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Mount Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks"): A thrilling and stunning Oahu climb

Updated: Dec 28, 2023


Mount Olomana ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

The mountain known as Three Peaks ("Olomana", Paku'i", and "Ahiki") is an iconic Oahu landmark, prominently standing alone on the windward side of the island. And while it is possible to summit all three, it is no easy task, it requires navigating a treacherous trail that often feels more like a climb than a hike. And if you choose to summit just one peak, or all three, this adventure is sure to be a memorable one.


 

Trail Info

Mount Olomana Trail Information Table

Know before you go

  • This trail is dangerous, with steep climbs next to sheer drop-offs. While no technical gear is required for this hike, some of the climbs rely on old pre-fastened ropes. On top of that, you will be navigating next to some hundred to thousand foot drop-offs where a fall would most likely result in death.

  • Turning around at the first peak is common. If views are more your thing and not climbing, then turn around at peak one. I'd say this is what the majority of hikers do as the first peak has plenty of climbing to get your fill. Peak two is a bit anticlimactic with no view, but peak three is when the most intense climbing occurs.


 


The Trail


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

After parking along Auloa Road, begin the walk on Loop Road to access the trail. In the distance, we can see Mount Olomana. That is what we are about to hike. (Side note, don't park on the Loop road to the golf course or you will get towed... you've been warned).


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

After awkwardly walking past the golf course guard shack (don't worry, it is perfectly legal to do this trail), you will see a sign on the left that marks the beginning of the trail.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

The trail is gradual at first as you walk along a dirt (and potentially muddy) trail in the trees. After about a half mile of hiking, you will hit this junction where you should take a right to head up the trail.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

The beginning of this section starts with a pleasant path in the trees.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

But in no time, the character of the trail changes and you will really begin the climb. Much of the trail now is scrambling. There's affixed ropes along the trail to assist you, but the conditions of the ropes vary and you should never rely on them with 100% of your body weight.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

After some huffing and puffing, you will hit this section which is the most challenging climb of the first peak. There's multiple ropes here, but it is quite vertical, so it can be unnerving.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

But slow and steady will get you up this peak. The climb continues on a bit further before getting to peak one.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

But soon, you will make it to the first peak, named Olomana, and the tallest of the three peaks. The view from here is impressive as you can see well up the windward coastline as well us the ridges of the Ko'olaus in the distance. In front of us is a preview of the rest of the journey, if you choose to continue. On the left is Peak two named Paku'i and on the right Peak three named Ahiki.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

The trek between Olomana and Paku'i is quick, only taking 5-10 minutes or so. There's some minor climbing, but compared to what you have done so up to this point it's not too bad. I can't say the same thing for what is about to come as we head to Ahiki..


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

This is what the beginning of that trail looks like. I remember the first time I did this hike, it reminded me of my first time going on a black diamond ski run, where you couldn't see the end of the incline. Hence I coined the term "clench moment" because well, a certain body part tightens a bit when fear begins coursing through your veins. In my mind, there are three clench moments on this portion of the trail.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

Looking back up from the beginning of the descent. It feels almost vertical I always rely on the ropes a bit more than I would like too on this section. Just go slow, distribute your weight and you should be ok.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

After the descent begins to level out, you will arrive at Clench Moment 2. This is where you have to navigate this narrow ridge around this rock formation with a sharp drop-off to your left. There are ropes to assist you, but you are close to the edge.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

But once you get around that section, you will be rewarded with this neat little rock formation, known as the keyhole. This is a great opportunity for some photos.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

Because shortly after the keyhole comes the final clench moment. It's another very vertical climb with drop-offs on both sides. This is what it looks like after you've climbed it. To me, the descent back down on the return trek is what is more unnerving.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

And after a bit more hiking and one short scramble, you will arrive at Peak 3. It's likely you're heart will be racing from a mix of adrenaline and physical exertion. So soak in the views to bring down the heart rate.


Olomana Trail ("Three Peaks") on Oahu, Hawaii

Because guess what? Now you have to go all the way back, doing all of those climbs in reverse. Isn't this hike great!


 


SS Hot Takes

This hike scared the shit out of me the first time I did it. When I was descending down that second peak, I was certain i was going to lose my footing or the rope would snap and I would tumble down to my death.


But that didn't happen. Instead, I made it to that third peak and was exhilarated. I had conquered my fears and was excited for the return trek. And once the hike was all said and done, I wanted to do it again. And I did, many more times. Eventually, I concluded this was my favorite hike on Oahu.


And while the amazing views helped, what I think made this trail so special was that each time I was conquering those inner demons. Those voices started saying that this is too risky, you should turn back. However, I was able to find a sense of calm and continue climbing. I almost felt a sense of flow. It was addicting. And it is that feeling that would keep me coming back again and again.

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