A slippery, muddy adventure on the Mount Olympus Hike on Oahu, Hawaii.
WHERE IS MOUNT OLYMPUS HIKE ON OAHU, HAWAII
When you search on Google Maps you are actually looking for Wa’ahila Ridge. This is where you will start the hike and many people hike this ridge but don’t go all the way to Mount Olympus. Park at the Wa’ahila Ridge parking lot and then start that trail. It continues into the Mount Olympus hiking trail.
HIKING MOUNT OLYMPUS
Mt Olympus Hike is one of the highest peaks on Oahu and is often entirely engulfed by clouds. It is a 4-5 hour round trip with muddy terrain and a number of steep inclines. Although there are a number of different ways to reach Mt Olympus, we began at Wa’ahila Ridge Recreation Park.
The Mount Olympus hike begins slowly, a clear path leads you through a tunnel of trees before exposing you to your first views of the valley and the first look at the drop on the sides of the ridge. At this stage of the trail, there are several sections that require you to clamber down rocks or pull yourself up muddy slopes by hanging onto tree trunks. It isn’t very hard but important to note this isn’t a straightforward walking trail.
The hike begins to open up after 45 minutes of walking and there are several open landings with views of Waikiki and beyond. We decided to test out how sturdy a few of the trees were and climbed out on the branches as we looked out over Honolulu.
Back to the trail and the incline becomes a whole lot steeper and so slippery you will be thankful for the ropes. We dragged ourselves up with the ropes to what appeared to be the top of the hike. However, it seemed that this was somewhat of a false ending to the hike as we could see the trail continuing. I had previously done the Ka’au Crater hike before and knew that these two trails linked up via the ridge. We kept going until we were right on top of Mt. Olympus although there was no clear landing to enjoy the view.
We found a little clearing, large enough to set up to shoot a time-lapse and enjoy the amazing spectacle of watching wave after wave of clouds come rushing towards us. It was a little frightening to be up so high, in interesting weather conditions but while the trail is narrow there is quite a lot of vegetation on either side of the trail so we were not worried if we did slip in the mud on the way down, as it would have been hard to slip completely off of the trail.
The trail did seem to connect to Kaau Crater hike on the right-hand side but the connecting trail looked a bit dangerous. It would be a huge loop to come up . Mount Olympus and down the Kaau Crater trail but I think it would be possible.
We ventured a little further and watched the clouds roll over Ka’au Crater for a while. It was really awesome to watch in real time but even more amazing to see it later when we looked back at the time lapse video. We tried a few of the classic blowing or “vaping” pictures and managed to perfect a couple of them.
Just when we were ready to pack up it started to rain heavily, this made us quite nervous for our descent but we waited a little while and luckily the rain passed. The trail was now a slick track perfect for some tropical skiing.
We began our trek down and found some relatively safe looking spots to slide down the mountain. I don’t suggest this activity but if you feel confident it is definitely a good laugh. We had too many falls to count and it was really the highlight of the hike. I haven’t had that much fun hiking down a mountain since I have been on Oahu.
We continued to stop for photos along the way, pushing the limits of a few old trees by crawling out onto their extended branches for some amazing views. The trees did crumble somewhat and may even be a little rotted, so once again this is not a suggestion for how to hike Mt. Olympus safely.
The last 30 minutes of the Mount Olympus hiking trail was up and down and down and up, which was grueling after a long day but that is what hiking is all about. We finally arrived back at Waahila Recreation Park at 6 pm, after what was a long, muddy and very enjoyable adventure. The Mt. Olympus hike has definitely found itself a place in my top five hikes on Oahu so far.
Where to stay on Oahu
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island.
Why I recommend this hotel: It has its own private lagoon. While lots of people love the beach it is perfect for families. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach so don’t worry the beach is right there also.
Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.
Why I recommend this hotel: The Sheraton is always exceptional no matter the location but imagine you are leaning over the edge of an infinity pool, the ocean is below you and you turn to your left and watch Diamond Head crater in the distance. That’s where you will be at the end of each day, having a Mai Tai cocktail in your infinity pool. Later on, in the evening Rumfire is a great bar venue, which is actually part of the Sheraton. It is open to the public and is one of the best high-end venues on Oahu. It has a small dance floor but is mostly standing and seating areas for drinks, chats and good times.
Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.
Why do I recommend this hostel/hotel: This is the perfect hotel if you want location but are willing to sacrifice a pool and some luxury items to save up to $200 per night. All of the hotels in this area are minimum $300 per night and often much more. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. If you are like me, I never swim in the hotel pool anyway. Didn’t you come halfway across the world to swim in the beach!
Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.
Why I recommend this hostel: Unfortunately Waikiki and Honolulu, in general, are not cheap. You can grab a dorm room for under $35 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach. This location really is great. You are near a lot of attractions and can take public transport to a lot of great east coast beaches and hikes. It is the number one hostel in Waikiki and I’m sure you will meet other adventurers to go on hikes with!
Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.
Why I recommend this hotel: Disney Aulani Resort combines luxury accommodation with family fun. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind. The kids club and massage center are just among a few of the many activities included in your stay. Attend ukelele lessons, free fire-pit story-telling at night and more and more! Your kids will never be bored and the quality of entertainment and facilities is just beyond amazing.
What to pack for a trip to Hawaii
What to pack for Hawaii?: After multiple trips to Hawaii, there are some items you NEED to pack. I wrote a blog post with all of my suggestions about things you might not think about packing: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
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!
What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY
A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?
Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018
The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII
The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII
My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII
The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST