Thursday, October 20, 2011

Poamoho Ridge

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be invited by one of my friends to join him and two others on the Poamoho ridge trail, starting in Wahiawa.  This is one of those trails that you need to apply for a permit for and without it you are pretty much out of luck.  You will need to apply for the permit 10 working days in advance of your trip.  Permits are only granted for state and federal holidays and on weekends.  To be completely honest I never get the permits that I supposedly need to hike certain trails here but on this trail it is a must.  Upon recieving your permit you will also recieve a combination to 3 gates that you must open to get to the start of the poamoho trail.  Without a 4-wheel drive vehicle and the combinations to open these gates you would be looking at about a 5 mile one way walk from the gate to the start of the trail.  So thats about 10 miles round trip not even including the mileage of the actual trail itself.  Best to just apply for the permit and have someone with a 4-wheel drive, drive to the start of the trail and hike with you.  They do only allow 5 people per vehicle though.  I will give the contact information for the permit at the bottom of this write up.

As for the hike itself, we met in Wahiawa at the Poamoho hele gate just before the Helemano military reservation around 8am.  As the rest of us jumped into the 4-wheel drive vehicle, my buddy opened the gate and off we were.  The ride to the trailhead was bumpy and I strongly question if it would've been makeable without a 4-wheel drive.  Once to the trailhead we all jumped out of the vehicle and admired the views that were already upon us.  We started off on the trail and the first thing that came into my mind was how reminiscent and almost identical it was of the Halawa Ridge trail.  The trail is very easy to follow and is around 7-8 miles round trip (depending on if you go to the poamoho cabin or not) yet it feels alot shorter than that due to the fact that the incline is very gradual.  In no time we had reached the summit of the Poamoho trail and were greeted by a rock dedicated to geraldine clines.  The rock also points in the right direction if you wanna go further.  To the left is the laie trail and to the right the schofield waikane trail.  Once at the summit we were greated by some crazy wind but fortunately the skies (which had been filled with clouds all morning) magically cleared for us for about five minutes giving us just enough time to snap some pictures.  The views were amazing.  Looking out we could see puu piei just in front of us and to our right we could see puu manamana, and puu ohulehule.  The view was absolutely amazing from the summit but sadly it only lasted a few minutes before the summit was socked in once more.  Once everyone was done taking pictures we gathered our stuff and took headed towards the kst in the direction of the schofield waikane trail.  Our goal was to get to Poamoho cabin which was only about a half mile away.  The kst from Poamoho to the cabin was muddy but in good shape.  It only took about 10 to 15 minutes to reach the cabin and once there I was awed by the cabin.  It was a very clean cabin with lots of space inside and wooden beds that were like bunk beds and could probably sleep six.  After hanging out for a bit and signing the book log we all headed back for the Poamoho summit and started our trek back to the start of the trailhead.  The pace going back was pretty fast and we made it back within an hour and a half.  This is a very easy trail with great views at the summit.  It's sad that the access is somewhat restricted, but I highly encourage everyone to get the permit and a 4-wheel drive and head out for Poamoho.  You wont regret it.  Here's the contact information for the permit, and upon recieving it they will give you directions to the trailhead.

Oahu Division of Forestry and Wildlife - Dept. of Land and Natural Resources - 2135 Makiki Heights Dr. Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Phone: (808) 973-9778


  1. You didn't mention the mud, choke mud! Did this about 3 weeks ago.

  2. I've heard that this is typically a very mud trail but it was not that bad at all when we went. We have been getting some rain recently though so i'm sure that helped make your trip a mudfest. lol. Glad you got to do Poamoho though and I hope you got some better views at the summit than we did.

  3. View? What view? We saw lot of lush valley but not sweeping views of the coast that I have seen others post. But we stopped where the trail ended because it was so slippery that day. So I don't think we make it truley to the summit

  4. Great job on the write up! Would you mind writing a review of the trail and uploading some photos of it here: