Hawaii’s Manoa Cliff Hiking Trail

Hawaii’s Manoa Cliff Hiking Trail


We’re going for a hike on the Manoa Cliff
Trail. It is one of the great hiking spots in Honolulu,
on Oahu in Hawaii. Today I’m sending you a video postcard from
my home in Honolulu, Hawaii. We are going to take a hike in the mountains,
looking out over Manoa Valley. This view gives you a good summary of the
walking conditions on the trail. It’s really quite easy, mostly level dirt. In this Google Earth view you can see that
Waikiki is just a few miles from the mountains, and you hop in your car and drive up the hill,
you’ll soon reach the beginning of the Manoa Cliff trail where the hike begins. Zooming into Manoa Valley with the mountains
around it, we gain a clear view looking at the route we will take on the hike. It goes along the side of the ridge. That’s why it’s called the Manoa Cliff trail. The easy route getting there is along Round
Top Drive. It’s a nice scenic, curving road. When you get to the address 4059 on Round
Top you have arrived. Enter the trail directly from the road. Quite the dramatic and beautiful location
and it’s an easy hike. You could walk in and back out again in less
than two hours. Signage marks the entrance and cautions you
not to fall off the cliff. Take normal precautions and you’ll be just
fine. It’s very close to town, takes maybe 20 minutes
to drive up here, and then you park your car along the road and you enter right through
the gateway here into the Manoa Cliff trail, two miles long, quite level and gives you
some wonderful views down into the Manoa Valley as well as a lovely forest hike. So let’s go check it out. All right were going, going up the trail,
and it is a very easy trail, nice forest floor, leaves and the few roots and today there’s
no mud. We’re lucky because it is not been raining
lately. If it’s a rainy day, better to not come up
here. It will be a little muddy. You don’t need that. But on a day when there’s been no rain, and
especially here, there’s been no rain for the last couple of days, which is un pretty
usual. Manoa and the mountains are pretty much a
rainy area. But when there’s been no rain, it’s choice. And already as soon as you enter the trail
it’s just beautiful. Okay you can see already, I did exaggerate
a little bit in calling the trail level. It does go uphill somewhat and there are many
steps that have been created along the trail to make it easier for you to go up. It has an elevation gain of 500 feet during
the two miles so is not totally flat, but let’s just say it’s not steep. It’s comfortable and it’s a dirt trail which
is fairly smooth, so it really does make some easy walking and not crowded. On this walk we only saw six other people
during the two hours. Passing a small volcanic rock outcrop on the
side of the trail. This area is an extinct volcano. Eruptions began less than a million years
ago with the last one happening about 50,000 years ago. First of the nice views we will be getting,
looking down into the back of Manoa Valley with the Koolau mountains in the background. It’s paradise for the casual hike. You don’t need any special equipment. Tyou will probably want to bring along some
water and wear decent shoes, but no climbing gear is necessary here. It’s an easy trail. You’ll pass through small bamboo grove. Further up on the hill on other trails there
is quite a large bamboo forest that you could discover later. Up ahead the trail that were walking on now
does connect with several no Up ahead, the trail that were walking on now
does connect with several other of the mountain trails in this system, and you could continue
that way and make a big round-trip, a longer hike than we are planning today. Instead here, we’re doing it the easy way. We’re walking in the trail for about two miles,
then returning around and walking back out again the same way, right back to where we
parked the car. On the map you can see the route of the Manoa
Cliff trail in red. We are walking in and I’m returning around
him walking back out again the same way. On the other hand you could connect to one
of several trails. Come down the Puu Ohia trail, or slightly
longer, come down the Kalawahine trail. And then you walk back along the road to your
car where you had parked. The Cliff trail is so beautiful that returning
on it the same way you came in, back to your car, is a wonderful hike. You’re seeing the same thing but from a different
angle. Then you do not have to walk a mile on the
road to get back to your car. At the end of the video will show you that
map with more of the trails illustrated. They are all good and worth hiking. Here’s the website to download that map and
we’ll put a link in the description down below. The ‘Ohi’a lehua tree in the foreground, with
its beautiful red blossoms is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands one of our most iconic flowers. The mountain we are on is called Puu Ohia,
more commonly referred to as Tantalus. About halfway along the trail, you’ll come
to the bench, a place to sit down and contemplate that beautiful vista out there and take a
break from the hike. One of the prettiest and most fragrant flowers
in Hawaii is the yellow ginger. It’s technically considered an invasive species,
which it is, it was brought in from outside and it grows quite well. But everybody loves it – a favorite for
the flower leis. Walking just a bit further we come across
another kind of ginger flower. It’s called the Kahili ginger named after
the Hawaiian feather symbols of the Kahilis representing ancient Hawaiian chiefs. The trail is easy walking but most of it is
quite narrow. If somebody is coming along you might have
to stop to let them go by you. If you look down on the right side of the
trail through the bushes you can see there is a fairly steep drop-off, which is why they
call this the Manoa Cliff trail. If you took a big tumble and slipped off there
you could be in trouble. There are several side gullies as you see
here that were carved out by the rainfall coming down the flumes between the side ridges,
with the trail winding in and out around them. The route is generally level but curvaceous
in pleasant meandering way. Another fine view looking down into Manoa
and then turning to your left, looking north through the vegetation we see the magnificent
peaks of Konahuanui, which is the tallest mountain in the Koolau mountain range, at
3150 feet. Another native flower growing here is the
‘ie ‘ie. The Hawaiians used it for a variety of medicinal
purposes as well as for making some things like baskets and fish traps. It is such an easy walk, but there are few
places where you have to step up. Sometimes it’s knee-high so you have to be
able to get up that far, no problem for anybody who’s in average condition. Here’s a stretch that was slightly muddy even
on a very dry day so you can imagine what this is like after the rains. If it’s been raining on the day, I wouldn’t
come up here. This trail is quite old, dating back to 1910
but in recent years there has been a lot of work to improve and stabilize it, putting
in the steps and keeping the trail clear, by the state of Hawaii Department of Land
and Natural Resources. Especially their Na Ala Hele program maintaining
trails. Search and you’ll easily find their website
with all of the official Hawaii trails listed. There’s also been a volunteer private workforce
called Manoa Cliff Native Forest Restoration Project, and they meet on every Sunday morning
with volunteers, and clear out invasive weeds, and do a lot of planting of native vegetation. And they’re open to the public to join them. Any Sunday morning, just meet at 9 AM on the
roadway at the entrance to the trail. This gate keeps the wild pigs out of the watershed
area and as you reach the gate go through and close it behind you. You are approaching the end of the Manoa Cliff
trail. Nice collection of ti plants brought here
by the early Hawaiian, s and look up you’ll see some native ferns. At this point the trail splits with a fork
to the left going to the Puu Ohia trail which continues uphill and around along the top
of the ridge. Or you can keep going to the right side for
a little bit more of the Manoa Cliff trail which becomes Kalawahine trail. This white hibiscus on the tree is one of
the only types of hibiscus that’s native to the Hawaiian Islands and it has a very slight
floral fragrance. Finally, we have a clear view of the majestic
mountain called the Awaawaloa, or more commonly, Mount Olympus, a name supposedly given to
it by some Punahou school students 100 years ago. Walking to the top of that peak is not authorized
because it’s extremely difficult and can be very dangerous with sharp drop-offs on both
sides from the narrow ridge. There are many other safe and legal trails
that will keep you busy up here. We’re done for now, but you’ve had a taste
of how beautiful it is up here, so you’ll want to come back for more. And here’s a look at the official trail map. The yellow highlight shows the trail we just
walked on the Manoa Cliff but have a look at all the other trails that are up here. Each and every one of them is excellent, so
you’ll have to come back several more times. I hope you enjoyed this Hawaii postcard. For my regular viewers you’re more used to
seeing me in Europe, but I do live in Honolulu, so I’m going to be showing you a little bit
more of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands in the coming years, along with many more movies
about Europe and elsewhere. So stay tuned. We upload a new travel movie every week so
if you want to be informed please subscribe and click that little alarm bell so you’ll
be notified. And if you enjoyed the movie how about a thumbs
up and we always welcome comments down below, or if you have questions about the destination
make note and will answer them. Thanks for watching

9 thoughts on “Hawaii’s Manoa Cliff Hiking Trail

  1. What a fantastic trail! There are many kinds of trees, flowers, and grass. Especially, I liked the bamboo forest. The sound of the bamboo in the wind is awesome!

  2. These videos are the best you really feel like you are there in real life! You have inspired me to start my own YouTube channel of me exploring European countries myself 👍😊

  3. This is a well done video of the beautiful greenery and narrative walk through the trail. This was my former running/hiking grounds when I lived on O'ahu. The trail can be very muddy and the tree roots slick especially on a rainy day. I was briefly involved with the Manoa Cliff Invasive Species task force that is an organized volunteer effort to care for the native vegetation for all to enjoy. They meet at the trail head every sunday at 0900 hrs. I highly recommend this experience for all. Aloha

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