Sunday, July 12, 2009

Likeke Waterfall (Oahu)

Note: Viator's guided hike is really the best way to do this hike, since its a maze of confusing unmarked paths. Plus the Viator guide hikes provides transportation from Waikiki hotels and everything you need - just wear good shoes.

Hike Route - Trailhead at the south end of the the Ko‘olau Country Club’s upper parking lot (owned by the First Presbyterian Church) and a number of unmarked paths, mainly following the Likeke Trail.

The hike starts at base of the windward side of the 2,000-foot Ko`olau Ridge mountain range in the parking lot of the Ko‘olau Country Club. There is a small narrow dirt path which leads to the Old Pali Road which dates back to 1919! The road no longer carries any traffic and is quickly returning back to the jungle with lots of overgrowth covering the sides of the road.

There is a right turn after passing the sensitive plants growing out of the old road on to a dirt trail. Again, its so easy to get lost here, just take the small group tour and relax.

Soon you will reach the Hua Hala Ohia Pass marker -Hua Hala Ohia are just some of the local plants in the area along the trail. We also saw some wild orchaids in the area -- very cool.

The hiking route is mostly in the shade, but does have some open areas providing for some great photos ops along the way. Most of the time there are great views of Kaneohe, beaches and even chinamans hat in the distance.

Another couple of confusing turns and you are now on the old horse and buggy trail (yes really!). You can still see the stones used to make the trail surface, its almost easy to miss unless you are really looking or if the guide points it out. The trail was mostly dry on this day, but it had some really sloppy parts -- be sure to wear good shoes (and not white ones!).

At the end of the hike, you will reach the waterfall -- its nice, and refreshing. But really, the best part of this hike was getting to the waterfall. There were lots of plants and wildlife to see along the way, plus some world class views and photos shots.

Dont forget to hike a bit up the mount facing the waterfall -- here is the BEST view of the shore and the Pacific Ocean. The hike back to the parking lot is very short from the waterfall.

Great hike and a very nice diversion from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. There are no markers or trailsigns along the way, so either go with someone who has been -- or take the Viator tour (it provides transportation, water, bug spray, walking sticks and a very good guide to lead you along the way). This was one of the best things we did in Hawaii and totally different from the Diamond Head hike experience.

I think its best to do this in the morning, so you can return to Waikiki and enjoy a nice big lunch and then relax poolside all afternoon.

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Area - Koolau Golf Club (Kaneohe, Oahu, HI)
Trails - A couple different trails, all unmarked
Length - 2.0 miles loop - Easy Hike (but some steep parts and sloppy trail conditions)
Trail - Loop route over dirt, old roads and stone paths. Elevation gain was about 500 feet.
Bikes - None
View - Yes, a couple outstanding viewpoints -- but only if you know where to go!
Getting There - Take the H-1 Freeway west to Route 61 exit (Pali Highway). Proceed through the Pali Tunnels and turn left onto Kamehameha Highway. Proceed past Pali Municipal Golf Course and turn left onto Kionaole Road. The course is located 20 minutes from Waikiki -- or leave the driving to someone else and book this hike from Viator
Fee- No fee, but hike starts from the private golf course
Weather - Hike is mostly in the shade so it will be cool even on a hot day
Other Trails - Lots - no trail signs or markings. There is a related hike along the old Pali Road.