Cigarette aside, John Morgan is the definitive Hawaii Marlboro
Man. He knows his spread like the back of his hand.
A sixth-generation descendant of Dr. Gerrit P. Judd a missionary
dentist who befriended King Kamehameha III Morgan today oversees
the land that Judd purchased from the king in 1850. Growing up in a
beachfront home at what is now Kualoa Regional Park, he reveled in
this Windward Oahu wonderland.
An avid horseman, Morgan roams the verdant valleys of 4,000-acre
Kualoa Ranch on his handsome quarterhorse, Flash. Yet in his free
time, he prefers hoofing it on his own, hiking throughout the
His early accomplishments included Haleakala on Maui when Morgan
was eight, as well as Oahu’s famous “Stairway to Heaven” thriller
numerous times as a teen. Today, that 3,992-step challenge is
officially closed due to safety issues.
A graduate of Honolulu’s Punahou School, Morgan set off with a
group of classmates to scale Mount Rainier in 2005. The arduous
trek became one of his proudest achievements.
“From our group of seven, five of us made it to the top,” he
When training for the ambitious trek, Morgan relied on his
Hawaii trail savvy to prepare for the challenge. His picks for
steepness are trails in Punaluu and Kahana, just north of Kualoa
Ranch, and a rigorous Koolau Summit hike.
Morgan also enjoys the popular twin peaks of Olomana, off the
Pali Highway heading toward Kailua Town.
“It’s a great hike, but it’s medium to difficult in a few
spots,” he said.
While this is no great obstacle to Morgan, beginners should take
note. For those just getting into ped power, he recommends
Maunawili also off the Pali Highway.
“It has the most spectacular scenery,” he said. “It’s an easy
hike, and it’s very accessible.”
Geared to those into more mellow outings, Morgan favors the
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail near Sea Life Park, Diamond Head at
Waikiki and the Koolau Summit Trails above Waimanalo and Kuliouou
near Hawaii Kai.
Driving his passion is the health aspect that tosses him into
the heart of nature.
“There are so many benefits, whether spiritual or rejuvenating,”
He finds Hawaii adventures remarkable because the scenery is so
As for neighbor island outings, Maui’s Haleakala Crater still
“It’s just a fabulous place,” he said. “I’d like to do it at
night some time.”
He also has fond Maui memories of Hana’s Seven Sacred pools with
his kids and wife, Carrie.
“It has such a great reward with the pools to refresh in,”
On Kauai, he enjoys the lush jungle atmosphere of Kokee State
Park, and “Hanakapiai is a two-miler edging the cliffs overlooking
the Na Pali Coast. You see the ocean the entire time, so it’s hard
But Morgan warns hikers to be prepared by packing the right gear
for the trail.
When it comes to Hawaii’s Big Island, Morgan enjoys Pololo
Valley. He also trekked to the summit of Mauna Kea as part of his
Mount Rainier training regime.
“It’s a long trudge, but it’s absolutely beautiful because
you’re at the top of a volcano,” he said.
While Morgan always gets a rush from “Flash-ing” across the
ranch atop his trusted horse, he still finds an uplifting power
from exploring nature and its countless wonders on his own two