James suggested we try this trail, but we were both a little nervous about how the kids would handle it.  It’s 1048 steps to the top, and by all accounts, it’s a really good cardio workout.  We decided that we could at least attempt it, and there was no shame in turning around halfway if necessary.
The trail is an old railway (tramline?), and according to various websites, it’s about 0.7 miles long.  The problem is that it’s steep.  In that length, you gain about 1200 feet in elevation.  But we do love a challenge.
If you look in the below image, you can see the steps to the left.


You park in Koko Head District Park and walk on a path to the trailhead.

Well that’s reassuring.

And let the fun begin!

There’s no way to accurately describe this trail honestly, but you can never really tell how much progress you’re making.  We made it to the bridge at some point (midway?), but I was too scared to try to cross it.  It’s probably only 5-10 feet off the ground, but those rails are seriously far apart from each other.  And I don’t do heights.

So we went the side route.

And then we met James who had no trouble crossing the bridge.

And with our little detour, we were off again.

James and the boys kept running way off ahead.  Then they would stop and wait for us girls.  Then get way ahead again.  I was perfectly happy to go slowly with Audra.  This trail was not easy.

The guys made it to the top and then waited for us to join them.  But to get the really great views, you have to veer to the right and go just a bit higher.

Ahhh.  There it is.

I’m pretty sure one of those islands off in the distance is Molokai but I don’t know about the other one.  Lanai maybe?

I’m SO proud of these three little ones.  They climbed the trail like pros – all without complaining.  It goes to show that you can’t trust all of the trail reviews.  They made it sound like kids should stay far away.

And per usual, a nice person offered to take our picture.  It was difficult to include the amazing view in the picture, but hey – we’ll take it!

We came prepared as always – two 32 oz. jugs of water and protein bars for everyone in the daypack. You’re in the sun virtually the entire trail, so the water is essential.

The kiddos played a little “rock, paper, scissors” after eating their protein bars.

As we were resting and taking in the views, another hiker pointed out these two whales.  Our first sighting since moving to Hawaii.  Yay!  See the mist?

I also grabbed a video of the whales plus just the view in general.  Oh, and you can see the two guys walking along the rim of the crater.  Not sure we’ll ever be ready for that craziness!

Then it was time to start heading back down.

Austin enjoyed the dangerous nature of this trail’s descent.  We are definitely going to have our hands full in a few years!

If you’ll look closely, I was concentrating so hard I thought my brain might explode.  I am so not coordinated.  Austin was hopping down the steps and even Audra held my hand for a while to keep me balanced.  So graceful.

In this picture, you’ll see the local shooting range.  It provided nice background music for our hike.

We reached the bridge on the way down and Aidan decided he wanted to go for it.  You gotta know this about our boy – this was a big deal!  I’m so proud of him.

After he helped Aidan, James came back up to hold hands with Audra & Austin through the bridge as well.  Me?  I crab walked the entire way.  I would have been perfectly happy to go around again, but I got peer pressured into doing the bridge.  But I simply couldn’t manage to do it upright.  It took forever, but I made it.

We finally reached the homestretch and it felt so good!

2.5 hours later and we were finally done.  Success!  But this will be one of those trails that we can check off the list and never complete again.  It wasn’t what I’d call “fun”.  Even Austin agrees with that and the kid likes adventures!

Kuliouou Ridge Trail
Aweoweo Beach Park - Honu Sightings