Choosing the not so traveled or talked about Na Pali coast ridge hike was one of the greatest decisions of our whole trip!
The 16 miles stretch of Na Pali coast is considered one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the US. It’s lush green sea cliffs rise more than 4,000 feet from the ocean. It’s only accessible by hikers, boat or helicopter tours. We have flown over/along it, hiked the most popular trail but have yet to REALLY hike along one of its ridges. You know those ones where you stand between 2,000 foot+ drop offs on each side. My #1 goal was to find one and do it thought-out our nine-day adventure. We managed to squeeze it in just hours before our flight home!
Doing some research, we decided on Honopu Ridge Trail. I found it on All Trails app, rated 5 stars and hard. There was not too much information or photos but we went for it anyways since it’s only 2.1 miles one way. How hard can it be right?
The drive to the trailhead on highway 550 was awesome. You drive though several state parks and many lookouts through windy roads and vivid red sand canyons on the sides of roads.
Finding the trail head was TOUGH! Thanks to the All Trails app, we tracked down exactly where to start. The starting point on the map is exact! We passed it a few times but we managed to find it.
Parking for this hike is 4/10thof a mile past 17-mile marker on highway 550. It does not have a designated parking lot however, there is a spot that fits maybe 2-3 cars. It’s on the left hand side at a curve in the road just a little past the popular Awa’awapuhi Trail trailhead. See bottom of page for exact GPS directions.
We had NO IDEA where the trailhead was since there were no signs. We just held up the phone and kept walking up and down the road trying to connect the starting dot point in the All Trails app. After meandering and scratching our heads we tried right behind where we parked. There is large tree you go around and a faint looking trail. We were on top of the dot so we assumed that it was it and went for it.
This trail is no longer maintained by the park due to Hurricane Iniki damage back in 1992 and Hurricane Iwa in 1982.
This is a photo beginning the trail. You will see pink and orange ribbons along the way. Though the trail is not maintained, it was quite obvious to us where you needed to go.
Since the trail hasn’t been maintained in nearly 30+ years, most parts of the trail was just wide enough for my size 0 waist (poor Ron)!
Many parts of the trail were filled with ferns over our heads, scraping our arms till they bled. I highly recommend coverning your arms and legs, if not you’ll survive, it will just hurt!
Some parts were so over grown you had to crawl through.We were in the dense, lush, muddy, mossy jungle for nearly an hour. We started to think we were on the wrong trail and waisted our last moments in the deep jungle. We contemplated turning around.
About 15 munites later it opened up to our first view. These are one of those moments where you just have to go for it and trust that it can only get better from here!
The next hour consist of many steep, up and down paths.
The closer we got to the end we passed through a random super grassy area with adorable trees. It didnt feel like it fit the part but I loved it!
All of a sudden Ron gasped! It was a family of goats that ran off quickly, all besides one. We had a starring contest for a few minutes then it just walked off.
A few minutes later it opened up to this view! I was so gitty! You could see a waterfall in the distance.
Check out my glamor shots by Go Pro. I literally “lol” every time I go through my GoPro photos. It’s always a mystery, I just put it on a 2 second timer and let it do its thing. Im assuming I was fixing my hair, but I love it! The raw motion of me being me. I couldnt decide if I loved color or black and white so here is both :P!
At some points the clouds would cross our path.
You can tell where mud slides have happened. The ground is very crumbly.
At last, after two hours and fifteen minutes we stopped at the end of this ridge for lunch. One of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen!
Words or pictures can not describe how beautiful this place was! Ron caught me doing what I do best, take a 1,000 photos!You could see Nihau, “The Forbidden Island”in the distance.And sail boats.We saw another goat on the edge of a ridge. Their balance is so impressive.Kisses and lush vivid green ridges… what more do you need :P!We sat for nearly an hour waching the fast moving clouds completely disapear this view and re appear over and over again.We saw a storm rolling in the distance and did not want to get caught in it. Which did’nt happen! It started POURING rain! The trail quickly became a stream of its own. We were covered in mud and completely drenched. Not going to lie though, it was quite fun! We just wanted to get off the steep ridge in case of major flash flooding.
I couldn’t stop laughing how bad it was raining. My jacket apparently wasn’t a rain jacket as I thought, lol. Every inch of Ron and I was soaked! This goes to show how quickly Hawaii’s weather changes. It was clear skys one minute and pouring rain the next!I feel like we made it out in record time!Thanks to me for being a great wife, I brought us a change of clothes even though Ron said he didn’t need anything. You’re welcome Ron! He changed while I goofed off in the road which was a waterfall in itself.
We were one wet muddy mess!As we headed down towards Waimea. The rain started to slow down, clouds started to break and sun began to peak through. Which calls for….you guessed it, a rainbow! This was the first one we saw the entire nine days on the island! I was so pumped! Then we saw another!We were starving so we stopped at The Shrimp Station for a snack.
We were on a mission to eat some ahi-tacos one last time. Everywhere we tried to go was closed so we settled at this mexican resturant in Wailua since we had to get our luggage at our hotel.I had to get one last acai bowl since they are my favorite! We walked down the street and got one. I forget where these two places were (sorry guys!)We then headed to pick up our luggage and head to the airport for our 9pm flight home!
Ron and I enjoyed the last two days just us. This was our second time booking a later flight than our friends without knowing. We did’nt mind though, I mean who would ever want to leave this paradise!?
Even though we were bummed in the beginning of our hike this turned out to be one of my all time favorite hikes! Becuase I had no idea what to expect, we were bummed at first then greeted with incredible close range views of the Na Pali Coast, it’s a trail not many people take, and we got play in the rain!
I highly encourage you hike this not so talked about or traveled trail! It's truly one of a kind. I would love to hear from you! Comment below, Pin, share & subscribe to stay up to date on my latest adventures!
honopu ridge trail
DISTANCE: 4.2-5 miles round trip. 1243 feet elevation gain.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Unmaintained trail. Follow pink and orange ribbons. At least one hour through dense lush jungle. Can hardly see the sky. Trail is wide as my hips in many places. Fern brush as tall as us and very sharp. Recommend wearing long sleeve and pants to avoid scrapes. Opens up to close range views along Na Pali coast with steep drop offs ranging 100-2000+ feet long. You can witness a long waterfall, coastal beach below, wild goats, sail boats and possible helicopter tours. We were the only ones on the trail the entire day. Expect running into no one. Weather can change quickly from blue sky’s to down pours as we experienced.
TERRAIN: Considered difficult. Lush, muddy, mossy jungle. Many steep up and down hills. Red/orange crumbly soil. Expect to spend 5+ hours total on hike.
DIRECTIONS: Drive up highway 550 from Waimea. Parking for this hike is 4/10thof a mile past 17-mile marker on highway 550. It does not have a designated parking lot however, there is a spot that fits maybe 2-3 cars. It’s on the left hand side at a curve in the road just a little past the popular Awa’awapuhi Trail trailhead. Click here then click their directions for exact GPS location that works even without service.
MY FAVROITE GEAR: STRONGER Athletic Label