Pu'u Pia Trail

Trail in Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve


  • Directions

    Geolocation is not allowed
  • Distance

    0.69 miles



Length (one way): 1.2 mi / 1.93 km - Elevation Change: 400 ft / 121.92 m

General Summary:

Pu'u Pia trail is a trail connected to Kolowalu trail sporting thick forest ascending to a view of Manoa valley.

For additional information refer to the "Route description" section below.

Allowed Activities
Rules & Regulation
No Biking
Stay On Trail
Dogs On Leash
Allowed Access

Additional Information

Amenities & Facilities

  • Shelter


The trail is named after pia or arrowroot, which is a perennial herb introduced to Hawai`i by early Polynesian voyagers. Its large, lobed leaves resemble those of a papaya. Pia produces a tall flower stalk and an underground tuber similar to a potato. Early Hawaiians used powdered starch from the tuber as a thickening for haupia (coconut pudding). Unfortunately, no pia are to be found along its namesake trail.


  • Dangerous Footing
  • Slippery Rocks

Dog Owners

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 Bicycles
  • No Hunting

Terrain and Trail Environment

Mountainous, thick forest canopy

Plants & Birds

On the trail look and listen for the white-rumped shama. It is black on top with a chestnut-colored breast and a long black-and-white tail. The shama has a variety of beautiful songs and often mimics other birds. A native of Malaysia, the shama has become widespread in introduced forests such as this one.

Along the Pu`u Pia ridge are native naupaka kuahiwi shrubs and koa trees. Naupaka kuahiwi has light green, toothed leaves and white half-flowers. Koa has sickle-shaped foliage and pale yellow flower clusters. Early Hawaiians made surfboards and outrigger canoe hulls out of the beautiful red brown wood. Today it is made into fine furniture.


  • Pedestrian

Mountain Bikers

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.

Route Description

From the rear of Manoa Valley, this thickly forested trail gradually ascends up to the top of a pu‘u (hill). From the top of the pu‘u, there are great views of Manoa Valley, Manoa Falls and Honolulu. Koa trees and naupaka are prevalent along the last part of the trail. Descriptions for route, history, plants and birds were provided by Stuart Ball, author of The Hikers Guide to Oahu and other hiking books.

Special Conditions

Camping at the Shelter Only - By Permit Only.

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.

Simple Trail Tips

  1. Stay on the trail.
  2. Check the weather
  3. Watch the time
  4. Avoid undue risk
  5. Read all posted signs
  6. Respect other trail users
  7. Pack out at least what you pack in.


If driving, take E. Manoa Road in Manoa Valley, toward the mountain, past Manoa Marketplace to the intersection of Alani Drive Turn left, and continue for about 0.75 mi. to where Alani Drive takes a sharp right, and Alani Lane continues straight ahead. Park along Alani Drive in the neighborhood outside Alani Lane. Do not continue down Alani Lane with your vehicle. Walk down Alani Lane (it will look like a driveway), past the houses, and through the cable gate. Beyond the gate, continue on the dirt road until you get to the Forestry and Wildlife picnic shelter. Pu‘u Pia Trail is to the left of the shelter. Camping allowed at the shelter.

Continue along Alani Dr. on foot. The paved one-lane road soon turns to dirt after passing the last house. Climb over a wire across the road. Parallel an intermittent stream on your left. Reach a signed junction in a clearing with a covered picnic table. Keep left on the road, which is the Pu`u Pia Trail. (The path to the right is the Kolowalu Trail, which ascends to Wa`ahila Ridge.) Climb gradually along the side of a wide gulch through rose apple, paperbark, and other introduced trees. Cross an intermittent side stream on a plank bridge. Swing left around the back of the gulch through tall eucalyptus trees. Ignore side trails to the left and right. Ascend gradually along the left side of Pu`u Pia under native koa trees. Gain the ridgeline and bear left up it through strawberry guava trees.

Reach the top of Pu`u Pia at a grassy clearing with a bench.