The trail crosses the tops of all three peaks and is used for the return as well. The trail is often assisted by unmaintained ropes and steel cables though you cannot count on their presence or conditions. The first peak is the highest and offers the best views while the third peak offers the greatest climbing challenge. The second peak is not really a worthy goal in itself but a stop along the way to the third peak. The trail starts just inside the Luana Hills Country Club and is well signed. The trail is initially fairly flat, going through some rainforst type vegetation and passing an abaondoned water station before reaching an intersection on exposed red dirt. Turn and climb the trail to climber's right, ascending the North Ridge that passes through a grove of pine-like Ironwood trees. Near the top of the first peak, you will encounter some class 3 scrambling and about a 15 foot vertical section of class 4 rock. The class 4 section will typically be protected by one or more ropes, however, these ropes are not maintained and care should be taken in using them. Some more exposed scrambling leads you to the summit of Olomana where you will be treated to gorgeous views of the surrounding areas as well as the challenging third peak. To continue along the trail, you will go down to a saddle and climb the Paku'i (second peak) which has a secluded view. The descent from the Paku'i to Ahiki (third peak) is fairly steep. The climb of Ahiki initially follows a narrow ridge before leading you to the "keyhole" walled dike section. The trail circumnavigates the wall before gaining the ridge again. After passing a rock faced with a ledge you will soon reach the top of Ahiki, Olomana's third peak.
- All the peaks require comfort with YDS class 3 scrambling or higher.
- The rock scrambling involves ridges with drop-offs on either or both sides and caution is necessary, especially during rainy and/or windy conditions.
- Along several parts of the climb, there are often ropes, cables, and/or straps, to assist the climb, however these are not officially installed or maintained and there is no assurance of their condition. Use at your own risk and it is advisable to avoid completely weighting the ropes.
- Due to the up/down and scrambling nature of this hike, make sure you bring sufficient water. 2-3 liters is advisable.
- Typical hikers should allow about 5 hours for the full round trip to the third peak.
The trailhead is about 0.25 miles inside the Luana Hills Country Club (golf course). To get there from Honolulu, take the Pali Highway east towards Kailua. After the tunnel, turn right at Auloa Road at the 3rd traffic light past the tunnel. The first traffic light past the tunnel is also Auloa Road which is U shaped, however, taking the turn at the third light is more direct. Immediately after turning right onto Auloa Road, turn left on to the access road to the Luana Hills Country Club. This road will pass a few houses before taking you through a parking area on both sides just before a bridge. After the bridge you will run into the gatehouse for the Luana Hills Golf Course. Park at the parking lot before the bridge as you will be towed anywhere after (unless you are a Luana Hills Country Club member). Then walk in to the golf course and check in with the guard at the gate house. Usually, they'll let you just walk inside to the trailhead but sometimes they may make you sign in and, in any event, you are not allowed to walk past the trailhead.
USGS Topo: Koko Head
There are no regulations to speak of though you may be asked to leave your name at the Luana Hills Country Club gate house.
When To Climb
Year round, however, be careful during rainy and/or windy conditions as the trail can get very muddy and slippery.
Camping is not necessary nor encouraged on this peak though you may be able to find a spot in the Ironwood grove.
Use weather conditions for Honolulu and Kailua: