TROPICAL SKIING ON MOUNT OLYMPUS OAHU
When the trail gets muddy, get out your best ski shoes and slide down the slopes.
HIKING MOUNT OLYMPUS
Mt Olympus 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 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.
The Wiliwili Nui Trail was the first ridge hike we did on Oahu and is still one of our favorites.
Back to the trail and the incline becomes a whole lot steeper and 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.
If you love a challenge, make sure you give Koko Head a crack while you are on Oahu. It’s one of the quickest but most gruelling hikes on the island.
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 trail were up and down and down and up, which was bit gruelling after a long day but that is what hiking is all about. We finally arrived back at the Waahila Recreation Park at 6pm, 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.
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!