Maunawili Trail is one of Oahu's most epic rides. At points you feel so secluded, like civilization is hundreds of miles away. The trail is beautiful and the scenery is incredible. It truly feels like an adventure. But be warned... This is not a trail most folks will enjoy on a mountain bike. It's a difficult, technical, slippery, ride/hike with cliffs. If you are new to mountain biking, don't enjoy hiking your bike and getting dirty, I don't recommend Maunawili.
Having said that, if you are looking for a challenge, Maunawili Trail is well worth the time!
Your ride will vary greatly depending on the weather. If it has been raining expect the difficulty level to increase tremendously. Slippery roots, rocks and mud are everywhere. Of course you have more of a chance of seeing waterfalls as well. Be careful though, the area does see flash flooding on rainy days. I've seen a tiny stream up there turn into a raging river.
The climb up the Old Pali Road is all pavement. At several points the vegetation is so thick, you'll think you are on jungle singletrack. Keep climbing until you actually pass under the new Pali Hwy. I really enjoy climbing under the Hwy, it's one of my favorite parts of the ride. Once under the Hwy you will immediately need to climb a short ladder with your bike. Once you get to the top of the ladder you'll be standing face to face with oncoming traffic. It's fun to see the surprised looks on the drivers faces as mountain bikers literally popup on the side of the cliff :)
Once on the trail you have the option to go either right or left. Right takes you to the Pali Lookout. Left proceeds to Maunawili Trail, our destination. From here you will follow some of the most beautiful single track on Oahu for the next 9-10 miles as you circumvent the ridge line. The trail weaves in and out of all the sharp ridges of the mountain.
The ride will take anywhere from 5-7 hours. Start early, bring lot's of water and food, spare tube & parts, rain poncho and a cell phone for sure. I also recommend you let someone know where you are riding ahead of time and don't ride alone.
Most folks park at Kawainui Regional Park and head to the trail from there. Once parked I've found it's easier to just ride up Kalanianaole Hwy to get to the Old Pali Road entrance. It's also possible to ride up Auloa Rd if you want to avoid the Hwy.
You'll spend quite a bit of time climbing on the road just to get to the trail but the 9 miles of technical singletrack makes it worth it. Views are spectacular as well. Go in with the attitude that it's not a smooth, easy singletrack, that you may have to walk some of it, and you'll have a good time. I love this ride, absolutely one of my favorites. But it needs to be respected, it's no mellow XC ride.
Clicking on the link above you bring you to Google Maps where directions to the trail are plotted in from Honolulu Airport.
Download the GPX file and use your favorite software to upload trail data to your GPS. Right click on the link and select "Save Link As..." in order to download it.