Kuaokala Trail


I gathered a group of friends for this venture on Columbus Day weekend.  The trail is one of only a few on the west side of the island that is state maintained.  It can be accessed from the north shore through the Mokuleia Firebreak road but that makes for long 15 or so miles.  I decided to access the trail with a permit that I acquired through the department of land and natural resources (DLNR).  The permit isn’t hard to get and there is not fee.  The permit can be obtained either through the mail or in person at one of the DLNR offices.  The only requirement is a 4wd vehicle since the trailhead is up on top of Mt. Ka’ala near the satellite tracking station.

I went to the DLNR office in Makiki and obtained my permit for this trip.  I have done it through the mail in the past for our trip to Poamoho Ridge.  We had a 4 man crew on this hike because that’s all our Jeep would hold.  Well, 4 people and a dog anyway.  I drove over to the west side and met everyone else there.  The jeep is older and when I turned it off at the restroom before we went up it refused to start again.  I called my husband and he said one of the terminals on the battery was loose.  It would have been nice to have known that before I left!  With the help of my handy Gerber and a friend we got the problem remedied quickly.

The security at the gate is controlled by the US Airforce who take security very seriously.  I showed ID and my pass at the first gate.  While they were reviewing the pass they put up this huge steel plate so that I couldn’t crash the gate.  The guards are also fully locked and loaded with the airman’s best friend an M4.  After the first gate there were 2 more gates to pass through before entering the preserve.

The start of the Kuaokala trail is at the beginning of the unpaved road and there is a parking area right next to it.  So, you really don’t need 4wd for that but every car going up there is required to have it.  The preserve is a popular place to hunt wild boar and also with 4wd enthusiasts who like to place In the mud on the dirt road leading to “peacock flats” camping area where the Mokuleia trail begins.  I had hoped to hike this trail on that same weekend but that was not meant to happen.

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Friday was a beautiful day for a hike and the views were incredible.  We never saw a single sole on the trail.  Our group included my friends Kristi, Corry, Dana and myself.  The total distance on this loop hike was about 5.5miles.  Enjoy the photos and I think you will see why this hike is so worth the little effort required.  We could see the west side and Makua Valley on the first half of the loop and the north shore and Waiamea Valley on the second half of the hike.

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