Kapilau Ridge Trail, better known as the St. Anthony Cross Trail or Wailuku Cross Trail, is a short, steep unmaintained footpath that starts just up the street from Wailuku Town. The cross was placed up there by the students from St. Anthony School back in the 1950’s and I believe it is still maintained by the students. The trail follows the spine of the mountain and is a straight path up to the cross (no switch backs here!). The hike is a steep climb up which made for a good workout. However, on the bright side, the path is covered by trees so it was nice and shady.
The hike to the cross was shorter than I remembered. We hiked this trail a couple years ago and I ended up not liking it because I didn’t feel that the views were worth the hike. One day my coworker told me that the trail continued pass the cross and I just had to check it out. The views pass the cross were pretty amazing and definitely worth it to me. The path pass the cross were not as steep – although, it was still a straight climb up.
We were hoping to reach the top of the mountain following this ridge, but didn’t realize there was a fence for the West Maui Forest Reserve Boundary – which prevented us from hiking any further. We thought about going pass the fence through the gate, but there were signs that clearly wanted people to keep out in order to protect the sensitive environments within the watershed. If this was a matter of safety, we would normally assess the path and continue up at our own risk – but since this was an environmental concern we didn’t want to be responsible for harming any endangered plants up there. So, we hung out by the fence and admired the view before heading down. Overall, we had climbed about 1000 feet to the top and hike approximately 1.8 miles in 2 hours. Which trail will we revisit next? Stay tuned!