I recently took my son on his first hike. For him, I chose the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail for the magnificent views of Oahu’s windward coast. It’s also paved, which made it easy for me, him, and his stroller (when he needed it).
A few weeks ago, our friends over at Island Air asked me to participate in a 12-hour island hopping adventure. The goal? To showcase just how easy it is to travel to one of Island Air’s neighbor island destinations (Lihue, Kahului and Kona). I wanted to be sure to fill the 12-hours with a ton of stuff that I had never experienced before on the the Valley Isle.
Yet again, another wonderful opportunity to hike with Stuart Ball, the author of The Hikers Guide to Oahu. This time, he led us through a maze of a trail with a variety of scattered tunnels (more than 10 of them). He also showed us a new section of the trail that was recently carved out.
3:30AM they said. Meet outside the cabin at 3:30AM. That’s the conversation that I overheard while quietly devouring my scrambled eggs, courtesy of the Kilauea Military Camp. That’s all that I needed to hear to know that these people, who were also enjoying the same fine eggs, were planning a trip to see the Kilauea lava flow at Volcanoes National Park. I instinctively interrupted their conversation and quickly asked, “do you have room for one more?”
I love exploring the north and west shores leading up to Kaena Point, primarily because I think it is the last stretch of wild coastline on Oahu. Once you step beyond where the paved roads end in both Mokuleia and Waianae, you are instantly surrounded by beautiful coastal terrain, cultural sites, and remnants of a historical past once dominated by plantations and the military.
Sometime in the middle of last year, I went on a little field trip with the Sierra Club of Hawaii – Oahu Chapter to visit Lulumahu Falls, Kaniakapupu, and Luakaha Falls. You can check out the Kaniakapupu post here, but for some reason, I never got around to sharing photos from Lulumahu Falls. Oddly enough, when this blog first started in 2011, Lulumahu Falls was one of the most requested posts from readers. We never got around to making a post, despite a memorable experience trying to find it.
The Kaiwa Ridge Trail, often referred to as Lanikai Ridge, is a trail that never disappoints. Maybe it’s the vibrant, azure colored waters fronting the ridge, with the Mokulua Islands popping out from the ocean in the distance. Maybe it’s the appeal of the old, war time bunkers that you find along the trail. Whatever it is, the Kaiwa Ridge hike is rad and is therefore my go-to hike whenever I have friends visiting. Friends, like my friend Ryan.
We’ve written about the Kuliouou Ridge Trail here and elsewhere on the site. It’s one of my favorites because it’s very accessible and the views are stellar. It’s also one of those hikes that I always recommend that visitors and locals try. For one, it’s legal (no breaking any laws here). Second, it’s a solid hike that’s worth the required workout. Finally, for many, it’ll be just a short drive away. Of course, you’ve got to get past those, errr, damn switchbacks. Don’t let those switchbacks deter you, though, because the views that await ahead…they’re complete bliss.