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Hikes on Oahu

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The island of Oahu offers a wealth of waterfalls and nature hikes, showcasing the beauty of Hawaii while giving you a chance to explore. Most hikes on the island can be accomplished in a matter of hours. If you’re looking for a break from the beach, tie on your hiking boots and head into the beautiful Hawaiian mountains to test your hiking skills.

SAFETY WARNING!
For your own safety, always hike with one or more people in the party and tell someone where you will be and when you expect you back. Always bring water and food with you. Follow all posted signs and state laws. If you’re ever uncomfortable or unsure, do not continue and turn back. DO NOT drink the water in streams as it carries a potentially fatal bacteria. Do not leave valuables in your car. Hike at your own risk.
http://oahuplaces.tripod.com/hikes.htm

Easy
Pounders to Mahakea:
This is a short hike from Pounders Beach to Mahakea Beach. You can go to the other side, which takes about 10 minutes or just enjoy the panoramic view at the top.
Directions: From Schofield, take Hwy 99 north towards Haleiwa. Continue along the North Shore and around the tip of the island. The road turns into Hwy 83. Just past the town of Laie is Pounders Beach. At the end of Pounders Beach is a cliff (right of the parking lot). Look for steps on the right of the cliff, which will lead to a clearly marked path. When you get up there you will see a trail leading to the left. The trail will take you through some bushes to the other side.

Wakelele Falls:
Hike takes about 40-60 minutes you should reach a nice pool and a small waterfall at the end. This hike does consist of crossing streams of water so be cautious.
Directions: This hike starts on the road behind PCC that leads to the quarry. As you go along the road the softball field is on your right and a small gulch is on your left. After a little while there is a chain link gate with a no trespassing sign on your left. Go around the gate and continue up a dirt road with papaya farms on your right and the gulch continuing on your left. Follow this road as it crosses the small stream and continues up in to the mountains. Once the road ends a small trail starts. Follow this trail for about a mile and a half. It crosses the stream a number of times but always goes upstream. Be careful when you cross the stream because that's always the easiest place to lose the trail.

Lua’alaea Falls
The hike to Lua’alaea Falls starts from the same trailhead as Manoa Falls. The trail is much lesser traveled, wilder, and more interesting to traverse. Once you crossed the bridge, veer left of the Manoa Falls trail into the stream to make your way to Lua’alaea Falls. The hike is a short two miles through muddy jungle with slippery moss covered rocks and tree roots. The lower falls are no more than 10 feet tall with a small pool at the base. Upper Lua’alaea Falls are much higher, falling some 60 feet over a rock face.
Directions: From Waikiki: Take McCully Street out of Waikiki toward the mountains. Turn right onto Kapiolani Blvd. Turn left onto University and drive through the University of Hawaii campus. Turn right onto Manoa Road. This will dead end at the trail head. Parking is approx. $5.

Waimea Falls
Waimea Falls is located in the beautiful 1,800-acre Waimea Falls Park. In ancient times, the Hawaiians believed that Waimea had healing powers and they would bring their wounded soldiers to the waterfall and lay them in the water for healing. The water has a reddish tint due to the iron oxide found in the volcanic soil that flows down from the mountains by the Waimea River.
Directions: Take H1 west bound to H2 heading to the North Shore. Take the Wahiawa Exit and get on Kamehameha Highway. Turn right into the Park just past the Waimea Bay Beach Park. Waimea Valley is located at 59-864 Kamehameha Highway. Admission is $8 for military adults and $5 for military children, ages 4-12.

Kapena Falls
Kapena Falls is a tiny waterfall tumbling around 20-30ft. Even though it is right in the middle of urban Honolulu, it is not visible from any roads and as a result gets few visitors on weekdays. This is not a tall waterfall but the pool is large and the short walk to it is pretty and features some nice little cascades and small pools. The area was used to film some scenes of the TV show "Lost". The water is quite often very dirty and not appealing for swimming; the best time to visit this waterfall is in the late summer when there is less runoff and the water is clearer.
Directions: From H1, take the Pali Hwy. going towards Kailua. Take the Wyllie St. exit, which comes soon after the beginning of the Pali. After crossing over the highway, turn left on Nuuanu St. and then turns left into the Nuuanu Memorial Park and Mortuary.  Go all the way to the back, turning right and then left and down, and park in the last parking area. You'll see a grassy trail to the left of a building. That is the trailhead, and it takes you almost immediately to the stream.

Hauula Trails
There are 3 hikes that begin at the same location. Two loop trails which are perfect for beginners and families, and the Ma'akua Gulch, which is a more advanced trail and is closed at the moment anyway. The loop trails have good views of Hau'ula and La'ie towns and pass through Norfolk Island pines. Both loops should take about 1-2 hours each.
Directions: Take Kamehameha Hwy. toward Hau'ula, after passing the shopping center look for Hau'ula Beach Park on the left. Turn right on Hauula Homestead road and as it curves to the left, stay straight on Ma'akua Rd. The paved road will turn into a dirt road and if you're driving look for a spot to park around here. You will see signs to the trails and will come to a chain across the road. Go around the chain and the road will keep curving to the right. The first trail you arrive to on the right will have a sign that says Hau'ula trails and is the shorter of the two. If you keep going a little more you will see another sign on the left that says Ma'akua Gulch. The Hau'ula-Papali loop also begins here. Go down on the trail. Right takes you on the Ma'akua trail (don't take this one). Cross the stream and climb on the far side. The trail splits, but you can go either way since it is a loop.

Manoa Falls
The Monoa Falls trail is about ¾ of a mile, taking approximately 2 hours round trip. The hike follows a small stream along a rock footpath. It is a beautiful hike to the falls. You can see ferns with long fronds growing along the stream bank, Nectar feeding birds, Mountain apples and the overall feeling is very mystical. It is a fairly easy hike and suitable for families, but be careful, especially during rainy seasons. The pool at the end is small, but a nice place to cool down and take photographs.
Directions: Take Kamehameha Hwy. toward Kaneohe. Go down Pali Hwy or H3 which turns into H1 toward Honolulu. From Honolulu get on Manoa Rd. past the University of Hawaii. Keep going passing the paradise park parking lot and the Lyon Arboretum further on to the left. There is a parking lot on the right with a fee, or you can park just at the trail head.

Diamond Head
From Trailhead to summit 0.8 miles. Nice view of Honolulu from the top of the crater. For further info see Department of Land and natural Resources Division of State Parks, 1151 Punchbowl St. room 310 (PO box 621), Honolulu Hawaii 96809. Ph. 5870300
Moderate

Aiea Loop Trail
This is a 5 mile loop trail with damp forest, and it comes out of the ridges of the Ko’olau Mountains, with scenic canyons on both sides. You can see Pearl Harbor below. It is known to be a fairly easy hike.
Directions: Go toward town on H3, which turns into H1. Get off at the exit marked Stadium-Halawa which puts you on Ulune St. Follow Ulune St. for a few miles and at the end of the road turn right onto Aiea Heights Drive. Follow Aiea Heights Drive all the way up along the hill and you will come to Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area. Drive past the camping area and you park at the parking lot. The park is open from 7am-6:30pm. For a more detailed description see Stuart Ball's "The Hikers Guide to O'ahu"

Judd-Nu’uanu Trail
This is a 5 mile round trip hike or you can just do the loop which is about 3/4 mile and suitable for a family
Directions: Go toward town until you get to Pali Hwy. After passing through the tunnel, stick to your left and get on Nuanu Pali drive. Look for a stone bridge over a small stream before Polihwa place, marked 1931. You can park in the small dirt lot just after the bridge. From the parking lot head down hill toward the stream. Cross the stream and follow the trail. You can stay on the wide trail heading away from the stream, which takes you through bamboo grove, then eucalyptus and Norfolk Pines and eventually joins with Moana trails, which is closed right now, so when you reach Nu'uanu Valley overlook, just head back. This would make an approx. 5 mile round trip. Alternatively you can just do the loop which is about 3/4 mile by heading downstream and around the loop.

Maunawili Falls
A nice family hike crossing several streams and ending at a waterfall. Takes about 40-50 minutes. The trail begins with a pleasant meander through a forest of bamboo trees, ginger and coffee plants. It crosses the stream in a few places and slowly climbs above the treetops to gorgeous views of the Ko’olaus, Mount Olomana, and surrounding Kailua and Kaneohe. After reaching the top of a brisk flight of stairs, the trail divides. The trail on the right connects to the Maunawili Demonstration Trail, which goes from the Pali Highway to Waimanalo, about 8 miles long. To proceed to the falls, turn left and climb down the stairs to the stream below. Head straight back, and with one final stream crossing you'll be sure to hear the gentle rush of the falls ahead, roughly an hour or so after your hike began. The best time to go is in the morning. Beware; this trail can get very muddy!
Directions: Take the Pali Highway towards Kailua. Turn right onto Auloa Road, stay left at the fork on Maunawili Road and follow the signs to a residential neighborhood. At the end of Maunawili Road turn right on Keewina Street and park on the street. The trailhead is past a gate, down a short road and on your right.

Pools at Waiakeakua
Waiakeakua Stream consists of pools and waterfalls tucked against the Koolau Mountains behind Puu Pia, the prominent cinder cone on the east-side of Manoa Valley. The Na Ala Hele Trail leads Puu Pia in Manoa Valley, which brings you to the pools. The water is incredibly clear and descends through a series of pools as it makes its way downstream.  In ancient times, the pools at Waiakeakua were reserved for bathing by alii (chiefs). 
Directions: From Waikiki: Take McCully Street out of Waikiki toward the mountains. Turn right onto Kapiolani Blvd. Turn left onto University and drive through the University of Hawaii campus. Turn right onto Manoa Road. This will dead end at the trail head. Parking is approx. $5.

Likeke Falls
Likeke Falls is a pretty 15ft waterfall that is a well-hidden gem known mostly to locals. It is well worth the effort to get to this waterfall. There aren’t many signs indicating the presence of this waterfall, but it is spectacular once you reach it.
Directions: Park at the Pali Lookout car park, off of Hwy 61(Pali Hwy).  From the car park, walk towards the Pali Lookout. Then, follow the paved road (Old Pali Road) downhill to the right past the gate for about 3/4-mile. From this point, leave the road and follow an apparent fork alongside the "new" Pali Highway (Hwy 61). The trail then disappears beneath the graffiti-laden concrete walls of Hwy 61, requiring a descent on a set of rickety wooden steps. After descending the wooden steps, squeeze between the concrete walls supporting the Kailua-bound lanes of Hwy 61. Once you emerge from the highway’s structural underbelly, the weedy trail widens as it went underneath the Honolulu-bound lanes of Hwy 61. Eventually, you regain the normal hiking trail on the other side of the freeway and start to walk beneath the tall columns supporting the highway. The trail veers away from the noisy highway and rejoins the Old Pali Road.  The trail continues downhill on Old Pali Road to the junction with A'uloa Road, which was closed to vehicular traffic in this area. There a trail leaves the pavement at a hairpin turn between the end of a concrete railing and a power pole. This is the official trailhead of the Likeke Trail. At first the trail ascends several switchbacks before undulating through a humid, jungle-like canopy. Go straight at the four-way intersection. The trail turns into a stone road. Here, take a left turn to leave this road and eventually (probably about 10 minutes) cross right in front of Likeke Falls.

Kahanna Valley State Park
Ancient land division. There are two hiking trails available to the public. Both relatively easy and suitable for the family. There are 10 beach camp sites available with permits. There is a $5 fee per campsite per night. Hunting allowed in designated areas.
Directions: Drive along Kamehameha Hwy going toward Kaneohe. Just after Punaluu, before crossing the Kahan Stream turn right into Kahana Valley State Park. Look for the visitors center (marked Orientation) on the right. Park there and maps should be available for the different trails.

Kaena Point
You can reach Kaena Point from both sides of the island, North Shore side or the Leeward side. If you're going from North Shore side, go down Kamehameha Hwy. toward Haleiwa. Go through Haleiwa and when the road forks stay on the right which turns into Farrington Hwy. Keep going all the way until the paved road ends. Park your car and walk along the jeep road. You can walk along the beach or trail until you get to the gate (there are several trails branching off to the ocean's edge. Just keep following the trail until you arrive to the point. If you're going from the Leeward side (which is a beautiful drive along the coast), stay on Kamehameha Hwy. until you get to Wahiawa. Take the H2, then H1 west and get off at Farrington Hwy. or stay on Kamehameha Hwy. until you reach end at turn right onto Farrington Hwy. Drive along the coast until you reach Kaena Point State Park. The last beach is Yokohama Bay, which has restrooms and a parking lot. Kaena Point from here will take about 2-3 hours. Start along the jeep trail. On both sides you will pass protected sea pools and tide pools. There are no sand beaches past Yokohama Bay, but there are some shallow places on the way to cool off. Close to the point you will see deep caves on the right below the path on the mauka (mountain) side, then a sign welcoming you to Kaena point with some interesting facts and information.

Makiki Valley Loop Trail
The Makiki Valley Loop trail is part of the 11 trails in the Makiki Tantalus complex. It is in good condition and has some good sightseeing on the way. You will also see Norfolk and Cook Island Pines, Kui Kui trees, Avocado (Aug-Oct), Koa Hardwood trees, ginger, eucalyptus, all spice and a variety of birds. It crosses 5 streams and reaches an elevation of 760 feet. It is 2.7 miles (about 2 hours).
Directions: Take Kamehameha Hwy. toward Hau'ula, after passing the shopping center look for Hau'ula Beach Park on the left. Turn right on Hauula Homestead road and as it curves to the left, stay straight on Ma'akua Rd. The paved road will turn into a dirt road and if you're driving look for a spot to park around here. You will see signs to the trails and will come to a chain across the road. Go around the chain and the road will keep curving to the right. The first trail you arrive to on the right will have a sign that says Hau'ula trails and is the shorter of the two. If you keep going a little more you will see another sign on the left that says Ma'akua Gulch. The Hau'ula-Papali loop also begins here. Go down on the trail. Right takes you on the Ma'akua trail (don't take this one). Cross the stream and climb on the far side. The trail splits, but you can go either way since it is a loop.

Makapu’u Head
Makapuu Head is a hike up to the lighthouse, seen in Magnum P.I. along a paved path. It has outstanding views along the coast. Great place to watch whales in the winter.
Directions: Coming from Kaneohe along Kalanianaole Hwy passing Waimanalo Bay Beach Park and Makapuu Beach, the highway climbs to the left, past golf course. Look for locked gate leading to jeep road on the left. Park along hwy near gate entrance. Be careful not to leave belongings in car.

Mt. Olympus:
360 Panoramic Views. This is an intermediate trail which starts at Waahila Ridge State Park at the top of St. Louis Heights at the end of Ruth Place. Hikers can park in a nice parking lot within the State Park. This trail is a ridge trail which goes through many ups and downs before reaching the summit. The hiking time is 4 - 4 1/2 hours.
Directions: From Schofield Barracks get on H2 then continue on H1 towards Honolulu. Take the King St. exit 25A. Turn slight left onto S King St. Then Slight left onto Kapiolani Blvd. Kapiolani Blvd becomes Waialae Ave. Turn left onto St. Louis Dr. Then a slight right onto Alencastre St. the 2nd right on St. Louis Dr. Stay straight to go onto Noah St. Take the 1st right onto St. Louis Dr. Turn slight right onto Peter St. Your destination is 0.1 mile past Ruth Place.

Kealia Trail:
This is an intermediate trail which starts behind the Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore just of Farrington Highway. The trail gradually works up a 1000 ft. cliff and then follows 4 wheel drive road to a beautiful Makua Valley overlook. The trail switch backs are very rocky. Watch out for falling rocks! The hiking time is 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
Directions: Leave out of McCornack Rd gate and turn left onto HI-99/Wilikina Dr. Continue to follow Wilikina Dr. Stay straight to go onto Kaukaonahua rd, Stay straight for 6.6 mile continuing on Farrington Hwy/HI-930 Pass through 1 roundabout heading to Dillingham Airfield. Turn left if you reach the end of the road you have gone 1.6 miles to far. 

Difficult

Laie Hike
Laie hike is a 12 mile round trip hike. It begins with a climb on dry dirt, followed by a walk through Norfolk Island pines and strawberry guavas. About half way up you go down into the valley to a waterfall and pool or keep going through native forest to reach the summit. On a good day you can see Windward Coast and North Shore to Haleiwa. It takes approx. 2 hours to get to the falls and another 2 hours to the summit.

Directions: From Schofield, take Hwy 99 north towards Haleiwa. Continue along the North Shore and around the tip of the island. The road turns into Hwy 83. As you approach the town of Laie, take Naniloa Loop. Turn left at the roundabout on Po'ohali St, which will eventually turn into a dirt road. You will pass a road taking you to Laie Cemetery and then you'll come to a gate. Past the gate you will see a pump house on the right. As you pass a small bridge you will come to another gate with a sign. Stick to the left and as you pass the sign you will see a clearly marked path. Just follow the markers all the way. If you want to stop at the falls look for the valley going down after going through a bush of guava trees.

Waimano Pool
High above Pearl City, at the top of Pacific Palisades, a 3-mile round trip hike leads to two small pools backed by a fine waterfall. Although short as distance goes, the route drops steeply enough down into Waimano Valley to require caution, especially in wet weather, or when previous rains have made the trail slick with mud. However, there are no dangerous drop-offs or exposed places, which makes the outing suitable for hardy families. Keep in mind, though, that the steep trail must be climbed back up at the end of the hike (a 700-foot gain), and it has earned its nickname, “cardiac hill.” The route follows a narrow paved road until it reaches a water tank. It then becomes the Manana Trail. After passing a utility tower on the left, the trail continues along the ridge. Ignore a small side trail to the right, keeping to the main route, which bears right just below a wide hill. The trail drops downhill slightly, and a brown-and-yellow trail marker soon appears, pointing left, indicating the route of the Manana Trail. Do not turn here, but keep right and downhill. You may see a small hand-lettered sign “fall,” just before descending along a wide ridge, covered with exposed roots. Entering a thicker forest, the trail narrows, and the going becomes steeper and rocky in places. For a time, the route contours along the side of the valley, but soon drops sharply again. A fixed rope helps in one of the more difficult places.
Directions: The trailhead is the same as that for the Manana Trail, which begins at the end of Komo Mai Drive. (From Kamehameha Highway or Moanalua Road, turn mauka on Waimano Home Road, then left on Komo Mai, and follow it to the end). The trail begins behind the walk-around gate, at the Public Hunting Area sign.

Malaekahana Pool and Falls
Malaekahana is about 8 miles round trip, gains about 1,200 feet in elevation, and is a fairly strenuous trail. Malaekahana Trail traverses private property, and the hike requires permission from Hawaii Reserves. The permit must be picked up in person at their office in the Laie Shopping Center, between the Country Doctor and the Pharmacy. It takes approx. 5 hours both ways.
Directions: Follow the same directions as Laie Hike until you arrive to the gate with a sign and continue to the right instead of left. The road branches a lot, but as long as you stay on the main road and don't go into any farms you should be fine. If you take a wrong turn and run into a farm just get back to the road. It becomes pretty obvious if you get off the road. After another quarter mile or so there is a silver gate on your left. Go through that gate and continue up on a thinner road that runs parallel to a barbwire fence. Take this road and continue for a while until you get to the trail. There are two places you might lose the trail. The first is where you leave the fence, about another quarter mile past the silver gate. Stay to the left and you will start climbing up a red dirt road. This road continues to climb and eventually turns into a trail. It's pretty well marked here. After a couple more miles and maybe 2 hours of hiking you get to a junction. One trail goes to the summit and the other to the falls. Take the one to the falls unless you want to be hiking for the rest of the day. This will descend towards the stream. Once you reach the stream you can head downstream to a small waterfall (about 15ft), pool and place to jump or you can head upstream to a slightly bigger waterfall (about 25ft). If you head upstream, climb up the falls to reach a much larger waterfall (about 70ft).

For More Information
http://oahuplaces.tripod.com/hikes.htm
http://www.hawaiiweb.com/oahu/hiking_and_camping/default.htm
http://www.tombarefoot.com/oahu/hiking_oahu.html
http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/hiking/oahu/
www.oahuhiking.com
http://www.gohawaii.com/oahu/guidebook/topics/hiking-on-oahu