Trail in Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve
Length (one way): 0.75 mi / 1.21 km - Elevation Change: 300 ft / 91.44 m
Moleka trail is a trail that connects Ualaka'a to mano cliffs trail that offers views of Honolulu and Tantalus.
For additional information refer to the "Route description" below.
Rules & Regulation
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.
- Dangerous Cliff
- Dangerous Footing
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.
- No Hunting
Volunteers under the direction of the Sierra Club, Hawai`i Chapter built the Nahuina Trail during the summer of 1979. Crews started from Round Top Drive and worked downhill to the Makiki Valley Trail. The volunteers especially enjoyed the lower section around Pu`u Kakea where they worked in loose cinder, rather than the usual mud and rock.
Always yield to hikers. Do not slide around corners or slide down the trail. Careless mountain biking damages the trail and causes erosion. If accidents are reported or damage to the trail is extreme, the trail may be closed to mountain bikers. This trail is not an easy mountain bike trail.
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.
Terrain and Trail Environment
Dense, wet forest
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.
If driving, proceed mauka on Round Top Drive to the vicinity of 4005 Round Top Drive. Look for the trailhead sign and a small parking lot on the left hand side of the road. You may park here. This is also the parking area for Manoa Cliff Trailhead, which is on the mauka side of the street.
Please note that the Moleka Trail (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 Moleka trailhead is 1.1 miles.
The Moleka Trail starts at a signed junction by a small parking lot along Round Top Dr. Descend gradually through bamboo, paralleling Moleka Stream, but well above it. Underfoot are cinders from the eruption of Sugarloaf (Pu`u Kakea). Climb briefly on two switchbacks up the side of Pu`u Kākea on a narrow trail. Reach the end of the Moleka Trail at a signed junction with the Makiki Valley Trail.
The trail takes you along the upper east edge of Makiki Valley. It traverses through a bamboo grove and offers panoramic views of Honolulu and Tantalus. The trail ends at the Makiki Valley Trail. If you proceed left on Makiki Valley Trail, it takes you to Round Top Drive. If you go right on Makiki Valley Trail, it takes you to a four-way intersection with ‘Ualaka‘a and Maunalaha Trails. There is a system trail map at this location.
Descriptions for route, history, plants and birds were provided by Stuart Ball, author of The Hikers Guide to Oahu and other hiking books.