A Return To Likeke Falls and the Old Pali Road

In August 2011, Exploration: Hawaii was small blog with practically no readership other than our closest friends. At the time, a short blog post about a waterfall located off the Old Pali Road would be just our fifth blog posts. It was one of the first hikes that Joel, Marvin, I did as a group. I relied entirely on my iPhone 4 to take photos with. It became one of our most popular posts. I don’t even think Marvin had even mastered the art of the panorama yet. He didn’t even have his signature GPS at the time. Two years later, I finally had the chance to return to Likeke Falls, not with Marvin and Joel, but with my wife, some old friends, and some new ones.

The view on the way to the waterfall. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

The view on the way to the waterfall. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

To access the Old Pali Road, you'll climb down an old wooden ladder. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

To access the Old Pali Road, you’ll climb down an old wooden ladder. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Going under the highway. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Going under the highway. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Under the bridge. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Under the bridge. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Face graffiti. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Face graffiti. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sheryl, Michelle, and Chris. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sheryl, Michelle, and Chris. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Actually, this hike came about on a whim. That same day, I had led my wife Michelle, her friend Sheryl, and an old friend, Chris, up to the bunkers at the end of Puu Maelieli. Though the hike offers amazing views of the Windward coast, it does lack much of a challenge and is fairly short. Feeling obliged to give my friend the full hiking experience, I asked if he was interested in checking out a waterfall. He said yes, and so did Sheryl. My wife was a bit hesitant, but was in too. We quickly made our down Puu Maelieli, grabbed a snack from McDonalds, and drove to the Pali Lookout.

Like I mentioned, it had been two years since I last hiked this trail. All I could remember was that it was short and easy. Of course, short and easy is relative. Joining us on the hike would be Scott (Chris’ friend from college), Scott’s roommate Isaiah, and Brandon, Isaiah’s friend who was visiting from New York. Doesn’t it feel like I’m playing a little bit of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? In any case, it was a fun and diverse group. I quickly conjured up a conversation with Scott, who is the Director of Marketing at VOLCANO Fine Electronic Cigarettes. He manages their social media strategy and so I naturally chatted with him for a bit about Exploration: Hawaii and squeezed some ideas out of him.

Into the jungle. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Into the jungle. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Michelle finding the trail. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Michelle finding the trail. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Getting closer to the waterfall. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Getting closer to the waterfall. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

The hike to Likeke Falls is about 2 miles long, making for a 4 mile roundtrip excursion. As an alternative, you could park a second car at the Koolau Golf Course to avoid hiking the 2 miles back up to the Pali Lookout. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the golf course from the falls. Of course, I thought about this after the fact. We could have asked Scott to park his truck at the golf course and then shuttled everyone back to the lookout. Oh well, maybe next time.

We lucked out and had the falls entirely to ourselves. Recently, there have been more “eco-tours” coming to Likeke Falls with hoards of tourists. Today, it actually felt like a secluded waterfall in the middle of the jungle. Pretty cool. I’m glad that we visited when we did.

Explorers: Isaiah Block, Brandon Cruz, Chris Erice, Coty Gonzales. Michelle Sagucio, Scott Rasak, Sheryl Tajas

We've reached Likeke Falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

We’ve reached Likeke Falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sheryl crossing the falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sheryl crossing the falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Checking out Likeke Falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Checking out Likeke Falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Looking straight at Likeke Falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Looking straight at Likeke Falls. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Smile. Photo by Michelle Sagucio.

Smile. Photo by Michelle Sagucio.

Likeke Falls Trail Tips:

  1. Remember to bring $3 for parking (if you’re not a local resident) or even better, bring a local along for the hike.
  2. Bug repellant is useful for this hike to combat mosquitos.
  3. Say hi to the chickens that run around the parking lot.

Directions to Likeke Falls: To get to this hike simply take H1 east bound from Waikiki. Then take the Pali Highway exit. Since the Nuuanu Pali State Park Lookout is a popular tourist attraction, there are ample signs for you to follow that will lead you straight to the Pali Lookout parking lot. If you’re not a local resident then parking will cost you $3. Alternatively, you can start from the Koolau Country Club’s parking lot.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.