Likeke Falls Hike

The hiking conditions on Oahu change considerably depending on how much rain we got the week before. Sometimes the ground is solid and it’s just a nice walk. However, if there has been rain, the mud gets deep and sticky. Don’t wear shoes you care about.

This hike was difficult for me at sunrise because there was no one else around and I went off on the wrong trail a few times. I think that if you go for your first time, you should go later in the day when you can follow the crowds.

The bamboo forests along the way are spectacular, and a lot of the trail is along a stream, which is wonderful. It’s a lot of climbing over rocks and winding through trees, but it’s also pretty flat and chill compared to other hikes I have done. There’s not too much up and down.

The hike is long enough that I would recommend you bring a snack and about a half gallon of water. There are mosquitoes (since it’s along the water) so you should probably bring some bug spray. Other than that, you shouldn’t need much.

I should mention that the parking (across the road from the Pali Lookout) is separated from the trail by a fence and some signs about keeping out unless you’re hunting. But, there’s a break in the fence to the right of the parking lot (facing the fence from the parking.) Just go through there.

It’s not like the Stairway to Heaven where you’re likely to face a fine if you get caught doing it. The only issue is if you go onto the military land, which you would have to get WAY off the path and sneak through a second fence to do.

Likeke Falls is pretty cool, and I definitely recommend it.

Paradise Cove

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Ko’Olina Resort is one of the more famous resorts on the Leeward side of the island (that’s the desert side.) It’s a big place that is reserved for hotel guests, but there is a small parking lot that is open to the public.

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Paradise Cove is very shallow, but there is break in the reef that you can swim through. DO NOT do this if the ocean is not calm. The break in the reef is small, and swimming in and out is hard.

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I like to snorkel first thing in the morning. There are two reasons for that:

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1. It’s not like when I lived in Guam. It’s very crowded here. It’s better to go early before the tourists and everyone else is up. The crowds scare away the turtles.

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2. The turtles swim into the cove to eat algae off the rocks in the morning. It’s nice to catch them during breakfast. Sometimes you can even see them crawl up onto the rocks to get at the algae.

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It’s really a very shallow spot so I recommend trying to go at a time when the tide is high in the morning. Snorkeling is all about watching all the factors like weather, tide, surf height, and jellyfish. Make sure to check everything before you go.

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Manuawili Falls

As you know, I’ve moved from Guam to Hawaii and I’m trying to learn about the island. The hiking here is so much nicer because it’s not tropical heat all the time. It’s cooler and there are breezes. So he’s some stuff about Manuawili Falls.

This is another hike that has a lot of mud if its been raining. It’s along a river, so there’s even more swampy areas than on the Likeke Falls trail. You definitely want bug spray.

Go early. Drive there when it is still dark, and do the hike right after sunrise. This is because there is no parking lot. You put the name of the waterfall into your GPS, and it takes you to a trail head in a neighborhood. The little bit of street parking that is available goes very quickly, so you want to be the first one there.

 

In addition, this trail is pretty clearly marked except for the first part. First you walk along a raod and come to a sign that tells you to go up into the trees on a small path. Do that. Then, you go up beside a road, and it seems like you should go down onto the road. But, you just keep going straight into the trees and over the hill. Then you’re on the trail. It’s easy to follow it from there.

You will notice little paths going off from the main trail. Those are formed when it’s VERY muddy and people walk along the side to avoid sinking in to the mud. They all join back up with the main trail, so no worries about getting lost.

Once you cross the river, it’s all stairs. It’s a good workout for your butt. Go up, and then down, and then up again, and then down again.

In the end, you’ll get to a river again, and have to cross one more time and then do some rock hopping. I recommend either bringing water shoes in your pack, or just wearing them the whole time. Because, for the last part, your feet are probably going to get wet.

When you finally get to the waterfall, there is a pool to swim in. If you want to swim in it, bring a towel and try not to get it in your eyes or swallow any. People have been known to get leptospirosis on this hike because rats, wild pigs, and other animals urinate upstream and the bacteria stays in the mud and water. So no barefoot hiking, and no swallowing the water.

It’s a pretty place. I just sat on a rock and watched the water for quite a while. Since I did the hike early, I was the only one there and I had the place to myself. I hear that later in the day it really fills up.

On the way back when the sun came out, I got to enjoy the views more. It’s almost as amazing as the view from the Pali lookout, and it looks over the same part of the island (towards Kailua and the Marine base.)

It’s a harder hike than Likeke Falls because it’s full of stairs. Bring a snack and a half gallon of water, and definitely be ready for mud.

Electric Beach on the Leeward Coast

The Leeward Coast of Oahu gets a bad reputation because it is the desert side of the island, and so it’s not as pretty on land as it is on the rainy side.

However, I think this reputation is undeserved. The water is always calmer there, and the visibility is always better because there is less sand and more rocks (so sand doesn’t get kicked up into the water.)

You can find Electric Beach by putting Kahe Point into your GPS. However, this will take you to a park which is the second left after Ko’Olina. You want the first left after the 93 passes Ko’Olina and joins the coast.

You will know you’re in the right place because you’ll see a power plant coming up on the right, and a small building (which is bathrooms and showers) on the left.

Once you park (get there early or it will be full) you walk down to the small patch of sand just past the bathrooms. Sometimes the waves can get kind of high, but it’s fine once you get past them.

Swim out and slightly to the right. You’re looking for the line of rocks that are piled along the bottom. You want to follow them.

At the end of the rocks are two HUGE pipes. Warm water from the power plant comes out of these pipes. Fish love this, and so do things that eat fish!

I’ve seen a sting ray and lots of turtles, but people have told me that they saw dolphins, and other larger sea life.

For those who are afraid: Remember that sharks are nocturnal so you’re not likely to see one during the day. I’m telling you this because when I took my friend, she heard “lots of fish and things that eat fish” and she immediately got worried about sharks.

Sharks are terrified of people and they don’t want to hurt you. They do bite surfers sometimes, but that’s only because a surfboard looks like a seal from underneath and they think they’re seeing food. They have historically always let go once they realized they didn’t have a seal.

So please, don’t be afraid of sharks.

This is the view looking back towards shore from the pipes. You probably won’t be the only snorkeler there since it’s a cool spot. It’s often kind of busy.

I recommend long fins, since the current can be bad sometimes. Because of the current, swim to the right (assuming you’re standing on shore facing out) if you want to look at some of the rocks and coral around the area. If you go with the current (left from shore facing out) then you’ll run into some pretty sharp rocks and it’s best to avoid those.

Anyway, always be careful and don’t swim out past the pipes because the currents are too strong. Check the weather to make sure there are no storms coming, because rip tides get stronger when a storm is coming, and it can get pretty dangerous on all the beaches when that happens.

Be safe and have fun!

 

Lanikai Beach

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I’ve been trying to get out and see as many beaches as possible since I moved from Guam to Hawaii. Oahu is a beautiful island, and it will take a long time for me to explore it all.

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One of the most famous beaches is in a town called Kailua; it’s called Lanikai Beach. Off the coast of the beach, there are two islands you can kayak to. They are a bird sanctuary, and tours are offered. However, it’s a little dangerous to swim to them (since it’s past the wave break.)

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I only went as far as where the waves break. It seemed wise since I’d been warned about currents and rip tides.

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So far, this is the beach with the most coral. It’s shallow for hundreds of feet out, and the corals are beautiful. (Though you can see evidence of bleaching- same as everywhere.)

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Unfortunately, Lanikai is very sandy. This means the water quality isn’t often as good as it would be in a rockier place. The day I went, the visibility was only about 15 feet, and I wasn’t thrilled with it.

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I saw three turtles. Two sped away pretty quickly. Maybe it was too early (it was shortly after sunrise.) But one let me swim with it and take some pictures, which was cool.

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There are showers nearby at the Kaulia Beach Park, but I went to Lanukai Beach specifically and there are no amenities there. I suppose you could drive over to Kaulia Park after you swim, since it is only about a half mile away.

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There is no parking lot, but your GPS will take you to a neighborhood that has street parking available. There are no lockers. If you don’t have a car key that is separate from the key fob, I suggest getting a keypad door lock for your car. Snorkeling in Hawaii is great, but it’s not a good place to hide your key somewhere on your car.

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Anyway, if you’re here on vacation, make sure to check out Surfline to make sure the waves are not too high, and to also check the jellyfish report. As always, be safe!

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