If your New Year’s resolution was to burn those buns, this is the date for you. It starts behind the Goeas Baseball Field at Koko Head Park in Hawaii Kai (on the way to Hanauma Bay). The locals hike up over the newly landscaped hill surrounding the baseball field to the bottom of the old rail track–part of an abaondoned incline tram used by the military during World War II–then start the more than 1000–step trek to the top of 1208 foot Koko Crater for a great workout, panoramic view of East Honolulu, and bonding experience that involves a lot of sweating and panting
Do’s and Don’ts: For a better view on the way up, let her go first.
In East Honolulu, the Kuliouou Ridge Hike is a local favorite. In minutes you step from the residential streets of Aina Haina onto tree covered paths that zig zag to the top of the Koolaus. On the way up, you cover varied terrain, from pine forests to multi-colored hills. The top is considered pristine forest, and the vegetation changes to tropical flora and Ohia trees. The ridge line offers spectacular views around the southeast end of Oahu, from Kaneohe all the way to Waikiki.
This hike takes all of three hours at a leisurely pace—and is guaranteed to take away your worries (especially if you’re wearing a Trouble Hook…see Chinatown blog entry).
What to Expect:
A picnic table and shelter erected by the Boy Scouts and nearby area used for camping awaits along the ridgeline during the climb to the summit.
The official 3.4-mi/1700-ft trail ends at the first junction with the Koolau crest. The formidable peak to the left, which stands tall at the head of Kuliouou Valley, is called Puu o Kona (elev. 2,200-ft).
Kalaau Pl (end) to intersection: 0.2-mi / +50 ft
Switchbacks – int. to ridgeline: 0.7-mi / +740 ft
Ridgeline to Koolau crest: 0.8-mi / +910 ft
Crest junction to Puu o Kona: 0.4-mi / +170 ft
Both Kuliouou trails begin on the right-hand, mauka (uphill) side about 25 yards beyond the chained entrance to the Board of Water Supply access road at the end of Kalaau Pl. Several signs mark the beginning of the foot-trail, including one that reads: “Kuliouou Public Hunting Area”.
Accessing the Trail:
Both trails are part of the Na Ala Hele inventory meaning they are open to the public and well-maintained. There is no designated parking except what hikers can find within the residential area on Kalaau Pl. Do not park along the cul-de-sac: it is designated “no parking”.
From either direction along Kalanianaole Hwy (Rte 72), turn at the traffic light onto Kuliouou Road and drive 0.3-mile to the end (stop sign). Do not continue straight for that housing complex is the Haleloa residential area (there are no trailheads there). Instead, follow Elelupe Road a block to the left, then make an immediate right back onto Kuliouou Road (yes, for some reason it is disjointed). Proceed 0.7-mile and turn right onto Kalaau Pl. Total distance between highway and trailhead: 1.3-miles.
Do’s and Don’ts on this date: Hike this ridge on a hot day, as foliage and elevation make it a cooler trek than some others.
Looking for a quick stroll in the forest or for a refreshing swim? This is the ticket. Right off the Pali Highway, just outside of Downtown Honolulu, the Judd Trail is an easy hike that runs along Nu’uanu Stream to Jackass Ginger Pond and then continues in a 1 mile loop, with minimal elevation gain. Jackass Ginger Pond is a great swimming hole with a 10 foot waterfall into the pond and a rope swing to jump from into the water, which is up to 8 feet deep in some places. Be warned that this pond is surrounded by boulders, which means there might be boulders in the water. Remember, “sticks and stone can break my bones,” so jumping is at your own risk.
Those looking for more of a workout can take an alternative path to a higher elevation, Pauoa Flats, and finally Nu’uanu Valley Overlook (1600 feet) which has views of the Pali, higher peaks in the Ko’olau Range, the Wai’anae Range, Nu’uanu Valley, and Punchbowl.
Do’s and don’ts: Do consider mosquito repellent or walk fast. Don’t try anything fancy off the rope.