Ka’ena Point

I first did this hike in the winter when it was slippery and muddy. It’s not as beautiful in the summer, but it certainly is easier and drier.

There is no way to drive to Ka’ena Point. You can access the point from the North Shore side, or from the Waianae Side. To get there from the North Shore, take the H2 over the mountains and then follow the Farrington Highway to the end. To get there from the other side, just take the H1 until it becomes the 93 as it goes through Waianae, and follow it all the way to the end.

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From the North Shore side, you can follow a road or a path along the coast. The coastal path is more beautiful, but it zigzags up to meet the road several times, so you end up walking a lot more than the three miles it is point-to-point.

From the Waianae Side, you follow a path that is raised up on a cliff. I like this side better because it has the little blowhole and striking views. However, it’s a splash zone in the winter and the spring, and it’s definitely more dangerous.

Once you reach the point, you open a gate and go into the wildlife preserve. Please remember not to let any animals in here, including dogs and cats. The birds that nest at Ka’ena Point build their nests in the sand, so they could be threatened by any animal that gets in, including a mongoose (who would eat their eggs.) Also please remember not to feed anything or touch anything, because we need to respect nature if we want it to continue to exist.

Inside the preserve, there are several trails that you can follow. The state of Hawaii has provided lots of helpful signs to tell you about the plants and animals that live in the sanctuary, so stop and read about the many things you might see.

At the very tip of the sanctuary you can walk down a sandy hill and get to the point. It’s comprised of a combination of lava rock and coral chunks that have washed up, so the land is a striking contrast of black and white. Hawaiian monk seals love to come up on the rocks to rest and catch from sun. Please remember that they are an endangered species, and they are best viewed through binoculars or through the telephoto lens of your DSLR. Don’t get close to the seals, because you may startle them and force them back into the water before they have rested. This could lead to them getting eaten by a shark, and no one wants that!

This is one of my favorite places on Oahu because it’s typically very peaceful, and it offers so much beauty. However, even in the winter this hike can be hot and dry. You want to bring at least a gallon of water per person, and I’d recommend some snacks as well. Suncreen is a must, and long-sleeves and a hat would be smart. Also, it’s very windy at the point. Be prepared to hold on tight to everything that you have with you! I’ve absolutely had to chase my hat when it blew off, because the wind didn’t care about the strap that is supposed to keep it on my head.

Although the internet says that it’s three miles from either side to the point, I’d argue that the North Shore side is longer and offers a wider variety of terrain to navigate. Either way, it’s a six mile round trip at least. We started at 7am and finished at 11am last time, with lots of stops to admire wildlife and enjoy the views. You could probably do it in two hours if you were in a hurry, but you wouldn’t see nearly as much.

This is my favorite. Two albatrosses dance with each other to celebrate their chick (which is in the picture too, but well hidden.)

Remember: Last time I was there I saw tourists collecting rocks and shells. I know the urge to collect souvenirs can be strong, but if everyone did this then our island would be destroyed. Please take only photos and memories, and leave nothing behind.

 

Kokohead Hike

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Kokohead Trail is really just a lot of stairs. I did Likeke Falls in the morning and I still had some energy, so I went and did Kokohead before heading home. It’s sort of rough unless you have long legs (because some of the stairs are quite big,) but it’s only 2.9 kilometers to the top.

You park in a paved lot and walk along a paved trail to the base of the mountain. Then you see the stairs, bracketed by railroad tracks on either side. It looks like a long way to the top, but it’s not as bad as it looks.

the long view

Fair warning: There is absolutely no shade, nor is there any good spot to rest. I recommend a hat, sunscreen, and a lot of water. Some people do it in the dark so they can be at the top for sunrise, and I hear that is pretty neat.

Kokohead trail is really just a set of railroad tracks that used to run munitions up to the top of the mountain during WWII. For the most part, it’s a fairly safe trail, but there is a spot where the tracks go out over a ravine, and that can be frightening if heights bother you.

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People do bring their kids, but I don’t recommend it. First, the college students hike in very little clothes, so you’re going to have some awkward moments when your kids shouts out: “Why is that girl in her bra?” But second, the stairs really are tall and it’s easy for a child to slip on the loose sand and fall down the mountain. People do.

Anyway, the views from the top are amazing and it’s only about a two-hour hike, so it’s worth a look even if you’re only on Oahu for a vacation. Just remember water and snacks. It’s a hot, dry hike to the top.

the other side

Aiea Trail

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This isn’t a waterfall hike, but it’s a great way to spend a few hours. The trail is 4.8 miles. There’s plenty of parking and it’s not usually crowded. I’ve done it when it was wet and muddy, and I’ve done it when it was dry. There’s no time that it’s not a gorgeous hike though a unique assortment of plants.

Look out of wild pigs. Some of them are big and not very friendly. But, they will leave you alone if you leave them alone.

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Several parts of the trail feature beautiful eucalyptus trees. A eucalyptus is an awesome tree with bark that peels off throughout its lifetime.¬† If you look carefully, you can spot a rainbow eucalyptus mixed in here and there. They’re amazing.

If you didn’t happen to do the trail on a rainy day, then bring along extra water to splash on any rainbow eucalyptus that you find. I splashed water on the one below before taking it’s picture and it looks awesome!

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It’s up in the mountains, so it does rain a lot. That means you’re likely to run into rainbows and mushrooms. I like to go early to avoid crowds, and because morning light is amazing.

Remember to disturb the forest as little as possible. If you pick something up for a picture, put it back afterwards. There is a lot of graffiti and names carved into trees here in Oahu. Try to respect nature more than the people who do that.

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Along the trail there are several lookouts that feature sweeping views of the mountains, the H3 Highway, a very distant Pearl Harbor, and other neat stuff. The picture below was taken at a lookout that just faces another mountain, but it’s still a good place to stop and rest because sometimes there are rainbows.

Remember that you won’t be able to sit anywhere most of the time without getting your butt wet, so wear a poncho if you’re worried about it. Also, I keep a plastic bag and a pair of sandals in my car. This way I can put my hiking shoes into the bag and wear sandals home. this has been a good idea on all the trails because of the mud.

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It’s impossible to predict the weather, so you’re always taking a chance when you decide to do a trail. It might be too cloudy to get pictures like the one below.

Keep in mind that the pictures in this post are from two separate hikes. One was rainy and the other was sunny. If you are visiting us from somewhere else and have limited time, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to see rainbows AND sun. It’s usually one or the other.

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As with all hikes, please don’t feed the animals, pick the flowers, or go off the trail. Hawaii gets¬† a lot of visitors and the only way that we can keep the nature here beautiful is if everyone treats it with respect.

It’s a lot different than when I lived in Guam. I never saw another person on those trails and no one picked the flowers. But, this is a high-traffic area. Please pack in everything you need and pack out all your trash. Everyone who comes after you will appreciate it.

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The photo below is of a very tiny passion fruit flower. There’s an adorable pygmy variety of the plant that grows here, and you should keep an eye out for them. They’re not big and flashy like the larger version of the plant, but there are very cool in their own way.

The flower pictured here is a little smaller than a dime, and would be easy to miss. But, it’s one of the reasons that it’s a good ideas to take some time on a hike and not rush. You end up noticing all kinds of amazing stuff.

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One last thing to note: The trail ends in a different places than where is begins. If you park at the trail head; just be aware that you’ll have to hike back up to your car from the first camping area (which is where the trail lets out.)

Since the road is steep, I recommend parking by the first camping area instead and walking up to the trail head. This way, when you’re done with the hike, your car (and bathrooms) are right there waiting for you. Have a nice hike!

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Tarzan Falls Hike

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Off route 16, there is a trail head for Tarzan Falls. Once you park in the lot by the windmill, you start your hike.

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There are a lot of trails, but all of them go down to the falls.

love these crispy ferns

I recommend taking the trails to the left, because they are drier.

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If you go to the right, you’ll be on trails mostly used for ATVs and other vehicles. That makes deep ruts which fill with water.

me with the topmost level of the falls

Either way, you’ll get down to the top of the falls.

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The first set are very pretty, and also small. Usually there are a lot of people at the top, so you should be able to get someone to take your picture. This is our hiking group!

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When you follow the posted sign and climb down, you’ll see the largest of the falls.

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Make sure you have good hiking boots, because there is a lot of mud.

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Also, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen.

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There is a swimming hole, so bring a bathing suit if you want to swim.

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If you plan to go onto the rocks, use caution because they are very slippery.

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There is a rope swing on the left side of the pool for swinging into the water, but again, be cautious of the rocks.

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After you see the big falls, head downstream along the smaller trail.

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There are two more sets of waterfalls that you can get to.

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I recommend bringing snacks, so that you can eat when you get down to the end of the trail.

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There are lots of good spots to swim or wade. There aren’t many fish, but you may see tadpoles or fresh water shrimp.

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The hike is only 1.4 miles total, but bring lots of water. It’s a long and difficult hike back up.

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This is one of the easier hikes on Guam, so it’s excellent for beginners.

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Inarajan Falls

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The town of Inarajan is most famous for a set of pools fed by ocean water that are good for swimming, and also some nice views.

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Malojoj Falls is more of a hidden gem. You drive up to the middle school, and park outside the fence. There’s a road into the jungle, and you follow it out of the trees and into the open plains.

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The red dirt is pretty and the tall grass is full of ground orchids.

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You can even find passion flowers at the right time of year.

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If you follow the trail, it will take you over a stream and into a bamboo forest.

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Keep going down hill, and you’ll come to the falls. I recommend bringing gloves, because there are ropes you need to hold to get down the steep parts.

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The falls are bigger after the rainy season, but they are nice any time of year.

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There is a set of smaller waterfalls when you first come down the slope, and then if you go upstream, you’ll see a taller waterfall.

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There’s a nice little spot to sit and listen to the water, and there is even a hammock (above you can see my husband laying in it.)

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The owner of the land is fine with people visiting, as long as they clean up their trash. Make sure you pick up after yourself. If you sit and relax for awhile, you will see butterflies come up to drink from the lower falls, and to eat from the flowers that are planted all around. It’s a really nice place to spend an afternoon.

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Again, make sure to bring lots of sunscreen and water! Wear plants because some of the plants have thorns, and definitely A hat for crossing the sunny plains.

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Mount Hood

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The city of Portland, Oregon stands in the shadow of an imposing mountain. The name of that mountain is Mount Hood.

In the winter, Mount Hood is a lovely place for skiing and snowboarding. But in the summer, it’s a nice place to go for a hike.

Jenifer DeLemont, Hiking

There are trails all over the mountain.

And, if you go to the ski resort, you can take the chair lift up to the summit to enjoy the view from the top.

It’s a long and windy drive, but it’s well worth it for the views. I highly recommend it as a place to hike.

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Bagby Hot Springs

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These days it’s not so important to give directions when you talk about a place, because all of that is online now. I know that the US Forest Service gives better directions than me, so that is the best way to find Bagby Hot Springs.

Jenifer DeLemont, Bagby Hot Springs

So what does that leave me to do? Just provide insider information, I guess.

First, bring a blanket and a picnic because halfway up there is a waterfall and pond where you want to spend some time. It’s a really beautiful spot, and it would be a shame to just tromp over the bridge and keep going towards the springs without pause.

Second, bring a bathing suit for the springs. It’s not so much ponds that you can get it (which is what I pictured.) Instead it’s water from hot springs piped into wooden shacks with tubs inside. So, maybe bring wasp spray too if it’s a warm day.

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Most importantly: Write the directions down. There is no cell phone reception out in the forest, and my saved map on my phone from Google wouldn’t load. I was so thankful that I wrote the directions down so that we didn’t have to drive back into cell phone reception just to get them.

I had been in South Korea for a few years, and so I had forgotten that there were places that didn’t have cell reception. But Bagby Hot Springs is one, so take care.

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By the way, the swimming hole along the way was very cold (in May) but still wonderful. I think I liked it better than the Hot Spring water. It was very deep with smooth rocks at the bottom and some beautiful small waterfalls.