Hiking Hawaii: Kamiloiki valley to ridgeline to Pahua Heiau Loop: Hawaii Kai, Oahu, Hawaii.

DISCLAIMER!!! I assume no responsibility for any broken bones, skinned knees, blood loss, bee stings, sudden black-outs, dehydration, tears shed, or crybabies on the first leg of this hike. You’re on your own. With that said, “Break a leg” and have some fun hikers!!!

Distance: 4.52M. Elevation: 29ft.-1,265ft.-16ft. Time: 6.6 hours. Water consumption: 48oz. Caloric output: Allot! Difficulty: 3.8-4.4 Geo Cache: 4-5

Way points: Parking: 21°18'1.80"N 157°41'33.79"W Trail head 1: 21°18'2.22"N 157°41'34.28"W Trail head 2: 21°17'54.19"N 157°41'24.39"W A: Kaiwi Road: 21°18'5.49"N 157°41'34.53"W B: Urban dump: 21°18'31.15"N 157°41'34.36"W C: Water ruts: 21°18'46.13"N 157°41'35.38"W D: Jeep road: 21°18'48.91"N 157°41'31.31"W E: Pine trees: 21°18'59.45"N 157°41'32.96"W F: Big rock: 21°19'2.05"N 157°41'32.01"W G: Thick: 21°19'5.94"N 157°41'32.95"W H: Thicker: 21°19'11.79"N 157°41'34.88"W I: Slab: 21°19'13.41"N 157°41'36.32"W J: Ridge: 21°19'15.03"N 157°41'35.62"W K: Pine forest: 21°19'13.59"N 157°41'23.70"W L: Trail cut-off: 21°19'15.07"N 157°41'19.54"W M: Drink: 21°18'51.61"N 157°41'14.70"W N: View:  21°18'36.46"N 157°41'18.05"W O: Cut-off: 21°17'58.21"N 157°41'23.22"W P: Heiau: 21°17'54.70"N 157°41'23.51"W

For starters, PLAN AHEAD! This will take you a fair amount of the day and plenty of water and perhaps a few tacos in your pouch. (And some Band-Aids) There is a section of this trail that is not on any maps I could find, so we made our own through the valley. Depending on the conditions in the back of this section, you may find yourself beyond head high in saw grass, sharp ass thorns and hidden “Ankle Breaker” holes in the weeds. The rule here is, WATCH YOUR STEP! The rewards at the top are worth the battle, so power on hikers, power on…

Kamiloiki is a pretty groovy ridge hike in East Oahu. You can get to the trail from the Pahua Heiau, just off Makahuena Place in Hawaii Kai, and ascends to the Koolau summit overlooking Waimanalo at an elevation of about 1,400 feet. Not on this day. If you are out of your mind like my friend and I, you can ascend to the ridge from the valley. Apparently there used to be a few old Jeep roads and trails that would lead to the back of this valley, ultimately ending at the saddle of the ridge. In the 1960’s, there was some quarry work going on back in this valley and some of the old roads can be made out in Google Earth. That means absolutely nothing while buried in 18 foot tall grass. Ever tried to navigate a corn field? Then you get what I’m saying. The entire route was grown over and all maps had little relevance to what I mapped on my GPS units. So, what I did was hack through the bushes and drop bread crumbs all along the way for you to fallow. Although there was evidence of a trail, from time to time those little pink hike markers quickly disappeared and we found ourselves bush-whacking our way to the top. If you find yourself discouraged, take a breath and look for the ridge in the distance. Just head there. I assure you, it is possible, so be cool and stay frosty. “DID HE SAY BEE”????? “RUN”!!!

You can park your car somewhere near the corner of Kamilo St. and Niumalu Loop. At the end of this street, you will see a dead end and a dirt road that runs perpendicular to the street. Pass through the bushes and head left. In about 40 yards, you will see a dirt road that heads towards the valley on your right. GO!!!!!!

This is an old service road that heads for quite a distance into the valley. You may see some urban remnants and some additional trails on the left and right, but just stay on the main road until it peaters out. When this is the case, just keep a sharp eye out for those pink and orange trail markers. They will lead you into the fire for sure, but have faith my fellow hikers. “BE THE TRAIL GRASS HOPPER”!

Along the way and after a few scrapes, you will find your way across many water ravines and old grown over roads. In such cases, it is easy to have the desire to follow those roads into hell, but DO NOT stray from the markers yet. Even if they lead you into a wall of grasses, you must stay the course at all costs. Some of these other routes may lead you back the wrong direction and that would be a waste of time for sure. Our goal is up, up, up!!!

A grove of pine trees will quell your anxiety. Take a break and lie down in the pine needles for a spell. There are a few comfortable rocks to enjoy a taco if you wish! Don’t eat too many though, or stay too long. There is a mountain to conquer soon and you will need the day light. OK, all rested? Kick’n, let’s get going…

At some point, those little pink fairies will dissolve. Yes, those beacons in the dark finally decided you were a nut ball and split. You are all alone from here my friend. This is the part I spoke of earlier. Try hard to keep the course. Up, up ,up…

Soon enough, you will be able to make out the trail along the saddle ridge before you. The last few steep spots will tax you, but never fear for the view just over there is worth it. Something to remember as well, by now you are as hot a flap-jack on a griddle. If you make it to the ridge, it has breezes that would cool even the hottest Supermodel down to her bones! (Oh boy) ”Got water”?!?!   

 YOU MADE IT!!!! Now look left and right! Look ahead! This is some awesome stuff guys’! The ridge trail on the right follows an open ridge with little shade, although it enters an ironwood forest just before the final climb to the summit. The cliffs below will steepen a tremendous amount below you as you climb the exposed rocks. Never fear though, the trail has been well traveled and feels safe. The 5-mile round trip is okay for older children, providing they are under complete control at the summit at all times. At the end of the trail, a cliff appears suddenly, and drops precipitously more than 1,000 feet. This is no place for kids to be running around, and the acrophobic will want to hang back in the wooded area behind the drop-off.

NOW YOU CAN EAT THOSE TACOS!!!! Take a seat in the woods and enjoy. The winds are amazing as they excite the pine trees. The needles on the ground make for comfortable napping as well! “Snooooooor”… You may need the rest, for the never ending trek down the Kamiloiki ridge is before you now.

Head on down the trail until you come to a split to your right. This is the trail down to the ridge. At first, you will find yourself in a forest with several switchback trails. Just keep on going. Eventually, you will begin to see the task before you. A long, hot, sweaty, rocky and dry ridge. To your left, you will be passing above the neighborhood above Lunalilo Home Road. To your right, you will see a beautiful valley that I hope to explore in the near future. Depending on the time of the year, Carrion Cactus will be blooming in many places along this part of the ridge. If you are curious about the name, kneel down close to the flower and sniff.

The long road home may seem endless at times, but I assure you, it will end. There is a cut-off to the right you are looking for. This is a steep trail that will lead you down into the Heiau and to Makahuena Street. Watch your step and be mindful of the loose rocks and slippy dirt sections. Please do not walk in or on the heiau to reach the street, and respect neighborhood residents by proceeding quietly. There are some placards with some history lessons if you wish, but by this time I am sure an air conditioned bar and a beer is more likely on the top of your agenda.

Speaking of a beer. I’m done here!!!!!

Happy trails yall!!!!


Mariner’s Ridge Hike/Kaluanui Ridge Trail: Hawaii Kai, Oahu, Hawaii.

Big Update: So it would seem that Kamehameha Schools (via Kekoa Paulsen Director Community Relations & Communications Group) has closed this trail to the public. Word on the street is that they simply got tired of the neighbors complaining about the traffic on the street each weekend. In my opinion, I believe there is a better way to handle such things than simply closing the trail. That is like brain surgery with a machete rather than a scalpel. None the less, they did it and put up a big ugly fence to drive the point home. Keys were given to several hiking groups though. (Hmmm, REALLY?)

Not only have they done this, They have also informed bloggers such as myself to cease and desist any mention of this hike and or any others that may be on there property. (OR PASS OVER for that matter) REALLY? I hope they realize the thousands of books, blogs, papers, videos maps and published media they will need to reach with this madness. Impossible.

They claim that they are trying to protect the aina, but isn't that always the story? Also the danger involved. I'm sorry, but that simply never works in the hiking community either.  Besides, the trails that get the most injuries are not on this side of the island. Oh well... Now, after hearing this, the for mentioned individual made a comment that Kamehameha Schools is simply trying to inform the public of the fact that they own the land the trails are on. REALLY? OK, you own it! Thanks for letting us know and see ya on the trails!!!

I did my part. Thanks!

Well, hello again Hikers! Want to get a good workout with a treat? Well then, this hike is a hoot and sure to please. The treat you seek is a fabulous view. You may even burn a few calories and work up an appetite for a taco later!!!! (I HIKE FOR TACOS!)Distance: 2.57Mi. Elevation: 760ft.-1,599ft.-760ft. Time: 2.5 hours. Water consumption: 32oz. Caloric output: 800-1,100 calories depending on pace. Difficulty: 1.8-3.0 Geo Cache: 4-5 Way points: Parking: 21°18'13.20"N 157°42'8.60"W Trail head: 21°18'17.76"N 157°42'4.80"W A: first breather. 21°18'21.84"N 157°42'10.94"W B: Wonderful view. 21°18'38.72"N 157°42'15.87"W C: Wonderful view 2. 21°18'49.54"N 157°42'23.45"W D: View to Waimanalo. 21°18'59.80"N 157°42'23.48"W E: View the other way. 21°19'0.76"N 157°42'20.94"W

Two mountain ranges exist on Oahu. One is the Waianae Range and the other is the Ko'olau Range. A plethora of trails, mostly accessible from the leeward (west-facing) side of the island, extend to the summit of the Ko'olaus.

Mariner’s Ridge hike or Kaluanui Ridge Trail could be the easiest and shortest ridge hike to the Ko’olau summit. Conveniently located near the island's southeastern tip in the Mariner’s ridge community, this is a kid and pet friendly hike. Follow Kaluanui road in Hawaii Kai all the way up and park before the dead end. There is a shingled house on the right, that a lot of folks call the “gingerbread house.” I never see anyone there though. Perhaps they would sell it to me and I could manage the trail! We could never figure out why there is a “No Trespassing” sign at the entrance to the trail. This WAS a public hike and not limited to Mariner Ridge residents only. Or am I mistaken? Who cares, arrest us!!! (OR NOT!)

Ready? Let’s go! The trail is dusty and rocky in the initial section as it switchbacks to gain elevation and leaves the residential area behind. If you are a runner, this is a great section to get the blood flowing and the heart a pump’n.  As you start your way up the rocky and dirt trail, you can see Koko Crater looming in your rear view. The higher you go, the more it becomes visible. Don’t worry about shooting a picture yet. It gets better. When you reach the top of the dry dirty section look to the left and you can see Hahaione Valley, Kuapa Pond and Koko Head. Now you can catch your breath and shoot that picture!  After ten to fifteen minutes of hiking, you will notice that the trail has become cooler and more forested, with pines and ironwoods being the predominant species along the way.

Due to the short distance (1.5 miles to the top) and good condition of the route, the trail is well-hiked, so if you seek a solitary, secluded hiking experience this is not the trail for you. Check out a few of my other hike blogs and find one that suits this better. Since this area is one of the drier ones on the island, this trail can be a good choice when rain is falling on other parts of the island. As is the case with all Oahu trails, slippery conditions will exist when rains hit, so practice good hiking safety. I have done this one in a torrential down pour though. It was actually not too bad. A bit slippy in places, but all in all it made it a cool and breezy hike.

The rewards (treats) at the summit are excellent views of the windward side of Oahu. Directly below is the community of Waimanalo and its farms and rural residences. You can also see all the way to Kailua and the Marine Corps Base Hawaii on a clear day.

While it is possible to hike along the summit to the left and right of the trail terminus, I do not advise this unless you are hiking with someone who has experience along these routes. A big part of hiking safety is knowing where you are going and what you might be getting yourself into. I have done these trails before and do recommend them, but again, be careful. I will write about these treks soon and will put a higher difficulty rating for these sections. Stay tuned!

Spend all the time you want at the summit. Bring a cool drink and a picnic lunch or snack and enjoy your time there. On a few occasions, I have stumbled upon some pretty elaborate picnics in progress up here. Wine cheese and all the fix’ns! Funny, never had a taco on top though. Hmmmm, I have an idea! “Mariner’s Tacos”!!!!

OK, head back the way you came. Easy as it gets! Man, I’m hungry…

Happy trails ya’ll!!!!


Maunawili/Waimanalo Trail Hike: "BEAUTIFUL" Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii

OK. Drop what you’re doing, put on your hiking shoes and let’s go! This is a “MUST DO” trail. Whether you are just visiting Oahu, or you live here, you are sure to have a fun day on this trail!

Distance: 4.66Mi. Add .66Mi. if you take the falls trail cut off. Elevation: 590ft.-1,026ft.-145ft. Time: 4h. 46m. Add 1 hour if you take the falls trail cut off. Water consumption: 70oz. Caloric output: 1,900-2,300 calories depending on pace. Difficulty: 2.8-3.4 Geo Cache: 9-10

Way points: Parking: 21°21'54.40"N 157°46'46.19"W Trail head: 21°21'52.66"N 157°46'49.07"W A: Fork. Stay left. 21°21'50.46"N 157°46'52.46"W B: View 1. 21°21'46.67"N 157°46'47.27"W C: View. 21°21'33.46"N 157°46'37.44"W D: Side trail to another view. 21°21'33.12"N 157°46'36.27"W E: View. 21°21'29.55"N 157°46'43.37"W F: Stream bed. 21°21'23.54"N 157°46'48.58"W G: Beautiful spot. 21°21'15.77"N 157°46'49.21"W H: Whispering pines. 21°21'14.16"N 157°46'49.92"W I: View. 21°21'8.92"N 157°46'49.72"W J: View. 21°21'7.34"N 157°46'53.99"W K: Intersection with Maunawili trail. Head down. 21°20'57.49"N 157°46'56.24"W L: View. Look back at mountains. 21°20'57.77"N 157°46'53.46"W M: More pines. 21°20'56.40"N 157°46'32.69"W Trail sign: 21°21'1.69"N 157°46'24.42"W N: Bench. Trail intersection to falls. 21°21'1.86"N 157°46'23.37"W O: Split in trail. 21°21'5.54"N 157°46'15.50"W P: Cool trees and another way out. 21°21'14.10"N 157°46'12.12"W Q: More stairs. 21°21'6.94"N 157°46'10.10"W R: Funky trees. 21°21'15.63"N 157°46'4.22"W Gallows trees: 21°21'14.22"N 157°46'3.00"W S: Cool trees. 21°21'20.31"N 157°45'57.89"W T: River beds. 21°21'22.86"N 157°45'53.40"W U: Rail road ties. 21°21'24.68"N 157°45'52.06"W V: Side road. 21°21'31.20"N 157°45'48.29"W W: Last turn out. 21°21'31.93"N 157°45'45.41"W Trail head and signs. 21°21'32.76"N 157°45'45.02"W Parking: 21°21'32.91"N 157°45'51.55"W Swimming at the falls: 21°20'49.95"N 157°46'19.55"W

The Waimanalo/Maunawili demonstration trail is a delight for the hiker as well as the mountain biker. I highly recommend it to anyone who asks me about it. Whether you are a beginner or even expert, this trail will delight. I have taken this trail on both foot and bike. You mountain bikers will have a blast as there are all levels of terrain to navigate. Don’t feel bad about the occasional dismount to carry your bike over some hairy rocks. I often do. Unless you are a wicked trials rider, please take it easy if this is your first time on this trail. There can be some scary drops on portions of the trail. In some spots, an overshot turn can send you down, down, down into no man’s land. Get to know the trail before you go out breaking speed records. Also, please, please, please try not to cut ruts. There is no reason to go blazing with locked wheels into corners. If you want that style of riding, there are plenty of trails that are more suited for speed, such as the Kalaheo Ridge Line Trail I wrote about in a previous blog. On the Maunawili Trail, keep your wheels cool. The terrain is shaped beautifully and we should keep it this way for others to enjoy. One more thing: Please go easy on the roots. If hiking, just step over. If biking, please no chain ring cuts. Some of these trees are rare and very old. They deserve to be treated nice, for they are spectacular! This trail has remained a favorite for many and it must be on your short list of “TO-DO’s”!!!

The hike begins:

Now, I could write a novel about all of the scenic stops along the way, but I’m afraid I would lose your attention if I already haven’t. (“Stop at the green rock on you left and look to the south through the fourth guava tree on your right… BLA-Bla-Bla”…) Instead, I’m just including the beginning middle and end parts. You will have to write your own novel on this one.

For starters, there are several ways to approach this one. The route I chose on the map above, is by far the most scenic. It will require leaving a car at one end, but if you have the time to back-track the way you came in, one car will suffice. I suppose you could call a taxi, as I have before, but it will set you back about $20.00. You can find where I parked and began my hike by coming down the Pali highway from Honolulu toward Kailua. As you pass through the tunnels, you will approach a hair-pin turn to the left. Slow down and merge into the parking lot on your right. This is a scenic area with a great view of Olomana Mountain and Kailua. Enjoy it as you get ready to head off road.

You will see a guard rail. Follow it back up the road to a clearing in the trees. Here you will see a sign with an arrow and a small bridge over a stream. You’re here! Follow the trail up. It is wide, well maintained and marked. In a few paces, you will come to another sign and a fork in the trail. Follow the arrow to the left. Just remember, “Maunawili Demonstration trail” and/or “Waimanalo Trail” are what you are heading for. The rest is easy. Eventually you will get to a really cool water tank. “DON’T DRINK IT”!!! Take a picture instead! From here, the trail just gets better!

There is every imaginable tree, flower and grass along this trail. From guava to orchids. From mango to kiawe. It’s all here. I have also spotted many pigs along the way. They can be aggressive, so make some noise and let them pass. Especially if they have keke with them. “Mama don’t like surprises with kids in tow”. The birds are a plenty as well. I have seen perhaps 10 species out here, but I’m sure there are more. Mongoose too!!!! “So Cute”!!!!

Somewhere in the middle, about 2 miles, you will hit an intersection with the Maunawili trail. This is a great spot to rest and take in the view. Strait out in front of you will be Olomana. You can actually see all the way down the Ko’olau mountain range to Makapuu point. A stellar perspective many never see. This point is where we head down into Maunawili.

This clearly marked trail can be a bit slippy in sections. There are some stairs cut into the trail that help, but if there is much dry grass and pine needles about, you can slip. It is a neat section, for you are walking along the ridge of one of the fingers that start up on the cliffs. You can see both sides of the valley as well as the cliffs behind you. Stunning it can be, as it offers you a real sense of scale to the valley.

Eventually you will come to a bench and another intersection. This is the spot where you can either head down to the falls, or head for the exit. If you choose to go to the falls, just head down the trail with stairs. It is pretty obvious how to get to the falls from here. Just head on down to the stream, cross over and up the valley. There is a trail up on the right that takes you along the stream bed. If it has been raining, it can be tricky. You will hear the falls soon and know you are on the right track.

Yea! You made it! The water is cold! It is fresh rain water, so go figure. This is one of the most popular swimming holes around these parts. If you swim across there are plenty of rocks to jump from. It can be shallow, so do some exploring before jumping. Hate to see any boo-boos! I usually stick around for a while and talk to the hikers that come and go. Great place for a sandwich as well! Did I mention the water was “COLD”!!!! “BRRRRRRRRRRR”!

Ok, time to head out. Back track up the trail to the bench you came to earlier. Catch your breath and continue on the main trail down. There are plenty of side trails into the neighborhoods to your left, but I recommend just staying on the main trail. It is clearly marked. There are plenty of stairs cut into the trail to aid you in your trek.  You will cross the stream several times. The areas closer to the stream and in low areas, can be “ULTRA” muddy! My advice is this: Don’t try to walk on the root tops. They are slick and can easily take out an ankle. As with many muddy hikes, your feet are going to get wet and muddy anyway. Try to step in the holes between the roots, grin and bear it! You will thank me. Besides, mud is a blast!!!!! Be a kid and play!!!!

Soon, you will see signs of civilization again. At one point you will see a road through the trees. This is actually a driveway, believe it or not, so stay on the trail and don’t trespass. You will know you are at the end of the line when you run into a set of clearly marked signs. Step out on to the road and head on up to the main road. If you had parked here, you’re on your way to a taco and a margarita! If not, I guess you could go back the way you came, or call a Taxi!

What a great day… Do try this one out.

Happy trails ya’ll!!!