Lazy Saturday, means lazy hiking day. And in Hawaii, it doesn’t get any lazier than the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail. It’s paved all the way up to the lookout. However, there are a couple of exciting variations to Makapuu. The last time that Exploration: Hawaii was up there, we had the very unique and rare opportunity to visit the inside of the lighthouse, and then took a backside route to Pele’s Chair. It was spectacular, and we even unleashed the Animal Heads Super Team to the world.
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 short trip along the Koolau Summit Trail (KST) would be how Exploration: Hawaii would kick off the recent Memorial Day Weekend. The previous week, fellow hiker, Allison, suggested that we do a short non-grinder type hike. I like non-grinders. I mentioned Hahaione, a little known trail in Hawaii Kai that quickly leads to the eastern portion of the KST. Waianae Ahnate, as he has been nicknamed, thought that it would be a good idea to use this hike as a meet and greet for the group of people that would be joining the usual Exploration: Hawaii suspects on an upcoming backpacking trip to Haleakala. New hike and new hikers. I was in.
This is Instagram Hawaii Spotting: Volume 4. 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 the first month of 2013. Enjoy!
Follow me on Instagram. Hashtag your Hawaii adventures with #explorationhawaii hashtag and maybe we’ll add your photo in Volume 5!
A fan of the Exploration: Hawaii Facebook page recently asked for day hike suggestions for an upcoming trip to Oahu. I gave the question some thought and came up with what I think are five exemplary hikes. Each of the suggested trails offer very unique and differing views of the island. One could easily spend 8 hours or more on each of these hikes. Each hike also comes with its own set of dangers and can be very taxing for even the most veteran of hikers, especially those who are not familiar with Hawaii’s volcanic and often times crumbly terrain.
Lanipo has been a long time coming. This particular hike, also known as Mauumae Ridge, has been on my hiking radar for a few months now. It has a reputation for being one of the more difficult (state maintained) east-side trails.
It’s been years since I last did Maunawili Falls Trail. To be exact, it’s been 6 long years. This was one of those of hikes that I never forgot because I did it on a random summer day with a close group of college friends. One of them was even convinced to skip out on lab after being promised that he would be back in time for an important lab meeting. He was assured that the hike would last only 30 minutes. Of course, it didn’t last 30 minutes. And of course, he missed out on his lab meeting. Since then, two of us have completed PhD’s (myself and the friend that assured the other friend that the hike would last just 30 minutes), one of us is on the brink of completing a PhD (the one that got suckered into thinking it was a 30 minute hike), and one will soon be a licensed pharmacist. A lot happened over the last 6 years.
Update: Significant edits have been made to this post. Please watch the video above for reasons why you should not do this hike. Mahalo.
Note: Sacred Falls Park and Sacred Falls trail has been closed since May 1999. The State of Hawaii has no plans to re-open the park. It is illegal to hike this trail and to do so would be cause for citation or arrest. There is also a risk of falling boulders, landslides, and drowning. As our disclaimer partially reads: “I’m not your daddy, these are dangerous as sh*t hikes, even the simple ones, if you got [insert applicable disorder, disease, or physical impairment] don’t even think about it yo.” Also, consider these tips on Hiking Safely In Hawaii. Mahalo.
Before the tragedy of 1999, Sacred Falls was one of the top tourist attractions for those visiting the island of Oahu. This all changed on Mother’s Day 1999, when eight people were killed and 50 more were injured from a massive landslide. At its height, the popular trail and waterfall received up to 55,000 visitors annually. Since 1999, the park and the waterfall trail has been closed to visitors and hopeful waterfall seekers. In 2003, the State of Hawaii reached an $8.56 million settlement with those injured and the families of the victims.