Makiki Valley Trail
Trail in Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve
Details: Length (one way): 1.1 mi / 1.77 km - Elevation Change: 200 ft / 60.96 m
Makiki Valley Trail is a 1.1 mile switchback trail through a variety of vegetation and several other trails.
For additional information refer to the "Route description" section below.
Rules & Regulation
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
- Dog Hunting
- Dogs on Leash
- Nature Study
- Open Views
- Dangerous Footing
- Falling Rocks
- Hunting Area
- Narrow Trail
- Slipper Rocks
- Stream Crossing
- Uneven Surface
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.
Shortly after the establishment of the Honolulu Forest Watershed Reserve in 1913, Territorial Forestry constructed the Makiki Valley Trail to provide access from a small nursery below Sugarloaf (Pu`u Kakea) to nearby watersheds for planting tree seedlings.
Terrain and Trail Environment
Thick forest, mixed forest and tree types, stream side
Plants, Birds, & Geology
Lining the switchbacks just past the Nahuina junction are ki (ti) plants. They have shiny leaves, 1--2 feet long that are arranged spirally in a cluster at the tip of a slender stem. Early Polynesian voyagers introduced ti to Hawai`i. They used the leaves for house thatch, skirts, sandals, and raincoats. Food to be cooked in the imu (underground oven) was first wrapped in ti leaves. A popular sport with the commoners was ho`ohe`e ki or ti-leaf sledding. The sap from ti plants stained canoes and surfboards. Also along Kanealole and Moleka Streams are kukui trees. Their large, pale green leaves resemble those of the maple, with several distinct lobes. Early Polynesian voyagers introduced kukui into Hawai`i. They used the wood to make gunwales and seats for their outrigger canoes. The flowers and sap became medicines to treat a variety of ailments. Early Hawaiians strung the nuts together to make lei hua (seed or nut garlands). The oily kernels became house candles and torches for night spear fishing. While skirting Pu`u Kakea, notice the black cinder underfoot and embedded in the cliff to the left. Pu`u Kakea is a cinder cone formed by an eruption during the last volcanic activity on O`ahu, known as the Honolulu Series.
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.
- No Alcohol
- No Bicycles
- No Commercial
- No Littering
- No Motorized Vehicles
- No Open Fires
- No Plant Sand Dirt Rock Removal
- No Smoking
This trail has two access points. The trail traverses across the Makiki Valley connecting to mutable other trails for approximately 1.1 miles. Vegetation and forest types along the trail are mixed and include swamp mahogany, eucalyptus, and some native Hawai‘ian plants. This trail connects the Maunalaha, Kanealole, Moleka, 'Ualaka'a, and Nahuina Trails.
Descriptions for route, history, plants and birds were provided by Stuart Ball, author of The Hikers Guide to Oahu and other hiking books.
There are two (2) ways to access this trail:
1. Proceed uphill, towards the mountain (mauka) on Tantalus Drive. Approximately 1/2 way to the top, look for the trail head sign on the right hand side of the road. Prior to the Makiki Valley Trail head sign, there is a small parking area on the corner. You may park here.
2. This trail may also be accessed via Round Top Drive, Maunalaha, Kanealole, Moleka or Nahuina Trails.
Please note that the Makiki ValleyTrail (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 Makiki Valley trailhead is 1.15 miles.
From the small parking area at the switchback walk up Tantalus Dr. briefly to a signed junction on the right. Turn right off the road onto the Makiki Valley Trail. Descend gradually along the slope into the Kanealole watershed. Shortly reach a signed junction. Continue straight and down on the valley trail. (To the left the Nahuina Trail leads up to Tantalus Dr. and the Kalawahine Trail.) Switchback twice past some ki (ti) plants. Reach another signed junction. Continue straight on the valley trail. (To the right the Kanealole Trail leads down to Hawai`i Nature Center.) Cross a side stream and then Kanealole Stream on plank walkways. Climb gradually out of the Kanealole drainage. Descend gradually into a gulch and cross a small stream there. Descend gradually into Moleka watershed and cross double Moleka Stream on slippery rocks. Ascend steadily out of the Moleka drainage to reach a 4-way junction. Bear left and up on the valley trail. (Straight ahead is the `Ualaka`a Trail, which leads to Pu`u `Ualaka`a State Park. To the right is the Maunalaha Trail, which descends steeply to Hawai`i Nature Center.) Reach a signed junction by a banyan tree. Continue straight on the valley trail. (On the left the Moleka Trail climbs to Round Top Dr. and the Manoa Cliff Trail.) Climb gradually along the flank of Sugarloaf (Pu`u Kakea), a volcanic cone. Go under a banyan tree arch. Reach the end of the Makiki Valley Trail at Round Top Dr.