Against our better judgement we went back to Nuuanu just to prove a point and find the damned trail, and we did. But we didn’t make the final long push through the ferns up to the overlook. After having spent too much energy making the trail leading to it more obvious and exploring the area a bit, we chose to just declare victory and call it a day.
My navigational methods are still a bit of a mystery to me and rare sunny skies in that part of Nuuanu threw me off a bit because nothing felt quite right, but we still got there by relying on some reason and landmarks. The quickest access route is to go up the trail to Luakaha Falls and cross the stream at the top of the falls. Heading upstream, shortly after passing the beer can along the side of the stream (it’s been there for many months so I consider it a landmark, lol), this rocky ledge above the stream means it’s time to head uphill to the left and leave the stream behind.
After that you cross one ridge and head up the next, which eventually takes you up to the overlook. The trail sticks to the right hand edge of the ridge for the most part and then jogs left into the ferns. This is the view back toward the valley, shortly after starting up through the ferns. Nuuanu reservoir is on the right.
After this point it’s basically all swimming and struggling through the ferns. The trail, such as it is, is only visible as a V-shaped depression in the ferns – it’s sort of like swimming uphill through a very long green butt crack. It’s hard work but fortunately doesn’t smell like the description implies.
It’s roughly between points A and B on the map from the previous post. It’s about 20 feet tall on the vertical section and another 20-30 feet of sloping above that. It seems to be barely a trickle in normal conditions but, like most in the Koolaus, probably fairly impressive in heavier rains…though I wouldn’t want to be in the channel then.
Clear as mud, right? One thing to note is there are ribbons all over Nuuanu and most lead pretty much nowhere so it’s generally better to ignore them. The best thing is this trail comes out right in front of the bench at the overlook, and it looks impossibly steep from there, so if you are lucky enough to get to the top when people are there the looks on their faces will be priceless.
Feel free to post your questions and comments. I realize my trail writeups aren’t exactly pinnacles of clarity.