The Oge Beach Trail leads to the seldom-visited eastern side of Olosega island and showcases wildlife including skinks, crabs, whales, and seabirds. Difficulties encountered during the hike include arranging transportation to the trailhead (which is almost 5 miles away from the main lodging location on Ofu), dealing with heat and humidity, and walking along the uncomfortable coral terrain of Oge Beach. A topographical map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the starting point are -14.184706, -169.618130. GPS coordinates for the end point near Leala Point are -14.181874, -169.608270.
Hiking the Oge Beach Trail is an excellent way to spend a half day while visiting Ofu-Olosega. There are several aspects of the hike which make this a really great destination. First, the wildlife is outstanding. To find the wildlife, however, it requires time and attention. Don't plan to rush through this hike just to reach the end destination. From the time you start the hike near Vaisaili Point until it ends near Leala Point, slow down and watch your surroundings carefully. Look along the sides of the trail for skinks and coconut crabs. Watch the rocks and sky all around Maga Point for seabirds such as frigates and boobies. And look out into the ocean for signs of whales and dolphins. Humpback whales are seasonally present in the area during the months of August through October. In addition, seven other types of whales and five types of dolphins are known to be present in American Samoan waters. While walking along the beach, you can expect the crabs to put on a show for you as well. The second aspect which makes this hike outstanding is the great views. Much of the hike takes place in wide open areas where there are great views looking back toward Ofu, out at the ocean, up the eastern coast of Olosega, and out toward distant Ta'u island. Third, Oge Beach (pronounced Onge Beach) is a very isolated and interesting destination. Oge Beach is about 3/4 of a mile long, it is made of deep coral, and the water is a lot rougher. There is a lot to see in the area, but I wouldn't recommend it for snorkeling.
Because the starting point is so far away from the main lodging on Ofu, carrying out the hike requires advance planning. Due to the heat and humidity, it is not practical to walk the 5 miles to the starting point. Instead it is best to borrow (or rent) a bicycle or ask for a ride from a local (and then offer a donation for gas and time). The hike itself is only 2.7 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 200 feet each way (or 400 feet total). But adding 10 miles onto that would make for an incredibly difficult day hike in the South Pacific due to the hot conditions. Also, before carrying out this hike, you must ask for permission from the village of Olosega (pronounced Olosenga). You can check with your lodging hosts, NPS staff members, or workers at the Olosega bush stores to find out who specifically you need to ask permission from and then attempt to obtain it. Attempting to do the hike without first obtaining official permission would be considered disrespectful and may create problems for future hikers. As a side note, do not attempt to take the spur trail to the summit of Piumafua Mountain, which is the high point of Olosega island. As of the time of writing (December 2017), this hike is not currently allowed by the village. Let me try to recap the main reason as it was explained to me. There was an incident where two hikers got lost earlier in 2017 during a summit attempt and the entire village of Olosega had to spend two days looking for them. When the two hikers were rescued, they did not show the proper gratitude and appreciation for their rescue. Nobody in the village wants a repeat of that incident, and the trail itself is a very rough trail that is overgrown and hard to follow. Thus, for now, hiking to Piumafua is not allowed.
For our hike of the Oge Beach Trail, my friend Charlie and I caught a ride to the trailhead with NPS staff members and were dropped off with bicycles which we would use to get back. The hike starts near the eastern end of Olosega village near Vaisaili Point. To begin, the trail follows just above the shoreline with nice views of the breaking waves and the rainforest mountains above. The trail soon begins climbing until it reaches a saddle between Mata'ala Ridge and Maga Point. We spotted several Brown booby seabirds circling around in the air near Maga Point. As we stood on the saddle watching them, they would start far away just off Maga Point and slowly come toward us before continuing to fly past us. At the same time, we spotted humpback whales breaching the surface and spraying water in the air just off the coast. Watching the whales and trying to figure out where they would pop up next was quite enjoyable. As we descended into the thickest portion of jungle making our way down the other side, we spotted skinks (or island lizards) and a large coconut crab. The slow-moving coconut crab was fascinating to watch, being that it was such a large creature (3 feet long in width) with powerful claws. It saddened us to think of how these amazing crabs which can have a lifespan of around 60 years are hunted by some locals as a food source, which greatly reduces their population size and makes them very scarce to find. We then continued down the trail and finally arrived at Oge Beach. Oge Beach is totally different from Ofu Beach. Although there are sandy spots, the beach is mostly made up of thick layers of coral. That makes the walking slow and difficult, but it provides a nice contrast to the fine sand of Ofu Beach. The only bad thing is that ocean trash and debris tends to wash up on this beach due to its remote location. Try not to focus on that, but instead on all of the natural beauty which surrounds you. If you can, pack out a little bit of trash on your hike out. Every little bit of effort and help is certainly meaningful and appreciated. The hike next continues to the north until the coral beach comes to an end at a section of large boulders which are difficult to pass. Just beyond is Leala Point, an area where waves hit the rocks and explode in giant plumes of water high into the air. It is a fun scene to watch and makes it worth all of the effort required to complete the entire hike. The giant boulders also happen to be a favorite hangout of local crabs. Click here to watch a video that we filmed during our time on Ofu-Olosega. Our hike took place on September 13, 2017.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT