Maunawili Falls

Maunawili Waterfalls Directions -> Drive on the Pali Hwy towards Waimanalo -> Before you see Castle Hospital you will see Maunawili Road on the right -> this right after the Highway becomes a normal road rather than a cliff hanging mountain road -> Turn right on Maunawili Road -> Drive straight -> Drive by a school -> Drive by a neighborhood -> Drive through a forest but don’t run over a pedestrian -> Drive through another residential road with a big chalkboard sign on the left that says “Neighborhood Watch, no steal mangoes” or something to that effect -> Drive on the bridge -> Drive until you hit the end of the road. -> On the left you will see a gate -> walk there -> follow my instructions in my blog because Maunawili Falls Trail can be confusing.
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This is a good hike for families with kids 12 and older. I recommend 2 liters of water per person and snacks because it gets humid in the forest. If kids don’t like water then bring Gatorade. Do not drink the water from the river or waterfall. Its muddy so hiking boots are a necessity and you may want to bring mosquito spray. The hike is 2 miles roundtrip if you start at the trailhead. If you walk from the bus stop then add 4 more miles. This is a residential neighborhood. Please be quiet when entering the trail and don’t terrorize the neighbors.

 

The trail itself can be confusing. All sections of the trail lead to the same waterfall. It just branches out into different trails that all meet at the same destination. However, if you are not careful you will end up walking around in circles. In the beginning, the trail will break into two trails. There is the nasty, muddy, large trail on the left which is used by most hikers. There is another trail that crosses 3 creeks on the right and goes through the flower garden.

 

The nasty trail on the left goes along a large river and then climbs into a staircase  into a staircase with lots of rotting guava trees. There is no air on this section and its easy to get overheated on cloudy days. Which is why I don’t like it. (Besides the fact that its muddy and smells bizarre.) When you climb the staircase you will come out on a little hill. GO LEFT. If you go right you will walk around in circles.

Continue onward until you reach a bench next to another staircase. You can do a little skip for joy when you see this staircase on the left. Go down that staircase. Its steep so watch your step. Follow that creek on the bottom going right. At the end of the creek is a small trail and then Maunawili Waterfall. I have heard that there is a Geogache located somewhere near the creek too.

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If you like a little longer walk in a non-nasty area then take the trail to the right. You will cross 3 creek beds and pass through a ginger garden. Keep following the trail and it will start to climb uphill through a guava forest. Unlike the guava forest trail on the other side of the river, this trail has lots of air ventiliation which keeps it fresh and windy. When you walk out of the trail on top of a small hill you will see the trail splits into two. GO LEFT. If you go right you will end up in someone’s backyard. The neighbors don’t like that.

Go left and up through tall grass and orchids. You will come up on a ridge. You will see the first staircase on your left. DO NOT GO DOWN. That is the nasty muddy trail you saw in the beginning that went through the smelly guava tree mess.  If you go down that trail of nastieness you will end up walking in circles. Continue going straight.

You will come across a bench sitting in front of the second staircase. This is the trail to Maunawili Falls. Carefully hike down those steep steps. Follow the creek going right. You will soon see a small trail appear. Follow that trail to Maunawili Falls.

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The trail continues straight after the bench. This trail then becomes the Maunawili Connector Trail. It doesn’t lead to Maunawili Falls. That hike is for another blog adventure.

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I have a confession to make: I swinged on those vines.

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Lots of the trees were spray painted on the trail. This is ridiculous because the trail is very self evident. If you can’t tell where the trail is located in this picture then you should not be hiking in the forest. Just stop now and head back home.

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Very beautiful jungle.

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As I mentioned in my description above: I hiked on the trail going to the right. There are two trails which lead up to the hill that then goes back down to Maunawili Falls. All roads lead to Maunawili Falls in this instance. I took the smaller trail on the right, crossed three creeks and found myself in a beautiful flower garden.

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The trail through the wild flower garden veres up through a guava tree patch. Then I come to the second trail intersection. Walk left and go uphill. I did turn right to see what was down there and found myself in someone’s backyard. Their property was not my destination. So I walked uphill.

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I just wanted to post this picture to show that I am turning LEFT and so should all of you.

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It gets hot here. I hope you brought water. Keep going up.

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This is a trick! Do not go down the first staircase on your left. You will end up walking around in circles. Remember the trail of mud and nastieness that I mentioned in the beginning of my directions? This is it! That large trail on the left that you saw everyone walk on and then up through the smelly rotting guava trees will become a staircase and go up to this hill. This is the staircase of nastieness. It doesn’t lead to the falls. You will see other people walking up it looking quite grossed out. It smells…bad. Keep going straight up the hill.

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In five to ten minutes you will come across a bench to the right and a second staircase on your left. This is the staircase that leads to Maunawili Waterfall. Carefully go down this staircase. This trail is not recommended for folks with hip or knee problems because it will bust you up.

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Two hikers going down the muddy, steep staircase in slippers. BRAVE. VERY BRAVE. That is a good way to break your leg by the way.

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Once you get down the staircase you will see NO TRAIL. Look to your right and you will see a half dried creek bed. Walk up that creek bed for 5 minutes. Then the right side of the creek will become this trail. Keep walking. I hope you brought water. No airflow here and its humid and hot. Learn to enjoy the mosquitos.

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This is it. This is Maunawili Falls in all of her glory. You walked 2 miles through humidity, bugs, mud, rotting fruit and the occasional boar for this moment. I was actually disappointed and slightly irritated. It is a deep pool though. I went swimming but I don’t think it would be wise to dunk your head.

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Heading back out the dried creek. Its a tangle of giant Mule Fern trees grabbing at hikers passing on by.

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My readers from the mainland USA are probably thinking “Oh so pretty!” Wait until you see the flocks of mosquitos.

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Back up the staircase of pain. I can feel every muscle in my butt at this point. I didn’t know I had butt muscles until now.

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I love the hill that leads to the staircase trail though. The mountains and vegetation are so beautiful.

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I ignored the staircase on the right because I don’t like trails of nastieness. I continued on my way through the cane grass, down the hill, into the guava forest and looking to my right because the trail is easily missed.

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Back down the intersection I go!

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The flower forest was getting quite dark at this point. Forest trails in Hawaii will become dark at 3pm. Keep that in mind while hiking in the forest.

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Someone has a sense of humor.

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Crossing the 3 creeks

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Giant gingers

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Out of the trail I go! My adventure is done for the day.

 

 

 

Cobblestone Path at Lyon’s Arboretum

Lyon’s Arboretum->Drive all the way down Manoa Road -> yes you will reach the end of the neighborhood and start driving into a small forest -> keep driving -> Tell the parking guy you will park at Lyon’s Arboretum -> Drive pass the little restraunts to eat and the parking guy -> You will reach a gate to your right for Manoa Falls and a long driveway on your left for Lyon’s Arboretum -> Drive up the driveway and park in their lot -> Sign in at the visitor’s office which is at the end of the lot -> I suggest getting a map while you are in there -> The trail starts at the end of the parking lot where you see a gravel trail.

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You can see the raindrops inside the flowers. It almost looks like the flowers are singing and the raindrops are their tongues.

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Ualaka’a State Park

Ualaka’a State Park  Directions-> walk up Maunalaha -> you will come to a 4 way intersection -> Choose the one called Ualaka’a -> Walk through the forest -> Walk all the way up that big hill (its good for you, just do it!) -> You should come out around the bathrooms and parking lot -> Head on to the right where the bridge is located for the cool views.

Driving Ualaka’a Directions -> This is cheating -> You should really walk up that big hill and earn your way to the view -> from Ala Moana head west toward Queen St -> Take Piikoi St to South King St. -> Turn right on South King St. -> Drive to Round Top Dr -> Turn left on Keeaumoku St-> Turn right on Wilder Ave -> Take 1st left onto Makiki St. -> Turn left onto Round Top dr. -> Continue onto Puualii Pl -> slight left onto Roundtop Drive-> Keep on going until you hit Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park. Its big so you can’t miss it.

 

You can walk up Maunalaha Trail by the Nature Conservancy. When you reach the top you will see a 4 way intersection. Choose the one that has this sign above. When you come back down you can either go back down Maunalaha or you can go down Kanealole Trail on the other side. Both Maunalaha and Kanealole will take you back to the Nature Conservancy.

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Kanealole

Kanealole Trail Directions -> Follow Maunalaha Directions but turn left at intersection instead of right -> Don’t forget your trail map.

This is a wonderful hikes for families. It is a bit muddy and humid so be sure to bring your hiking boots and water.

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Lots of mountain apples in the mud

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If you go up Maunalaha you will come to a 4 trail intersection. The trail on the far left is Kanealole. If you follow this trail down you will reach the Nature Conservancy. This trail is roughly 1.5 miles and Maunalaha is 1 mile. They are both a very nice stroll through the woods.

Maunalaha Trail

Maunalaha Trail  Directions-> From Ala Moana -> head west toward Queen St. -> Take Piikoi St to South King St. -> Turn right on South King St. -> Turn left on Keeaumoku St. -> Turn right onto Wilder st. -> 1st left on Makiki St -> you are getting closer -> From the intersection of Nehoa and Makiki Streets turn onto Makiki Heights Drive THIS IS A SHARP TURN and easily missed-> Keep driving until you come into what appears to be a residential neighborhood -> But it will say “Makiki Forest Recreation Area” -> Park in designated parking spots -> Walk straight on road and look to the right where the Nature Conservancy is located -> If unsure follow the screaming kids -> The Maunalaha Trail starts at the bathrooms by the Nature Conservancy classrooms. -> Don’t trespass the kids will beat you up -> Take a map because there are several tiny off shoot trails and you will go bananas if you don’t take a map -> SERIOUSLY TAKE THE MAP-> Turn left in the beginning not right up the steep trail-> Keep walking -> Now you will come to the real intersection -> on the left is Kanealole Trail and on the right is Maunalaha Trail -> Go right -> be mindful of the kids -> Have fun its only 1 mile up.

Maunalaha is an easily accessible trail good for all ages. It is 2 miles roundtrip. Bring water, hiking boots and mosquito repellent. It is an uphill climb thus strollers are not an option.

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When you see these sandbags you are almost up on the top! When you reach the top the trail will have 4 intersections. The trail you came up is Maunalaha and on your right. The trail on your very left is Kanealole. If you follow that trail you will end up back at the Nature Conservancy where you initially began. You can also just go back down Maunalaha Trail too.

Pu’u Ma’Eli’Eli

 

Pu’u Ma’Eli’Eli is a beautiful hike for sunrises. It is 2 miles roundtrip and it is a bit of a hill. Children 10 and over can do this hike. Bring plenty of water if you plan on visiting during the afternoon. Leave nothing behind but footprints and a smile.

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Monk Seals at Kaena Point

Kaena Point Directions -> Drive to Haliewa but rather than turning right into Haleiwa town, stay left and head towards Mokuleia -> Drive past Mokuleia -> Drive past YMCA -> Park at the parking lot next to the dirt road -> Walk down that dirt road -> Carefully go through the gates closing both doors behind you -> Duck because the albatrosses will be flying overhead. Albatrosses are endangered species and ground nesters. Please do not walk into nesting areas marked off with rope or tape. You could accidently smash an egg or a baby bird by stepping on it. Keep on the hiking path.

Kaena Point is a good family hike. It is approximately 4 miles round trip. Bring water and sunscreen because it does get hot. Keep in mind that it is a nature preserve. Please be mindful not to step past the roped off areas. These blocked off areas are for our endangered birds’ nests. If you are lucky, you may even get a glimpse of a baby monk seal on the beach.

 

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The younger seal was playing roughly with the older seal and held its head under water. Then the older seal gave the younger seal a little flipper hug and pushed his head off.

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The older seal pushed off the younger seal.

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The younger seal was smiling the whole time. Naughty boy!

Lyon’s Arboretum in August

Lyon’s Arboretum Directions->Drive all the way down Manoa Road -> yes you will reach the end of the neighborhood and start driving into a small forest -> keep driving -> Tell the parking guy you will park at Lyon’s Arboretum -> Drive pass the little restraunts to eat and the parking guy -> You will reach a gate to your right for Manoa Falls and a long driveway on your left for Lyon’s Arboretum -> Drive up the driveway and park in their lot -> Sign in at the visitor’s office which is at the end of the lot -> I suggest getting a map while you are in there -> The trail starts at the end of the parking lot where you see a gravel trail.

Lyon’s Arboretum is a great family activity. You may get your trail maps at the office. You will see many rare plants from around the world and birds. Please keep in mind that picking flowers is not allowed. Enjoy the botanical gardens!

 

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My favorite place on Earth.

Nesting albatrosses at Kaena Point

Kaena Point Directions-> Drive to Haliewa but rather than turning right into Haleiwa town, stay left and head towards Mokuleia -> Drive past Mokuleia -> Drive past YMCA -> Park at the parking lot next to the dirt road -> Walk down that dirt road -> Carefully go through the gates closing both doors behind you -> Duck because the albatrosses will be flying overhead. Albatrosses are endangered species and ground nesters. Please do not walk into nesting areas marked off with rope or tape. You could accidently smash an egg or a baby bird by stepping on it. Keep on the hiking path.

Kaena Point is an easy 4 mile walk round trip. Remember to bring water and sunscreen. This is a nature preserve where you can observe rare birds and monk seals. Please don’t pet the seals or birds because they bite when provoked. Enjoy the baby birds and baby seals!

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Beautiful little crab in a tidepool

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Mama Albatross sitting on her egg.

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An albatross couple canoodling.

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A baby albatross who doesn’t like photographers.