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Oahu Hikes: Laie Falls Trail and Kaiwa Ridge Trail

Oahu Hikes: Laie Falls Trail and Kaiwa Ridge Trail

On my first visit to the island of Oahu I had a rough plan of what experiences, hikes and sites I would like to take part in while vacationing. I knew that I wanted to make hiking a priority and I’m so glad that I did. Whether the hike ends at a waterfall (Laie Falls Trail) or with a spectacular view from a trek to somewhere high above (Kaiwa Ridge Trail), each hike will give you a whole new perspective and love for the islands.

When hiking in Hawaii and preparing for your trip, remember to make a list of the hikes that look most appealing to you. This is important because you will want to map out on which area of the island the hikes and other destinations you want to visit are located. Say one day you want to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center . You then look on the map of the island and see that it is located near a hike that you wanted to go on while visiting. You then could plan that hike in the same day that you visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. In this case there is hike near there. The hike is called the Laie Falls Trail . They are both located on the North shore of the island of Oahu. Now that you know they are close, you could potentially plan both of these desired destinations in the same day. Do keep in mind Laie Falls Trail is a moderate to difficult hike. If you don’t think you will have enough energy for the Polynesian Cultural Center and a hike back to back, you can make other arrangements to visit each separately, or with a break in between. Planning ahead can save you a trip and give you more time to see more places and get an adventure packed visit in!

Laie Falls Trail

The Laie Falls Trail is absolutely beautiful. The hike is about 7.9 miles and takes from 3-4 hours. Be aware that it is somewhat difficult. The trail can get very muddy so make sure to be prepared with shoes that are sturdy with good traction. There are many tree roots along the road so watch your step! As you make your way towards the falls the trail will lead you along stunning views of the tree tops and Hawaiian hillsides. Once you reach the falls enjoy the pretty scenery and take a swim in the cool waters. To hike the Laie Falls Trail make sure to obtain a permit from Hawaii Reserves (Inc. 55-510 Kamehameha Highway Laie, Hawaii 96762 Telephone: (808) 293-9201). It is easy and free.

The falls at the end of Laie Falls Trail are small but rewarding
The falls at the end of Laie Falls Trail are small but rewarding

Kaiwa Ridge Trail

While in Hawaii don’t be afraid to make friends with an inviting local! While talking to my friendly Uber driver he suggested a few hikes that were some of his favorites. After being dropped off at the car rental and getting situated with a temporary vehicle, I set off on my first adventure! The driver had told me about the Kaiwa Ridge Trail that happened to be near the
vacation rental I was staying at. I then drove to the trailhead, parked and began the hike. After climbing a somewhat short but steep incline the trail begins to lead you along a ridge. The ridge takes you up along until you come to one of the two old military pillboxes. You can sit on the top of the old cement blocks and soak in the spectacular views of the island coast below. The Kaiwa Ridge Trail hike was not only my first in Hawaii but one of my favorites.  It is quite popular, so it can be crowded and difficult to find a parking spot.

View from the top of the Kaiwa Ridge Trail, Oahu
View from the top of the Kaiwa Ridge Trail, Oahu

The Kaiwa Ridge Trail boasts great views of the Lanikai and Kailua beaches. It is considered moderate because of the incline. It is about 1.7 miles and takes about 1-2 hours. Although steep the incredible views make the short trek worth the climb. This hike is very open and you will get a lot of sun exposure. Make sure to bring lots of water and wear extra sunscreen. I always bring enough snacks, water, sunscreen and wear proper shoes and apparel for the hiking conditions and sometimes muddy trails.

From the fresh pineapple, to the sun on your skin, to the raindrops dripping through the tropical leafs, Hawaii is nothing short of magical. It is an experience of a lifetime. My vacation time spent in Hawaii never seems long enough. The chance to be an islander for a week or more is something I would not trade. Hiking while visiting has brought me close to nature. It has
given me the chance to forget my troubles and embrace the world’s magnificent landscape. Hiking in Hawaii is something I reflect on often and cannot wait until the days I return.

Remember to plan wisely, dress appropriately, wear sunscreen, bring lots of water and to soak in every minute of the beautiful surroundings while hiking in Hawaii!

More Oahu Hikes

Manoa Falls and Maunawili Falls – Two Great hikes in Honolulu Watershed Forest
Koko Head Trail Hike: a 1048-Step Challenge
Waimea Valley and Waimea Falls – One of the Best Easy Hikes in Oahu
Crouching Lion Hike: a Walk Through the Jungle
Lanikai Pillbox Hike

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