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.
If you enjoy the outdoors, then Hawaii is an exceptional place to live. Many say that Hawaii has some of the most beautiful beaches and best waves in the world. However, if you look mauka, or towards the mountains, you’ll also notice her beautiful valleys and ridges. Comprised of volcanic rock, Hawaii’s hiking options are unique and in a class of its own. Below are seven reasons why hiking in Hawaii is indeed awesome. However, be warned. A spur of the moment hike might lead to the start of a new hobby, and then a lifelong obsession.
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.
One of the most frequent email questions that I receive from Exploration: Hawaii readers is: “What are some kid friendly hiking trails on Oahu?” This post will help to answer that question. First of all, I will disregard the three hikes that both you and your children probably have already done: Diamond Head, Makapuu Light House, and the Manoa Falls Trail. Of course, these three hikes are definitely good options if you haven’t already completed them. I’d like to focus a bit on the more obscure, or out-of-the-way trails. It’ll add to your child’s sense of adventure, and maybe get them hooked on the outdoors. You’ve been warned.
NOTE: none of the trails listed below are probably appropriate for infants or toddlers. These are NOT the kind of hikes meant for infants or toddlers. I’d probably say kids 10 and older can manage the trails below, but of course, you, the parent, is the best judge of whether or not your child can hike the trails listed below. Try these hikes first: Diamond Head, Makapuu Light House, and the Manoa Falls Trail, before you try the ones listed below. I have no hikes to suggest for those looking to hike with an infant or toddler in a hiking backpack.
With that said, here are 5 great kid friendly hikes on Oahu. Below each description, I provide estimates for time and distance, a few tips, and trailhead directions. Each of these hikes were also previously mentioned in depth here and I have provided links to those posts as well. Before you venture out on any of these hikes, please review these tips on hiking safely in Hawaii. Have a suggestion for a great kid friendly hike? Leave it in the comments!
A combination kayak and hike to a waterfall would be the final adventure of our recent Kauai Waterfall Trip (see Wailua Falls, Hoopii Falls). We actually had this planned for earlier in the week, however, flash flood warnings kept kayakers out of the Wailua Stream. Hey, safety first! This was the only adventure during this trip that we hired a guide for, mainly because of unfamiliarity with the area. We decided on Wailua Kayak Tours.
While en route to the Maniniholo dry cave and the Waiakanaloa wet cave, on Kauai’s North Shore, we were treated to some very lush vistas. A recurrent theme that we noticed? Waterfalls. A lot of waterfalls. With so many waterfalls around, we found ourselves making frequent stops to gawk at them and soak in the views. One of the sweet spots was near Hanalei Elementary School. The students of this particular school are indeed very lucky. On any given day, they are able to step out of their classrooms and experience the majestic views of the three peaks that form Hanalei Valley: Hihimanu, Namalokama, and Mamalahoa. On the day that we were there, these mountains were free flowing with waterfalls. On your next visit to Kauai, look mauka (toward the mountain) from Hanalei Elementary, and you might see Waioli Falls, one of Kauai longest flowing waterfall. I didn’t have nearly as great a view from my elementary school in Kalihi.
This is Instagram Hawaii Spotting: Volume 5. I use Instagram a lot. A LOT. This makes sense since I’m pretty much glued to my iPhone and I love to snap photos. These are a few photos that I Instagrammed during a recent trip to Kauai. Enjoy!
The Nounou Trail, commonly referred to as the Sleeping Giant Trail, served as my introduction to hiking in Kauai. We reserved the second day of our Kauai trip for this particular hike, however, we didn’t know whether or not we would be able to do it because of the island-wide flash flood warnings that were issued the day before. Not letting the weather get in our way, we decided to check out the trail anyway after first getting our fill of pancakes at Eggbert’s. The risk paid off, and we were rewarded with stunning views of the coastline, Wailua River, and Mount Waialeale.