More #hikinginhawaii

I’m officially hooked on hiking. Not sure if this is purely a Hawaii thing, but I’m going with it while it lasts. There are so many amazing, natural sights to see on this island that I know feel as if I will never see them all. I also have to combat this thing called a job, which does not leave me much free time. And there are these little people (and a big person) who never want to leave my side – weird, right? So while hiking here is a limited activity for me, I try to get out when I can and with anyone in the family that will go with me.

So where have we been recently?

– Lulumahu Falls, second trip, and getting lost off the Nu’uanu Pali trail:

Apparently you need a permit to use this trail, something I did not acquire the first time. Oops. I rectified that by purchasing a $3 online and printable permit for the day, available through the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife website. Andy, Addie, and I all ventured this trail on a sunny, slightly chilly Saturday morning.

The trail is popular and can get crowded, but I really wanted to them to see it (it was their first trip). We avoided most of the mud, crossed the water, climbed rocks, and actually took some great pictures of the waterfall.


We descended back down the trail, and I wanted to find the Kaniakapupu ruins. A friend of mine had been there, the site of King Kamehameha III’s summer home, and it was just down the hill from the trail entrance. We located the path to the ruins, but somehow we made a wrong turn. We could hear water, so we walked in that direction through huge bamboo and monkeypod trees. We found ourselves at yet another waterfall and met a couple other lost hikers. They were told to “follow the pink flags” to get back to the ruins and the entrance.

Safety in numbers, right? I let Andy, my navigationally-gifted husband, lead us through trees, trails, brush, rocks, water, and mud. After about 30 minutes of walking with no end in sight, my anxiety started to wonder if we were in a Blair Witch scenario – everything started to look like we had already passed it. The positives of being lost were that we befriended some very nice people and burned a ton of calories. Addie did not complain once, only stopping for water and to ask if she could have McDonald’s on the way home.

Finally, we could see light and a path – the same path out of the original waterfall trail. We had literally completed a large, loopy circle and missed the ruins. Like I said, tons of calories burned.

Kolekole Trail, and beyond!:

The Kolekole trail is actually located on Schofield Barracks. Because it is on the range, it is only open on certain days (usually posted by the garrison in advance). The trail to the lookout is super short at only 1 mile roundtrip. Andy had never been to this one either, so Lorelei, Addie, and I took him for a quick workout.

But alas, our adventurous spirit took us beyond the short trail and and into an overgrown, sometimes muddy, and tree-rooted trail further up. The girls were not as thrilled about this, but they pushed through and were rewarded with even better views of Waianae and the ocean. I think this point is called Pu’u Hapapa, but I’m not really sure; we just wanted to make the hike a little more adventurous. Those views though!

Full disclosure: this is located on a military installation. You must have a military ID or base access to hike here.

 Makiki Valley Trail:

This is a easier loop trail close to Manoa, meaning you can drive barely out of downtown to get there. Park at the Hawaii Nature Center, and you can easily find the trailhead. We took all the kids this time (mistake, but how else do we get them to try new things?) and even let Leo try walking on his own. He made it for about 5 minutes before wanting in the backpack. It’s a start!

This hike has a little of everything, from rocks to trees to running water. The trail is a little muddy, depending on how recently is has rained. We were treated to a little mist while there, which felt great in the tree-dense humidity. The entire loop is composed of 3 trails: Kanealole Trail, Makiki Valley Trail and Maunalaha Trail. It is only about 2.5 miles total though, making it easy for kids to attempt. Our kids whined a little, but they always do. We reward them with ice cream after a hike, and I’m not ashamed of it.

 Pu’u O Hulu x2:

Addie and I love this trail so much, we have done it twice in the last 4 months. This is often called the Pink Pillbox hike because the summit features 3 pillboxes, one of which has been painted bright pink. The incline uses steady switchbacks to climb the nearly 700 feet up the ridge, but the most challenging part of the trail is the heat. Waianae is known for its hot, dry temperatures. There is very little cover on the trail, which only intensifies the heat. Bring sunscreen and plenty of water, especially in the middle of the day.


Why do we enjoy it so much? The views from the top are amazing. We bring a snack, sit on top of a pillbox, and dangle our feet over the edge to tempt gravity. To one side, you can see clear to Kaena Point; from the other, the entire west side of Oahu. The water is so blue, the breeze feels amazing, and it feels like you are miles from the civilization you see below. A short trek for great rewards!

 – Waimano Falls:

This hike…so much harder than I thought it would be. Upon reading the reviews, I knew that this trail went downhill first to a waterfall and pond. It was about 3 miles roundtrip, and I can handle a few rocks and climbing, right?

The trailhead is located in Aiea at the end of Komo Mai street, making it super easy to find. This trail is connected with the Manana Trail (a hike for another day). It starts off easy, and the descent is not difficult. You start to realize as you climb further down and down that the old adage is true but in reverse – what goes down must come up. So while the waterfall is pretty and the chance to swim is an incentive, the climb back up is not as easy.


There is one section of this climb called Cardiac Hill, so aptly named because the incline is intense. There are few roots or rocks to gain your footing, and it seems never ending. I may be slightly exaggerating, but that was a challenge. My heart definitely felt it. There is a reason I only have one picture of this hike; all I could focus on was getting back up the trail and to my car! Regardless, it is a fun trail that takes very little time to reach from the city, making it a quick weekend adventure.

I’m sure I am missing a hike or two. We try them as often as we can, and we are slowly building our skills to tackle the challenging ones. Look out for more attempts and reviews!

***Click any of the hyperlinks in this post – these are my favorite resources for hiking in Hawaii!***


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