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Hiking The Manana Ridge Trail On Oahu, Hawaii

Hiking The Manana Ridge Trail On Oahu, Hawaii

On Hawaii’s island of Oahu, the picturesque Manana Ridge Trail provides hikers with a tough yet rewarding trip. The trail, which is 10 miles (16 kilometers) long, offers spectacular views of the island, including its lush forest and the Koolau Mountain Range. Due to the steep inclines and uneven terrain, and muddy surface, the hike is regarded as moderately challenging. The track is best suited for seasoned hikers who are in good physical shape because it has a total ascent of around 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), and has some steep sections.

a person in an orange jacket is pointing at the mountains.


In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about the Manana Ridge Trail. From how to get there, the distance, the difficulty, and then my experience on the trail.

a tree that is bent over in the woods.


  • Hike Distance: The Manana Ridge Trail is approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) long when completed as an out-and-back route.
  • Hike Duration: The hike usually takes around 5-6 hours to complete, depending on your hiking speed and any stops you make along the way.
  • Hike Difficulty: The Manana Ridge Trail is considered a moderately difficult hike due to its steep inclines and uneven terrain. Hikers should have some experience and be in good physical condition.
  • Hike Incline: The trail has a total incline of around 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), with some steep sections.
a bush with red flowers in the foreground and a mountain in the background.



The Manana Ridge Trailhead is located in Pearl City, Hawaii, and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. To reach the trailhead by car, take H-1 West towards Pearl City and take Exit 10 for Waimano Home Road. Turn right onto Waimano Home Road and continue onto Komo Mai Drive. Turn left onto Anonui Street and then left again onto Komo Mai Drive. Finally, turn left onto Kahuanani Street and continue until you reach the end of the road, where you’ll find the trailhead. If you’re taking public transportation, you can take bus number 53 from Ala Moana Center to the Pearl City Bus Terminal, then transfer to bus number 52 to the trailhead. The trailhead is located at the end of Kahuanani Street, and there is a small parking area available for hikers.



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The Manana Ridge Trail isn’t one of the most popular hikes on Oahu, Hawaii. It’s not that close to Waikiki/Honolulu and is a bit more difficult than lots of comparable ridge hikes on the island. For these reasons, on this trail, you will find mostly locals who live nearby or avid hikers looking for something different.


Many people come unprepared for hiking on Oahu and that’s why there are so many rescues. Make sure you at least have the basics and you will be prepared for bad weather or any mishaps on the trail. A headlamp, rain jacket, and good hiking boots or shoes are the three main pieces of gear you need. Below are my four Hawaii hiking essentials.

  • Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
  • Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
  • Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
  • Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.

I chose to do the Manana Ridge Trail as part of a point-to-point route as I try and collect more kilometers on the Koolau Summit Trail. My plan was to head up Manana Ridge Trail, collect six kilometers on the KST by traversing to Aiea Ridge Trail, and then descend from there. My route was a tough 23km route with 1800m of incline and took me just over 10 hours. However, most hikers on the Manana Ridge Trail will do an out-and-back route or descend via the Waimano Ridge Trail after traversing the KST for a short period.

The trailhead is in a small neighborhood near Pearl City and commandeered by a gang of forty chickens.

a group of chickens standing on top of a dirt field.

The route is pretty well-signed throughout, but it always pays to have the route downloaded on a hiking app for safety.

a couple of signs that are in the grass.

The trail begins on a paved path for a kilometer or so before the pavement gives way to a dirt path before eventually becoming more natural with clay and grass.

a dirt road surrounded by tall grass and trees.
a dirt path in the middle of a forest.

After a couple of kilometers, you will find this unique, vertical-oriented sign that shows you the way to Waimano Waterfall or the Manana Trail. It’s only a short detour for the falls but Manana Ridge Trail is already a significant journey so I would leave that for another day.

a couple of signs that are in the dirt.
a dirt path in the middle of a forest.
a dirt path in the middle of a forest.

You’ll find a few nice benches, viewpoints and even a shelter next to a flat camping site. This is the last of the wide-open trail as the route get’s a little wild after the shelter.

a wooden bench sitting on top of a lush green hillside.
a wooden picnic table sitting in the middle of a field.

From this point on the trail becomes a wild, single-track route the forest. The overgrowth becomes more and more dense as the trail leads up the Koolau Summit. Pants are definitely recommended for this hike as with many of the overgrown trails on Oahu.

a lush green forest filled with lots of trees.
a trail in the middle of a lush green forest.

You’ll come across this fence about halfway through the hike. There is never a need to cross over the fence although you will pass over the initial gate. It’s pretty straightfoward and there are no diversions or alternate trails to watch out for. You simply keep heading straight up the ridge toward the Koolau Mountain Range.

a fence on a hill with a foggy mountain in the background.
a tree that is bent over in the woods.

The diffiuclt of this trail is ‘moderate’ but that can be hard to express. Basically, it’s quite a slippery, muddy trail after rain. There are many steep sections and even a few little rope-climbs although no scrambling, rock climbing. It’s comparable to most of the ridge hikes in town such as Wiliwilinui, Lanipo or Mount Olympus.

a person in an orange jacket is pointing at the mountains.

I was hiking through a bit of a storm so unfortuantely can’t share with you the views of all the surrounding mountains. However, those of you who hike on Oahu will know, it’s often more beautiful to hike on Oahu with the rolling fog. These shots below where from my favorite spots on the trail.

a very tall mountain covered in lots of vegetation.
a bush with red flowers in the foreground and a mountain in the background.

The end of this route is marked by a sign that advises not to go further. Generally here you have a great view along the KST and towards the windward side of Oahu. I met a big white wall but that’s how it goes hiking on Oahu.

a black and yellow sign that says end of manana ridge trail.
a couple of signs that are in the grass.

I hope you enjoyed this guide to hiking the Manana Ridge Trail on Oahu, Hawaii.


a couple of people sitting in a swimming pool.
a view of a beach with palm trees and a swimming pool.
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  • Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
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I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!