Oahu’s Mt. Olympus: The Wild Green Yonder above Waikiki
Fifteen minutes after twirling a cocktail umbrella at Waikiki Beach, you can be embarking on one of the best tropical ridge hikes in Hawaii. The trek to Mt. Olympus (as students at the nearby University of Hawaii have named it) begins at the Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area. Bring plenty of water for this baby—it’s 6.5 miles round-trip with a gain of nearly 2,000 feet, but difficult footing makes it seem like more.
The route, like life, has its ups and downs. You will be happy to have a hiking pole, especially if rains turn the red soil to slippery snot.
The trail is not dangerous for careful hikers, but low-lying vegetation disguises drop-offs.
From the summit is a view of Windward (east) Oahu.
The ridge of the Ko’olau Range (upon which Mt. Olympus sits) is only a couple feet wide in places.
Tired legs make going down (with a view of Waikiki) the more likely spot to have a slip-and-fall. Oahu Trailblazer has details on dozens of hikes into the Ko’olau Range, as well as into the Waianae Range, which cleaves the north end of the island.