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Castle Trail (Punaluu) Trailhead For the highly-experienced hiker unafraid of thick vegetation, pothole-strewn fo oting, slick terrain,

and feeling completely isolated, alone, even small in the wilderness this is perhaps the most rewarding trail you can hike. This will take you deep into some of the most unadulterated valleys, ridges, and rainforests o n Oahu.

Description: This trail is graded into a ridge spur along the west wall of Punaluu Valley, cr osses the upper portion of Kaluanui Stream and Valley, and continues up upper Ma akua Gulch until it reaches the Koolau Summit Trail. A spectacular trail, indeed , except it has borne the effects of many decades of inactivity and lack of main tenance. It was the second trail built in the early 1900s through the personal funding of a wealthy entrepreneur and landowner named Castle. The first Castle Trail (Olym pus) was graded into unstable terrain along the Koolau crest high above Manoa Va lley. It was highly susceptible to landslides and quickly fell into disrepair. What to Expect: The trail starts from the valley floor about halfway into Punaluu Valley. Once i t completes its ascent of the valley's west wall, it crosses over the ridgeline (elev. 2,160-ft) and down into the next valley: Kaluanui Valley. When it reaches the bottom, which is still very high in elevation, the trail crosses a small, s ecluded, grassy campsite lined by rainforest. Immediately thereafter the trail m eets Kaluanui Stream (elev. 1,960-ft). The trail continues beyond Kaluanui Stream up the opposite stream bank. It immed iately follows several long switchbacks up the valley wall until you reach the r idgeline. At the top is of this ridge, which is Waiahilahila Ridge, is an unmist akeable "V"-shaped notch (elev. 2,360-ft). This is the end of the trail's first phase of construction. Shortly after the initial trail was built, a new phase of construction added a c onnector trail to the actual Koolau summit. This can be seen on the left side up on reaching the V-shaped notch. After passing through the notch, leaving Kaluanu i Valley behind, the footpath turns left and heads mauka (toward the Koolau cres t). It follows the graded trail etched into Waiahilahila Ridge high above Maakua Gulch. As you ascend, the two ridges - Waiahilahila Ridge (the one you're on) and Hauul a Ridge (the one on your right) - slowly merge. At this merging, the trail makes a right-turn and contours perpendicularly from Waiahilahila Ridge until it reac hes the Hauula Ridge. Once at the ridgeline, the trail again veers left/uphill a nd heads straight toward the Koolau crest. Beware: Mother Nature has long ago laid claim to this trail and has slowly been withering it away and populating the remnants with thick vegetation. Trailhead Location: The trail begins on the right side of Punaluu Valley Road as you drive into Puna luu Valley. The mapped distance from Kamehameha Hwy measures 1.5-mile (7,940 fee

t). The upper trailhead is a well-defined junction with the Koolau Summit Trail, abo ut 65% of the way from the Kawailoa junction to the Poamoho junction. Accessing the Trail: There is no formal permission process to access this trail. The trail resides wi thin a privately-owned valley - the trailhead begins on private property. Furthe rmore, the trail crosses Kaluanui Valley - the lower of which is home to the pub lic Sacred Falls trail which has been closed indefinitely by the state (see why) . No organized clubs have been known to have received permission to hike this tr ail during the last decade (or more). **bring lots more water (need at least 2 quarts each person), and wear long pant s. Two of us was wearing shorts and our legs felt like it was going through a me at grinder by the end of the hike. And the starting point where you turn off the road is very vague. Theres two rusty poles on either side of the road where the trail begins. The start is on the right side. Theres no marker either until you get like a 100 yards in or so. Property/Access: Closed/private property. Majority landowner: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate, multiple individual lessees Dangers/Other Considerations: While this trail is well-constructed, decades of neglect have caused this trail to become extremely overgrown and replete with slide-outs. As with all hiking, exercise caution and prudent judgement.