At 1724ft, Kolekole Pass occupies the main gap in the Waiʻanae Range. Film buffs may recognize the landscape, as this is where WWII Japanese fighters passed through on their way to bomb Pearl Harbor in the classic war film Tora! Tora! Tora! (In reality, the planes flew along the inside, not through, the mountain range.)
The pass, on military property above Schofield Barracks, can be visited on select weekends. Check at www.facebook.com/usaghawaii to find open dates.
Bring photo ID and your rental-car contract or proof of vehicle insurance. Access is granted by the security guards at Lyman Gate on Kunia Rd. If you have problems with gate access, call 808-655-1434. Follow Lyman Rd for 5 miles to reach the pass. Without military ID, you can’t keep driving over to the coast.
From a dirt parking pull-off, a short, steep hiking path with wooden steps leads for 10 minutes up to a fine view of the Waiʻanae Coast. En route you’ll pass a large, ribbed stone rumored to have been used by ancient Hawaiians for ritual sacrifices of fallen warrior aliʻi (chiefs). In Hawaiian mythology, the stone is believed to be the embodiment of a woman named Kolekole, who took this form in order to become the perpetual guardian of the pass – keeping intruders from the coast from entering the sacred lands of Wahiawa. Local lore has it that if you touch the stone, bad luck may follow.