Hau‘ula Loop Trail
Trail in Hauʻula Forest Reserve
Length (one way): 1.3 mi / 2.09 km - Elevation Change: 1,200 ft / 365.76 m
Hau'ula Loop trail is an ascending loop trail that leads into the nearby ridge line after crossing a gulch.
For additional information refer to the "Route description" below.
Rules & Regulation
First try to click on the “Get Directions” icon at the top of this page. If taking TheBus, click on the "Transit" icon at the top of the search bar. You may need to change the starting address to your current location. Clicking on TheBus link provided below will also take you to TheBus website.
From Kamehameha Highway in Hau‘ula, turn onto Hau‘ula Homestead Road (across from Hau‘ula Beach Park). When the road makes a sharp curve to the left, continue straight onto the access road. Park along the road before the cable gate, taking care not to block the gate. Continue on foot past the gate and the hunter/hiker check-in station. Hau‘ula Trail begins on the right side of the access road, just past the check-in station.
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.
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.
Above Kaipapa`u (shallow sea) Gulch on the Hau`ula loop are a few pukiawe shrubs and `ohi`a trees. Pukiawe has tiny, rigid leaves and small white, pink, or red berries. `Ohi`a has oval leaves and clusters of delicate red flowers. Early Hawaiians used the flowers in lei and the wood in outrigger canoes. The hard, durable wood was also carved into god images for heiau (religious sites).
On the return leg of the Hau`ula loop is a forest of tall Cook pines planted by Territorial Forestry in 1933. They have overlapping, scale-like leaves about 1/4 inch long, rather than true needles. Named after Captain James Cook, they are native to New Caledonia (Isle of Pines) in the South Pacific between Fiji and Australia.
- Dog Hunting
- Dog on leash
- Wildlife View
In the early 1930s Territorial Forestry built the Hau`ula Loop to provide access to the Hau`ula Forest Reserve for tree planters, pig hunters, and fence builders. Trail crews started digging out the loop in January 1933 and finished it in April of the same year. Civilian Conservation Corps workers re-graded and cleared the Hau`ula Loop in 1935.
- Nature Study
- Ocean Scenery
- Open Views
- Scenic viewpoint
- Walking Path
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
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.
Amenities & Facilities
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.
- No Alcohol
- No Motorized Vehicles
- No Horse
- No Littering
- No Open fires
- No Plant Sand Dirt Rock Removal
- No Smoking
- No Swimming
Terrain and Trail Environment
Mountainous, mixed forest and tree types, loop, views
- Dangerous Footing
- Flash Flood
- Hunting Area
- Narrow Trail
- Stream Crossing
- Uneven Surface
Hau‘ula Loop Trail begins on the right side of the access road, just past the hiker/hunter check-in station. Where the trail branches off, take the right fork which climbs up the adjoining ridge. It crosses Waipilopilo Gulch, then travels makai (towards the ocean) on the next ridge overlooking Kipapau Valley to return back across the gulch, around the makai side of the ridge, and rejoins the start of the trail. This trail goes through groves of planted ironwood. It also offers great views of Hau‘ula and the ocean. Remnant native species in the Waipilopilo Gulch include lama, alahe‘e, ‘ohi‘a, hoawa, akia and a‘ali‘i. This trail is a good family trail. This trail traverses a public hunting area - hikers should exercise caution. Wear bright colored clothing and be aware that you may encounter hunters who may be hunting off trail - stay on 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.