Hiking Up to History...the Ka'iwa Ridge Trail

Lanikai Travel Blog

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Mokulua Islands in the distance
The plan was to wake up before the butt-crack of dawn and do a "sunrise" hike but due to misinformation, Mar and I woke after sunrise.  It was still early and cool enough in the morning to do the hike so we quickly got ready and headed out.  We set off on the Pali Hwy towards Kailua.  I don't know which streets Mar took to get to the Lanikai but we drove past Kailua Beach Park and got onto Mokulua Drive.  A turn onto Kaelepulu Drive took us into a residential area border by the Mid-Pacific Country Club. 

After finding a legal parking spot along the street, we hiked up the road to the unmarked trailhead, whose only identifying feature was a trail adjacent to a fence that scaled up the ridge.
Ka'iwa Ridge Trail
  This is the Ka'iwa Ridge Trail.  The first section of the trail was a tough and steep hike up on red dirt.  Stands of trees along the way helped my ascent fortunately but I was seriously out of breath and was huffing and puffing.  

Atop the ridge, the trail consisted of firmer loose gravel, lava rock, lowlying scrub, and grass which was comforting since it felt more solid.   But the exposed ridgeline whipped the ocean breezes all around us...just check out my wild hair!  The distant cloud cover was dramatic and protected us from harsh rays of sun.  After the first section, the trail ascended the ridgeline gradually.  My pictures cannot do the view from along Ka'iwa Ridge justice...it was breathtaking and marvelous! 

The historical points along the trail are two World War II concrete bunkers or pillboxes.
Can you see the Ka'iwa Ridge Trail?
  We briefly stopped at the first bunker then headed up the ridge to the second bunker where we chillaxed and took in the views of the surrounding area...Kailua Bay to the north, Waimanalo Bay (the area where my paternal grandparents used to live) to the south, Koolau Range to the west, and the Mokulua Islands off the coast of Lanikai to the east.  I wanted to do a jumping pic while atop the second bunker but my cousin wasn't to sure how stable these 60 year old structures were so no go.  Besides...I wouldn't want to be the reason the bunker tumbled down the mountainside...hahaha! 

Alas, all good things have to come to an end and I was starving so we headed back down the ridgeline to the red dirt portion of the trail.  You would think going back down would be easy but the fine red dirt was a bit slippy.  A man we were following on the way down slipped on the dirt...fortunately he fell back onto his bum instead of forward.  Some rope intertwined between the trees were of some help on the way down but still the trail was difficult to navigate.  Back onto the pavement, I could not help but be relieved that I didn't take a tumble down. 

The hike was fabulous...what a great start to my day!


vances says:
Sounds like you are ready for Kalalau!
Posted on: Jul 03, 2008
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Mokulua Islands in the distance
Mokulua Islands in the distance
Kaiwa Ridge Trail
Ka'iwa Ridge Trail
Can you see the Kaiwa Ridge Trail?
Can you see the Ka'iwa Ridge Trail?
Somewhere along the Pali Hwy
Somewhere along the Pali Hwy
We took the trail on the right...c…
We took the trail on the right...…
Yes this is part of the trail
Yes this is part of the trail
Mar heading back to Bunker # 1
Mar heading back to Bunker # 1
View of the Mokulua Islands from K…
View of the Mokulua Islands from …
Like my windswept hair?
Like my windswept hair?
Lanihuli Mountains in the backgrou…
Lanihuli Mountains in the backgro…
View of Mokapu Peninsula, Kailua B…
View of Mokapu Peninsula, Kailua …
Mokulua Islands and Lanikai Beach
Mokulua Islands and Lanikai Beach
View from Bunker # 1
View from Bunker # 1
Mokapu Peninsula, Kailua Bay, and …
Mokapu Peninsula, Kailua Bay, and…
Kailua and Mid-Pacific Country Clu…
Kailua and Mid-Pacific Country Cl…
Bunker # 2
Bunker # 2
Lanihuli Mountains, Keolu, and Kae…
Lanihuli Mountains, Keolu, and Ka…
Lanihuli Mountains, Keolu, and Kae…
Lanihuli Mountains, Keolu, and Ka…
Atop Bunker # 2
Atop Bunker # 2
View of Waimanalo Bay from the Ka…
View of Waimanalo Bay from the Ka…
View of Bunker # 2
View of Bunker # 2
Mokulua Islands again plus my craz…
Mokulua Islands again plus my cra…
Mokapu Peninsula in the palm of my…
Mokapu Peninsula in the palm of m…
Mokulua Islands
Mokulua Islands
Bunker # 2 and Waimanalo Bay in th…
Bunker # 2 and Waimanalo Bay in t…
Sunshine trying to break through t…
Sunshine trying to break through …
Mar in a field of grass and scrub
Mar in a field of grass and scrub
Verdant mountains emerging from cl…
Verdant mountains emerging from c…
View from the Pali Hwy
View from the Pali Hwy
Kaneohe Bay in the far distance, M…
Kaneohe Bay in the far distance, …
Side road along the Pali Hwy
Side road along the Pali Hwy
Mokapu Peninsula...sorta shaped li…
Mokapu Peninsula...sorta shaped l…
Lanikai
photo by: jenn79