KoleKole Pass

Summary: Kolekole Pass is a well known running route, but one that today sees many fewer runners than it once did.  In this post-9/11 world, access to Schofield Barracks, Lualualei Naval Reservation, and this historic road is restricted.  While it has historically been best known as shortcut across the Wai’anae range, these days it is a nice, quiet, and steep place to run.

The Good:  There’s little traffic on this road.  In fact, at during some parts of the day, there’s no through traffic at all, with only military vehicles heading to and from various ranges.  And it’s a nice little climb; the grade is steep enough to strain the legs, but not so severe as to bring you to your knees.  Also, the road is well maintained, and the side grass is regularly cut and cared for; for an out-of-the-way little side road, it’s in remarkably good shape.  Lastly, the road up has both great shade and a wonderful breeze, keeping the temp down during the hardest of times.  Time it right, and you can duck right into the showers at Richardson pool to clean up, before swimming a few laps.

The Bad:  Run what you brung; there’s no water along the way, no fountains, and a single porta-potty (that is actually pretty clean and regularly serviced).  While there are cars that transit the road pass, there are also large military trucks and commercial trucks; all of them do drive slow and are very good about making way for runners (and soldiers on ruck marches, etc).

The Ugly:Well, it’s not really that ugly, but there’s really nothing on the side of the road.  There are sidewalks for a good part of the way up through the military sections of Schofield Barracks, but that ends with the last of the motor pools.  From there on out, you’re running on the edge of the road; it shouldn’t be an issue.

Type of route: Road
Good to run in the rain? Fantastic to run in the rain.

Length: 9.5 miles, from the Inn, up Trimble to the pass, and back down Lymen Road and the cemetery.

Options for the route:I’d love to tell you that there’s still an option to run over the pass, down the other side and on to the ocean.  In the old days, the military use to have organized run to do just that.  I have not heard of it being done recently, or of plans to let anyone do it (though, if a guard would ever give me the chance, I’d surely do it).  Also, there’s a longer (11.5 mile) route that loops more to the northern point of the post, before looping around and back to Trimble.

Elevation change on the run:I’m not really sure (I’ve been running up there without my Garmin) .
Water used:   None.  That being said, I should add that I run in the morning, and I often run in the rain in the morning.  It would be easy to go through 2 liters running up the pass and back, if not three liters of water.

Where to start: The Inn at Schofield Barracks
Where to parkHere (library parking lot, across the street)
Point your car’s GPS towards:  The Inn.

My Google Maps link: here
My Garmin file: None

Water? Not on the route
Toilets? One posta-potty along the way
Medical care? Oh, yes.  Get injured, and just about everyone stops to ask what’s wrong.  Army docs are plentiful, and all are quick to call for an ambulance.
Ranger / park folks? Nope, not in a traditional sense.  The closest thing is probably the Tropic Lightning Museum.
Picnic areas? Yes, at Bowen Field and also adjacent to both Richardson Pool and the Inn.
A place to change afterwards? Yes — Richardson pool (0600-0900 during the week, but weekends it opens at 1100).

Rewards in the area:  There’s a Baskin-Robbins over at the PX, but really, there’s no super-secret bonus for running up this route.

You’d run this route when….it’s raining and the run is coming up.  Or when you’re wanting a harder 10 mile run; this hill is a very good one.

My rating:  8.  I really like this one.  It’s not all that picturesque in some parts, but running across the post and up the hill is a great, great thing.

Music: Military cadence.  No matter what time you run this, no matter the day of the week that you run it, you’re going to pass soldiers coming or going from the pass.

Weather / Trail warnings (no) / Permits (not required)

More reading: here and here and here Flickr: here and hereMore photos: here.   State Park Info: none

Kailua Trail, aka Pillbox Hiking Trail (Kailua, HI)

Summary: At the South end of Kailua, on the Windward side of the island, is a single ridge that divides the town from the restricted space of Bellows Air Force Base.  It’s not a complicated run, or even a very long run, but it offers glorious views, nice hills, a decent enough path, and not a lot of traffic.  It’s in a beautiful area of the island, and is as beautiful a place to run at dawn as it is in a rain storm.

The Good:  Good, good running.  Steep at times, but the trail along the ridgeline is just fantastic.  Low, low traffic — mostly hikers, and mostly folks just going up to the pillboxes.  The trail is very run-able, with only limited sections that mandate slowing to a near-stop.  On the right parts, it is ideal ridge-running — good trail, up high, right along the spine, with great views and few people, but plenty wide so make death unlikely.  With the trail head located so close to the Kailua Beach Park, there’s great support for the post-run — showers, drinking fountains, mostly-safe bathrooms, etc.  And did I mention the scenery?  Holy smokes — beautiful.

The Bad:  Once you get past the pillboxes, well, the quality of the trail drops.  Really, it’s just a matter of not really being able to see the trail as much as you’d want or need.  Yes, this is running country, just not a sprinting trail.  And once the sun comes up, if the clouds are gone, you will heat up.

The Ugly:  There are a few places where you can fall to your death.  No, they don’t sneak up on you or anything — but they are there.  Also, the path down the western descent is poorly marked; it gets the least use, I suppose, so it’s not likely to get better any time soon.

Type of route:  Trail.  Hiking trail, but trail.
Good to run in the rain? Um, if it’s a light rain, sure.  Large parts of the trail, though, route the water off the ridge when it’s a heavy rain, so you’d be on slick rocks in water.  I ran here in a heavy but short rain, and that was OK — just slick and muddy coming down.

Length: 2.2 miles from the Kailua Beach Park, to the far point overlooking the ocean.

Options for the route:  Yes.  Two of them, actually.  Option one is to drop down to the west side, and emerge onto Kamahele Street, on the far side of the (closed) road along the golf course.  From there, it’s a run back up the hill (blah) or a run around the canal and back to the beach (easy run, nice neighborhoods).  Option 2 is to keep heading down along the ridge, and head for the water tower.  From there, it’s a street run back as well.  Option 2 is the most poorly-maintained part of the trails — hands down.  Option 3, I suppose, would be to drop down to Bellows Air Force Base, and get arrested for trespassing.  Not something I’d suggest, though.

Elevation change on the run:  From beach up to about 650 feet at its highest point.
Water used:  Just going out and back is a 1 liter run.  Plan on 2 liters.

Where to start: Here.  Just past the Mid Pacific Country Club, on Kaelepulu Drive.
Where to parkKailua Beach Park.
Point your car’s GPS towards:   Kailua Beach Park, Kailua, Hawaii, 96734.

My Google Earth filehere
My Garmin filehere

Water? Yes– at the Kailua Beach Park.  Good fountains, clean water from the tap, and showers — cold, but wonderful.
Toilets? Yes — at the Kailua Beach Park.
Medical care? No.
Ranger / park folks? Have not seen any — at the park, or on the trail.
Picnic areas? Yes– at the Kailua Beach Park.  That, or eat on top of the bunkers.
A place to change afterwards? Great changing areas — at the Kailua Beach Park.

Rewards in the area:  A swim to Flat Island.  What — you wanted more?

You’d run this route when…. you’ve had your fill recently of speed drills, or tempo work, or other serious training efforts.  This is a great run to do with just you and your iPod and some water.  It’s enjoyable — a fun, fun run.

My rating: 7

MusicParty Ben‘s Sixx Mixx #6, with Go Home Productions.

Weather / Trail warnings (no) / Permits (not required)

More reading: here and here and here.    Flickr: here and here and here.   More photos: here and here.    State Park Info: here

Kamananui Valley Road

Summary:  Running the Kamananui Valley Road through Moanalua Valley is a nice, shady run through relative quiet.  Having been closed to the public for so long as part of the Samuel M. Damon Estate, its recent recent transition to public land makes this a great and still underutilized trail for a morning run.  There are a number of trails in the valley (see below), but running the road itself offers a chance to zone out and enjoy the beauty of this valley.  Add to that the length of the run, and the great infrastructure at the park at the entrance, and this is a great place for a run.

The Good: It’s quiet.  Though the entrance to the valley, the lower part, is residential, sound does not penetrate up into the park area.  The high walls on both sides keep out both sounds and direct sunlight (for much of the day, anyway); it’s not just quiet, it’s cool.   The road is wide, and well worn; getting lost would take either talent or work. Early on, there are a few old bridges along the way; eye candy for the kids, I suppose; I’m OK running over them, but I sure wouldn’t try to drive over them.  If you have an eagle eye, there are some petroglyphs (see this) worth checking out, and scattered here and there are remnants of the old estate.

The Bad:  It’s an old unpaved road.  Really, if you’re not paying attention, I suppose you could twist an ankle or something.  And there is hunting in the area; try not to look, sound or smell like wild pig.  If you’re one of those runners who wants to strip down and run naked through the woods, this is not the place for you; if the ghosts don’t get you, the packs of Korean Aunties will.  Want to hear another horrible thing?  There are numbered signs along the way — and no corresponding guide sheet (they are from long ago).  I can tell you that #3 marks the path to one of the old homes, if that helps anyone’s OCD issues.

The Ugly:  Nothing.  The worst of this whole thing is that there are only 15 parking spaces at the park at the trail head, and between a few hikers, a few dog walkers, and the packs of Korean Aunties that are out in force before 9 AM every day, it can be tough getting a place to park.  Oh, boo hoo.  But really, if that’s the worst of it all, this place is pretty damn good.

Type of route:  unpaved road
Good to run in the rain? Oh, hell no.  This place would be a death trap if a flash flood, um, flashed.  Those signs at the entrance, about the dangers from flash floods, are clearly there for a reason.

Length: Running the road is 7.5 miles, round trip.  That’s just the road, nothing else.
Options for the route:  Yes.  You could split off at around the 2.5 mile mark, and head up the Kulana’ahane Trail.  I have not done this, but looking at the map, and at Google Earth, and that it goes up to the top of the Ha`ikū Stairs, I’m betting that it is 1) not ideal for running; 2) probably a hell of a steep hike; and 3) you would very likely be at risk of falling or something along the way.  At the wide bend, there’s a trail that heads off to the right (East) and up; rumor is that it goes up to Trippler.

Elevation change on the run:  Around 600 feet.  It does not feel like it.
Water used:  Out and back, about 1.5 liters.  Without the direct sunlight, and the cooler temperatures of this time of year (winter), this would have been a great run to do sans camelbak.

Where to start: Moanalua Valley Park
Where to parkMoanalua Valley Park (21°22’26.45″N 157°52’50.03″W)
Point your car’s GPS towards
:   1880 Ala Aolani St, Honolulu, HI 96819

My Google Earth file
: here
My Garmin file: here

Water? Yes, at Moanalua Valley Park.
Toilets? Yes, at Moanalua Valley Park.
Medical care? No.
Ranger / park folks? No.
Picnic areas? Yes, at Moanalua Valley Park.  Two picnic tables, and a kiddie play set.  And lots of grass.
A place to change afterwards? Yes, at Moanalua Valley Park.  It means changing in the stall of the public restroom, but this place is low use and well maintained.  Trust me — it’s not Candlestick Park at the end of the double-header (and wow, I just showed my age).

Rewards in the area:  Wow, no, not really.  For me, it was sitting in the shade of the giant trees and cooling down.  At 9 AM, the sun was just then trying to peak over the ridgeline, and the breeze was still blowing and keeping things cool.  But no, there’s no shaved ice place down the street, no Hooters, not even a guy selling Tijuana-style hot dogs from a cart.

You’d run this route when…. you want to run and totally zone out.  Or, when you want some hill, but not too much — like maybe after a hell hill run the day before.  Or, when you’re looking to do around 10km, but also need to do some other par-course-like exercises.

My rating:  9

MusicSocial DYou can run all your life, but not go anywhere.

Weather / Trail warnings (here) / Permits (only required for camping & hunting)

More readinghere and here.  Info on the recent plane crash, here and here.    Flickr: here and here.   More photos: here State Park Info: here and here.

That brown spot is where the plane recently crashed.

Odd facts:

  1. H3 was suppose to go through this valley; the estate fought the proposal, citing the need to preserve the valley as a sanctuary;
  2. The US Army helped to buy the land, in the effort to transfer it from private to public lands.  Why?  Well, I’ll let you read it, here.
  3. The Damon Estate?  Old money.  Seriously old money.  Damon was a member of the Committee of Safety that overthrew Queen Lili’uokalani.  The estate had ties into First Hawaiian Bank from way back, and lots and lots of real estate.  “The missionaries came to do good, and in the end, they did very well.”  The estate dissolved in 2004, when Samuel Damon’s last grandchild passed away.

Sandy Beach to Makapu’u Point Light House

Summary: Makapu’u Point is the easternmost point on O’ahu, sticking out into the ocean just north of the Koko Head State Park and Sandy Beach.  From the parking lot below the point, it’s a nice walk up to the top, and offers a nice view of the lighthouse that sits below on the side of the cliff.  And while it’s a nice climb to run up to the top, it’s also not very long of a run; starting down at Sandy Beach not only makes it a longer run, but will give you the chance to stop by Pele’s Chair along the way.

The Good:  Good route that lets you make it as long or as short of a run as you want.  The run from Sandy Beach to Pele’s Chair is, for the most part, just plain flat.  The footing is fair to good for almost all of the route; you need to really get off the paths before it becomes unstable. And the views of the ocean are fantastic; in the winter, this is the run to make if you want to see whales.  Sandy Beach is a great place to end; it not only has a nice place to change, but has cold water showers that are perfect for washing off that top layer of post-run scum.

The Bad:  The paved trail leading up to the top of Makapu’u Point is, well, less than optimal.  No, you won’t trip and fall off a cliff, but you will want to wind and weave your way around the many potholes and missing chunks as you plod your way up or speed your way down.  The trail up Makapu’u Point can get crowded, which means more reasons to shuck and jive as you run, but that’s the only part; to and from Sandy Beach gets minimal traffic.

The Ugly:  While this is a great place to run when it’s windy and cloudy, watch out when the winds die and the clouds vanish – it heats up quickly.  A sunny morning run with no clouds and no winds would be a rough thing; if that’s what your day looks like, try the afternoon when you’re not going to get sunlight bouncing off the water at you.

Type of route:  Mostly packed dirt, some stretches of looser sand and some paved.
Good to run in the rain?

Length: I did an 8.25 mile run, but you could probably scale it back to 7 with less wandering.

Options for the route:  Not really.  If you wanted to go nuts, start at Koko Head State Park, go up the stairs and then down to Sandy Beach and on from there.  Of course, reversing it would mean going up the ridge to Koko Head — which would be rough.

Elevation change on the run:  703 feet.
Water used
:  About 2 liters.

Where to start: Wawamalu Park (here)
Where to park
:  Same
Point your car’s GPS towards
:   8800 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu, HI 96825

My Google Earth file: here
My Garmin file
: here

Water? Yes, but only at Sandy Beach.
Toilets? Yes, but only at Sandy Beach.
Medical care? No
Ranger / park folks? No.
Picnic areas? Yes.  Sandy Beach, and at Makapu’u Point (though what you need to pack in, you’ll need to pack out)
A place to change afterwards? Yes, at Sandy Beach – the bathrooms there have a changing area (that aren’t scary).  Cold water showers, too.

Rewards in the area:  Kona Brewing Company’s Koko Marina Pub.  Tell your running buddy that you want to go to the pub, but want to sneak in this 6 or 8 mile hilly run first — I doubt they’ll even flinch.  Good, good food and super beer.

You’d run this route when….  it’s cloudy and windy and you’re in the mood to meander.  Yes, this route can be a lot shorter if you run in a straight line, but really, where’s the fun in that.  This is a fun run for what would otherwise be a meh kind of day.

My rating:  8

Music:  At first I was thinking that it would need something that falls between Basement Jaxx and the Clash.  But then I heard some 7 Seconds, singing 99 Red Balloons.  That was about right.  Not quite Stiff Little Fingers, but not Green Day, either.

Weather / Trail warnings (no) / Permits (not required)

More reading: here and here and here.    Flickr: here and here.   More photos: here State Park Info: here and here and here


A Runners Guide to O’ahu.  This is where I had started.  Our local library had it on the shelves.  I thought the title seemed perfect.  Meh.  It’s OK.  Written some tome ago, not updated.  It’s a light look at some pretty traditional running routes.  It’s also written more for racers than for people who would want to get out and explore the island while running.

Oahu Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Snorkel, Surf from Waikiki to the North Shore.  Better.  Maybe the best of the bunch.  It’s been updated recently.  Covers an area or place to see, with history and background, and then talks about hiking and water activities in the area, too.  Hiking descriptions have enough detail to help understand what it’d be like to try and run there.  Start with this book, start with your library.

Oahu Trails: Walks, Strolls And Treks on the Capital Isle.  It’s been updated recently.  It’s good, in that it just covers walks and hiking areas.  One drawback for me was having to flip all over the place to see the corresponding maps.  There might be one map that covers 5 routes — ugh.  Nice format other than that, though — it offers a regional look, then bores into the individual route.  Shows what is connected and how.  Just needs better map usage.  I hope they’ve fixed that by now.

Hidden Oahu: Including Waikiki, Honolulu, and Pearl Harbor.   This is the one you also pick up — you don’t rely just on one like this.  It’s more focused on areas than on hiking / walking.  Good reference if you are headed to an area of the island; it’ll help you find some other neat things to do in the area.  Maybe get your walk / run in during the early morning, hit up some good local restaurants in the area, before hitting a main attraction that day like a museum or snorkeling site.  This is a good one for planning whole days, or a weekend.

Ka’ena Point State Park

Summary.  I got up early Friday morning and headed north to the Ka’ena Point State Park. I’d been there before; the kids and I went bike riding there once before, and I’ve been on the cliffs above it when I visited the satellite tracking station in November 2008.  I knew it would be a semi-flat area, with a pretty rough “road” for running, but that the scenery would be nice.  I figured it would be a 6 mile / 10 km run.  I started out from the house at 7 AM, and was running by 8.  The sun was out, but the run out to the point was in the shade of the hills — which was awesome.  I’d read several references to the area getting very hot during daylight hours, so I had set out at that hour to try and get the most out of the shade.  The run itself was wildly uneventful, though the scenery was very beautiful — large surf is running through the North Shore this weekend, and it showed up some out this way, too.

The appeal of the area, and the desire to run here, was linked to three things.  The first was its history.  I had first heard of the area in reference to the old road, which has been closed for 20+ years now.  The big plantations and factories that had set up shop (and ultimately overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy) had built the road around the point, along with a rail line, in the closing years of the 19th century in order to move their products from the fields to the processing sites and ports.  There was nothing else out there — they carved out the road and rail lines, at the cost of a lot of manpower, just to open up a means to move their goods.  And then the new State of Hawaii opted to not maintain it — which struck me as odd and interesting.

The second was the surf.  Ka’ena Point can get giant in the winter, when the big swells roll in.  For the longest time, the photo taken there of Greg Noll on a monster wave was the largest documented wave.  But having lived here a while now, I know that only a sliver of the numbers go to this area to surf, as compared to other North Shore hot spots.  Big surf is big surf, as I see it — it’d be neat to see some big waves.

And then there’s the satellite tracking station that hovers overhead, staring down on this empty point.  I am kind of a fan of satellites, so the chance to run through the area and stare up at all the golf balls has an unusual appeal to me.

Ultimately, I made the 6 mile run in about an hours, stopping often to take photos and to take it all in.

The Good: It’s very quiet out this way.  Really, this whole NW corner of the island, out past Waialau, is so very quiet.  I large part of this, I assume, is due to the Waianae Mountains jutting out to the point; you don’t accidentally get to this corner of the island, and there’s nothing else in the area that would draw people to the area.  Also, the big surf was nice.  Sure, it doesn’t get as pretty out this way, as it does in places like Sunset and Pipeline, but it was still very pretty.    Lastly, six miles is a pretty decent distance; probably best is that I drew no blood, sprained no ankles, and broke no bones.  I’d call that a good day.

The Bad:  Damn, it gets hot here.  It’s not hell, but only because at 6 miles, it’s bearable.  And the old road is pretty well torn up.  You won’t find any actual smooth areas for running here.  Actual running means looking about 6 feet in front of you, to figure out a path over and around all the bumps and pits and things, while also eyeballing where to put a foot, given all the stones of varying sizes.  Some parts of the old road itself get pretty crappy, but its saving grace is that there are lots of other new paths carved out closer to the beach; when the going gets tough, just move closer to the water and things will get better.

The Ugly:  Nothing actually ugly about this run.  It’s pretty fair.

Type of route: Unpaved road that’s at least 100 years old and totally unmaintained.  It’s as good a place to run as it is to take the 4×4 in the rain.
Good place to run in the rain? Definitely.  I’d love to try and run this again in a raging storm.  It’s so warn out there, so cut to the bone, that a cold rain while running across the ragged rocks would be a neat adventure.  It’d be muddy as hell, though, and probably pretty slick,

Length(s):  6 miles   Options for the route:  Continue on around to the West side of the island (maybe 14 miles round trip, that way).   Elevation change on the runMaybe 70 feet, if that.
Water used:  About 1 liter.  It would have been more if I’d try to make the run in the afternoon, for sure.

Route startsHere.
Where to park:  Same.
Point your car’s GPS towards:  Kaena Point State Park, Waialua, Hawaii 96791‎

My Google Earth fileHere
My Garmin fileHere

Water? No
Toilets? No
Medical care? No
Ranger / park folks? No, but they do come through the area every day.  Nice folks, too, always willing to make small talk about the park.
Picnic areas? No
A place to change afterwards? No

In other words, if you need it, bring it.  If you bring it, take it back out with you afterward.  There are dumpsters at the parking area, though.

Rewards in the area:  I’m suppose to say Matsumoto’s Shave Ice in Haleiwa, but I tend to go to Aoki’s.

You’d run this route when….  it’s a hot summer night, and you can’t sleep.  Get up, grab your hear, and come make the run while the sun is just getting its act together.  Or when your legs have not fully recovered from the last hill run.

My rating:  7

Music:  I think I’m suppose to say something like Zeppelin II, or Cream.  But really, Keali’i Reichel would be a good choice for running here.  I’m not ready to go back and make the run barefoot and covered only in thatch, but it’s a calm and quiet place to run, dominated by hard mountainside and strong surf.

Ka’ena Point video (flash format)

Ka’ena Point video (avi format)

Ka’ena Point video (swf format)

Weather / Trail warnings (no) / Permits (not required)

More reading:    Here, and here.  Flick photos, here.  State Park info, here.

Upper Waimano Trail

The Waimano Trail is one of the Na Ala Hele trails maintained by the city / county of Honolulu.  There is an upper and a lower Waimano Trail; the lower is on the floor of a valley, and heds in the direction of a waterfall, and the upper trail mostly stays up on the ridges and heads farther up towards the Ko`olau ridgeline.  The lower trail does link back to and connect with the upper trail, forming a loop and allowing access in the direction of the Ko`olau ridgeline.

This is trail running.  There’s not a lick of cement anywhere along this; no sidewalks, no bike paths, nothing but dirt and the wilds.  In fact, it’s hiking country — it’s not even very good running terrain.  As a hiking trail, it’s probably fair to decent; as a running trail, well, it’s slightly above average.

It’s good, in that it’s shady and features cool temperatures.  It’s good in that some stretches of it are nice and wide with long views of the trail ahead.  It’s good in that it’s a nice climb that it’s a killer. But it suffers for all the roots and rocks and uneven footing. It suffers for the overgrowth that now (JAN 2010) hide the trail itself out past the 3.3 mile mark; the grass and plants are so thing and high, you can make out the general direction of where to go but can’t see the ground well enough to know what your footing will be (it’s described by the country as only being “periodically maintained”).  And it suffers for the thin, thin sections that make swift footed movement a challenge, and it suffers for its mud and slippery surfaces.

This is a route for a Saturday morning 10km run, when all you’ve been able to do is run streets during the week.  It’s a place to go when it’s cloudy without a threat of actual rain.  It’s a place to go when summer is starting to settle in and the temperatures are rising, and you want / need someplace cool to go for sanctuary.  It’s a good 10km running route, and it’s a route that will let you run some as you hike the 15 or 16 miles up to the peak (much less running after the initial 3.3 mile mark). It is not one to run in the rain.

The 10km route — out 3.3 miles and back, all on the Upper Waimano Trail route, I’d give a 7.  Not hard, not in too bad of shape, not too dangerous.  The route I initially did — out and back 6 miles — is a straight up 5;  sure, I do it again, but if there was something better or something else I had not tried, I’d just as soon go do that.

A word of caution.  Not only does this route pose risks from the running surface — you’re very likely to fall off the trail, or trip on something, or encounter aliens — it’s also adjacent to a hunting area.  Between the Waimano Trail and the Manana Trail across the valley is a seasonal hunting area; it’s well worth checking not only the weather forcast for rain / flash flood chances, but also to see if the hunt is on.  A sprained ankle sure ruins a run, but a bullet to the gut would probably be worse.

Oh, and bring whatever you need; there’s no support for this route.  No toilets, no faucets, no nothing.  If you’ve got the trots, this isn’t the run for you.  In 12 miles, I went through my 100 ounces of water.

Here’s the Garmin file (here) and here’s the Google Earth file (here).  Parking is on Waimano Home Road, in Pearl City.  The path is to the left of the gate; you can’t miss it.  There are few signs for the trail along the way, but there’s ample ribbon / tape marking the way.  The Upper / Lower Waimano Trail split happens pretty early on, and the loop itself is not more than a couple of miles total.

Here’s where the trail splits.  Note the chain link fence; the initial part of the Upper trail is run right along the fence and the road.  No, there’s no way to cheat and run the road instead.

There are some stretches of the trail, like this little piece early on in the route, that are downright scary.  This is all of a foot or two wide, with drop offs on both sides — cliff on the right, and water canal on the left.  If you’re sure footed, sure, you can just haul ass right on through this part; those rocks, though, get pretty slick with any moisture.

These two stretches are considered good parts of the trail.  Easy enough to see where you’re going to spot your foot, visibility far enough ahead to keep moving at a decent speed.  This is good running.

And this is bad running trail.  Shoot, this isn’t even good hiking trail.  Any time you need to cling to a rope or wire — and there are several places on this route like that — it’s kind of hard to maintain your running form.  High adventure, sure, but less than stellar running.

And this is the stuff that just plain sucks. Yeah, you can generally see the direction you’re headed, but there’s no way to move at any speed and see where to put down a foot.  It was in sections like this — several times — that I found myself facedown on the ground, hugging the trail, after putting my foot down over the edge and onto nothing.

But mostly it was like this:

Yes, that’s about one meter across, from the wall of the cliff on the right, to where it drops off again on the left.  There’s some trail to see, but not a lot.  It’s not smooth, but instead has lots of rocks and roots and stuff.  You can run, but not at full throttle, not if you want to ensure you don’t go flying off that cliff on the left (those thin trees won’t stop your plummet).

Ko`olau summit


With each post, I’ll try to cover:

  • What type of route it is;
  • Why you’d want to run the route;
  • Where it is / how to get there;
  • Length or lengths;
  • What it looks like in Google Earth and / or Garmin;
  • Some photos from along the way;
  • My rating of it;
  • When I’d run it;
  • Support along / near the route (water, toilets, etc);
  • If it’s good when wet.

There might be more.  I’ll update and refine this list as I get into them more, I suppose.