Hiking Ma’akua Ridge (also known as Papali Loop Trail) | Hau’ula, Oahu
On one weekend with a rainy forecast, we decided to go for one of the easier hikes we had been saving for such a day. The hike just so happened to be near one of the wettest areas on the island…but since the trail was considered easy and not dangerous like the ridges would be, we weren’t deterred. We drove up the Windward coast to Hau’ula and returned to an area we had explored a few months prior. Last May, we hiked the Hau’ula Loop, and today we went for the loop just down the road from there. We parked at the beach, then walked through a neighborhood, around a yellow gate, and followed the road until we came to a graffiti wall on the right. Today’s trail, the Ma’akua Ridge Trail, was about halfway down the wall on the left. Almost right away it crossed a wide ravine, but thankfully it was dry today despite the recent wet weather.
The trail was muddy and sometimes narrow, but we were still comfortable hiking it. The thick foliage from the tropical forest provided a good shield from the rain, and we didn’t even need to use our umbrellas. Much like the Hau’ula trail, there were only a few scenic vistas on the Ma’akua Ridge trail, so this isn’t the trail to take if you’re looking for views. We did see 2 other hiking groups which was 2 more than last time, but otherwise the trail was quiet and exactly what we were looking for.
As always, we admired the surrounding flora. We started noticing these purple flowers with string-like petals and soon figured out that they were blue passion flower, producing a variety of lilikoi, otherwise known as passion fruit. Most of the yellow-orange fruits we found were already eaten by the creatures in the forest, but Curtis found one that was untouched. Once we reached a bench with a view to the East, he quickly Googled it to make sure it was safe to eat, then cut it open and we found it surprisingly delicious. I saved part of mine with the seeds just to see if we could grow some. (In a pot, of course — this is one of those fruits that isn’t native to Hawaii and is taking over the native foliage.)
Altogether, the Ma’akua Ridge loop was about 4 miles long including walking to and from our parking spot at the beach. While it had a fair amount of switchbacks and went through some overgrown sections, it was honestly pretty easy and overall enjoyable. There were a few spots with unobstructed views East along the way. I’d say I enjoyed the Hau’ula loop more based on the views of the valley and the stretch of trail going through the Norfolk trees, but both were certainly worth doing.
Afterwards, we realized we needed more gas to make it back home, so we drove up North a little further to Laie to fill the tank. I had a coastal spot saved on Google Maps that I had wanted to visit, so we decided to check it out since we were there. Google has it listed as Laie Point State Wayside. I thought it looked cool, but I underplayed it as being just another ocean view so that Curtis wouldn’t be expecting much. However, once we arrived we were both struck by the view: the coral stretching out into the ocean, the giant rock arch nearby, the cloud-covered Ko’olaus to the South, and the HUGE waves that were rolling in. We spent a bit of time wandering around and taking in the views. Curtis walked all the way out to the point. I saw the size of the waves and stayed back, not wanting to risk getting my camera wet — but even being 15 feet behind him couldn’t keep me safe from one huge rogue wave that soaked us both! I shrieked and then we both couldn’t stop laughing, I’d say we were an amusing site for the other visitors who were smarter and much further back than we were!
As I gazed out over the waves at the Ko’olau mountains engulfed by clouds, I couldn’t stop thinking about how glad I was that we had risked a rainy day for this view. Sure, I’d love to return another day when I can see the whole range, but it was so worth it to get out and enjoy it today!