Dangerous Hawaii Hiking: The Pu'u Manamana Trail

Recommended for Advanced Hikers Only

Pu'u Manamana is one of the most dangerous hiking trails on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Known for its spectacular yet perilous narrow ridge sections, Manamana is legendary and revered among Hawaii hikers.

Have Hawaii hikers died here? Yes, they have. While I don't have any hard, firm stats, I do know that more than one person has met his end while hiking this trail.
Dangerous Hawaii Hiking: The Pu'u Manamana Trail
 So be careful. Be very, very careful.

In fact, I recommend that only the most seasoned and sure-footed hikers attempt the Pu'u Manamana trail. While the whole hike is just 4 miles, there is over 2000 feet of elevation gain with a very steep initial ascent and very steep final descent, and those legendary narrow ridge sections sandwiched between.

If you are thinking of hiking Manamana, consider hiking with and then joining the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club (HTMC), which has this trail on its annual schedule of outings. Note that when the club conducts this hike, it is for members only. And it is rated "Advanced."

Having hiked Manamana several times over the years, I can vouch for the advanced rating. I can also testify to the fact that on my first attempt, I turned back, being unwilling to put my life on the line at that time. But I did return. And I did so with the HTMC. And I made it that second time, and several times thereafter.

How To Get There

You'll travel 25 miles on the drive from downtown Honolulu. Take the Pali Highway to get to the windward side of Oahu. Once you are through the Pali Tunnels, descend downhill, turning left on Kamehameha Hwy. About 2.5 miles later, turn left onto Likelike Highway. Turn right onto Kahekili Hwy. which after 4.5 miles transitions to Kamehameha Highway (key landmarks there are a 7-11 store on the right and the Hygienic Store on the left. Continue on Kamehameha Hwy. for just short of 10 miles. Not long after passing the Crouching Lion Inn on the left and just before a bridge is Trout Farm Road on the left. Turn onto Trout Farm Road and find parking along the street there.

Dayle Turner
Written by Dayle Turner
Born and raised in Hawaii, Dayle Turner is a stepfather of four, a husband of one, and a writer of mostly outdoor-related stuff. He has taught writing at a community college for 17 years an...  -  Full profile
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Yea, this isn't an easy hike. I am also a rockclimber, so if you can imagine somewhere in between a touch jungle hike with trees and vegetation grabbing your limbs, and some occasional 5.4 scrambles, you have Pu'u Manamana. I decided to hike this because it was rated one of the most difficult hikes in Hawaii, and I had only one day available for hiking. I did it solo, but met a few others on the way sloshing through the mud on the misty ridgeline. A few times I had to grab onto tree limbs as my foot went down into nothing, with a sheer 700 foot cliff dropping off on either side of the sharp ridge line. Not for the faint of heart! Compared to high altitude eastern Sierra hikes it's not so bad, except for the sharp dropoff. Must remain alert at all times. Even the descent would be easy to slip if you are not careful. If you like challenge this is a fun one, because it only takes an afternoon.

Posted on 06/15/2009 at 4:06:24 AM

Very nice view

Posted on 09/13/2007 at 3:09:00 PM

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