A family friendly hike in the Waianae Mountains with incredible views.
A few weeks ago, I saw another hiker’s photos from this hike and I had to investigate further. It turns out that a few months back, an Eagle Scout project restored this trail in the Wai’anae Mountains. I read that it is now family friendly, short (1 mile total), and only open on certain dates because it’s located on a military base. So when the Army posted that it would be open the following weekend, we jumped on it.
As mentioned above, Kolekole Trail is on Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa so those with a DOD ID and their guests have access. The link above has all of the pertinent information you need regarding this hike, but I suggest you enter the base through Foote Gate and you’ll find the trailhead at the end of Trimble Road.
However, we didn’t quite understand how far we were supposed to drive, so we parked here and walked. See how we’re in the middle of the road? Don’t do that. We realized quickly that we had parked in the wrong place, and we got to the side. And we stayed there because getting smashed by a car wasn’t on our hiking itinerary for the day. We did come across this cool structure. I swear it looks like a misplaced concession stand. Still walking. This road was longer than the trail. But you know what? It was more exercise for us! The kids didn’t find it as amusing as we did. Finally, we made it! And here is where you should park. Just in case we weren’t sure….they had a big sign.
The sign itself called it more of a “walking path”, so we weren’t sure what to expect. This gives a false impression that the trail was empty, but there were SO many families out. It made for a congested set of stairs, but it was so lovely to see all of the littles hiking. It may be family-friendly, but there’s always danger. Then we came across this gigantic rock. I’m really curious about where it came from.
I think it may be known as Kolekole Pass Rock. This is a trail that you really want to stay on because the area is used for live-firing exercises. (Obviously not on the days they open it, but you never know what you might find off-trail.) They have lots of signs to keep you going the right way.
I found this little overlook and it gave me a preview of what we’d see at the top. Beautiful! Then we came to the first of two scenic stops. This was one of those occasions where I got lots of “money” sibling shots. Then we kept walking, and we found the second scenic stop that signifies the end of the designated trail. I believe the peak you see on your left is called Pu’u Hapapa. You can access it from this trail, but we decided that was an adventure for a day without the kids. (Although Austin says he’s coming along. And we might just let him because if we’re being honest, his hiking skills are better than mine.) My geography skills are horrible, so I can’t even tell you what you’re looking at here. I’m assuming it’s Wai’anae. I do know for sure that it’s the Pacific Ocean way back there though. 😉 Again, I got a shot that makes it look like we were all out there alone. But yeah, no. However, this picnic bench was the perfect snack spot. Even if this hike wasn’t really even snack-worthy. We have our routines. Another money shot!
So while we were just hanging out for a minute, James went off to explore toward Pu’u Hapapa. We are working so hard on being more adventurous even when we don’t have a plan. In this case, it’s okay if the kids aren’t able to make it to the peak – we could go as far as they were able! This is definitely difficult for my perfectionist brain to comprehend, but I think it makes the trails more fun. James gave the all clear for us to join him, and so we did. The terrain was a little bit trickier than the main trail, but not bad.
And then we got to this awesome ridgeline. And then….well. This part was scary. Definitely not “family friendly”, but we took it slow and everyone made it across. A nice little view to our left. And then this is as far as we went. The kids weren’t having much fun because like always, we promised them a short hike and then changed it. Must. Stop. Doing. That. It makes it easier to get them there, but then it makes the actual hike more difficult. However, Mr. Adventurous here is always up for more. This guy…not so much. But he’s really doing great, and his hiking skills are improving all the time!
Audra is hot and cold. But at least, as this picture shows, she always loves me. So after reaching the little dry creek bed (if that’s what it was??), we headed back. It’s hard to know how far we could have gone safely, but it’s nice to have that excursion to look forward to another day. I think we traversed this hairy part a little faster the second time. Oooh and aaah. So this is the same scenic spot we came across before, but I actually got a family shot on the way back. And I want to give a huge thanks to the fellow hiker who snapped it for us, because my timer attempts were not going well. Every time I have the perfect version of our family in my mind, this is what I see. And now I have an image of it. Pure joy. (In reality, we’re usually in our house spending time on our various electronics. So let me just have this moment.) We headed back out of the trail easily, and started our way back down the road. We thought we’d run for about 30 seconds. Then…no.
In all, I think the hike was about 3.3 miles for us. A mile and a half of that was walking to and from the trailhead, a mile spent on the walking path, and then the rest was the little offshoot. I loved this hike so much that I immediately messaged good friends of ours and told them to get out there ASAP. So much beauty to be had for such little effort! The Army website says they’ll release the trail’s availability two weeks out each time. So keep an eye open because this is an adventure that shouldn’t be missed.