Judd Memorial Loop Trail
Trail in Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve
Length (one way): 0.75 mi / 1.21 km - Elevation Change: 200 ft / 60.96 m
Judd Trail is a 1 mile loop trail partially following the Nuuanu stream sporting a moderately thick canopy making for a shady hike.
For additional information refer to the "Route description" section below.
Rules & Regulation
- Walking Path
Terrain and Trail Environment
Forested, Pine tree forest, stream side, Bamboo
The loop trail gradually developed from routes used by early Hawaiians and planting crews of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Unemployed workers hired by the Territory completely rebuilt the Judd loop in 1954.
On the way back visit lovely Jackass Ginger pool. Its original name may have been Kahuailanawai (tranquil water) as the stream tumbles over rapids into a deep, placid swimming hole. In the early 1900s local youths renamed the pool after a nearby donkey and the surrounding yellow ginger.
Hunting may be in progress on or near this hiking trail. Hunting dogs may be off-leash while engaged in the hunt. Hikers must keep their dogs leashed at all times and remove dog waste while on this trail.
- No Alcohol
- No Bicycles
- No Commercial
- No Horse
- No Littering
- No Open Fires
- No Plant Sand Dirt Rock Removal
- No Smoking
Simple Trail Tips
- Stay on the trail.
- Check the weather
- Watch the time
- Avoid undue risk
- Read all posted signs
- Respect other trail users
- Pack out at least what you pack in.
NOTICE: Special pig control hunt in progress on this trail. Hunting with hunting dog activity is permitted on Wednesdays and Sundays from sun-up to sundown. Hunting may be in progress on these days on or near this hiking trail. Hunting dogs may be off-leash while engaged in the hunt. Hikers with pet dogs should consider using other trails during control hunt period to avoid possible encounters with hunting dogs. Hikers must keep their dogs leashed at all times and remove dog waste while on this trail.
Do not use any trail or access road that is not delineated by name and color and that may also be displayed on these maps. The marked features are managed for public recreational use. Other trails or roads that branch off from the public features may be on private property, and are not managed for any public recreational use. Access is subject to adjacent landowner approval, and if used without authorization, you will be trespassing and possibly putting yourself at risk.
Downloadable resources are provided below
Amenities & Facilities
- Dangerous Footing
- Flash Flood
- Hunting Area
- Slippery Rocks
- Stream Crossing
- Uneven Surface
- Dog Hunting
- Dog on Leash
From Honolulu on the Pali Highway, turn right on Nu‘unau Pali Drive until you reach a concrete bridge. Immediately to your right is an open area in the ironwood trees. This is the trailhead for Judd Trail. Park along the road at the trailhead. PLEASE NOTE: This is a narrow road with limited line-of-sight areas. Please park responsibly, be aware of vehicular traffic, and try to stay out of the road. Caution - this is a high theft area! Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
Please note that the JuddTrail (in yellow) is part of the Honolulu-Mauka Trail Network, comprising of 18 interconnected trails (in turquoise). The system may be accessed via the Makiki Arboretum Trail (dark blue) as part of an extended hike. The shortest route from the Makiki Arboretum Trail to the Judd trailhead is 5.65 miles.
Go around the barriers along Nu`uanu Pali Dr. and walk across a flat clearing formerly used as a parking lot
Descend to Nu`uanu Stream through ironwood trees on the signed Judd Trail.
Cross the stream immediately upon reaching it. (Do not take the trail heading downstream along the near bank.)
On the far bank reach a signed junction in a bamboo grove. Continue straight on the wide trail heading away from the stream. (The trail on the right along the stream is the return leg of the Judd loop.)
Swing right and contour into and out of several small gullies through eucalyptus and Cook pines. Ignore side trails heading upslope or down to the stream.
Enter the Charles S. Judd Memorial Grove of Cook pines.
As the trail descends, bear left into a shallow gully and cross it.
Almost immediately reach a signed junction. Continue straight downhill on the Judd loop. (To the left is the Nu`uanu Trail, which climbs out of the valley to Pauoa Flats.)
Descend the ridge in a series of gentle switchbacks. Ignore a side trail on the left.
After emerging from the Cook pines, swing right and cross two gullies with tangled hau groves.
Contour well above Nu`uanu Stream along the edge of the pine grove.
Pass a small rusted stake on the left, and almost immediately reach an obscure junction. Continue straight on the Judd Trail. (To the left a makeshift trail descends to Jackass Ginger (Kahuailanawai) pool.)
Contour above the stream briefly and then descend to walk alongside it.
Pass a large banyan tree on the far bank and go through a bamboo grove.
Reach the initial junction and stream crossing.
Turn left, recross Nu`uanu Stream, and climb the far bank to the main road.
Judd Trail starts just below the parking area and proceeds across the stream. Exercise caution while crossing the stream, as the rocks are unstable and slippery. Once across the stream, the Judd Trail forms a loop, so you may proceed in either direction. The Judd Trail traverses through primarily bamboo, ironwood and eucalyptus forest. This trail connects with Nu‘uanu Trail about midway along the loop. Descriptions for route, history, plants and birds were provided by Stuart Ball, author of The Hikers Guide to Oahu and other hiking books.
Plants & Birds
On the initial section of the Judd loop is a large grove of Cook pines. They have overlapping, scale-like leaves about 1/4 inch long, rather than true needles. Named after Captain James Cook, the pines are native to New Caledonia (Isle of Pines) in the South Pacific between Fiji and Australia. The grove and the loop trail are named after Charles S. Judd, the Territorial Forester during the 1930s when the pines were planted.
On the return the loop passes several groves of tangled hau trees with large, heart-shaped leaves. Their flowers are bright yellow with a dark red center, and resemble those of a hibiscus. Early Hawaiians used the wood for kites and canoe outriggers, the bark for sandals, and the sap as a laxative.