Hiking in Hawaii with kids - Waimano Falls

This was a GREAT hike.  Muddy, yes, but the scenery was incredible.  And like I mentioned before, we have to learn to embrace the mud.  So we worked on that during this adventure, and I’m happy to say that we’re finally getting somewhere!

So originally, we were going to hike Manana Trail which leads to the Ko`olau Ridge Summit.  It’s a longer one (12 total miles) and we’re not sure it’s safe for the kids, so we were only planning to hike to a certain point and then turn around.  But along that trail is a offshoot path that leads to Waimano Falls.  And because it had recently rained, we were thinking the waterfall might look pretty great.  So we decided to choose when we got to the split.

This is a trail that’s in Pearl City (the center of the island) which meant less drive time for us – always a bonus.  You have to park in a residential area, and then you make your way to the trail head.  This is a public hunting area (note the dogs to the left in the picture below).  So it’s a good idea to stay on the marked trail.

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Right off the bat, we had an amazing view. That always sets the tone for these hikes.

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There were a few of these hills that you could climb up and see the valley below. We’re like view-junkies, so we had to climb each one and see what it looked like below.

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After trying to follow James up, the kids decided to go back down and follow my path – it was much easier. 😉

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This was one of those hikes where I got lots of sibling “money shots”.

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I just recently learned that the bare spot in this picture means there was a landslide. (I’m sure that was obvious to everyone else, but hey, I’m always learning something new!)  It could have happened a long time ago or just recently. I have no idea.

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Well before we reached the split, we asked the kids if they’d prefer a ridge trail or a waterfall one. They unanimously chose the waterfall, so we sprayed ourselves with bug spray to ready for the onslaught of mosquitoes. It’s a non-toxic one from Ava Anderson that we were given to review. (Spoiler alert – my bite-prone daughter didn’t get attacked by a single mosquito!) After we try the sunscreen, we’ll post our review of the products!

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James noticed a detour to the right, so we took it. And there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

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How cool is this swing? And again, another fantastic sibling shot!

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Oh, that view.

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So here is where the trail splits. When researching for this hike, we kept seeing a sign that explained the two different paths you could take (one to the summit and the other to the falls). So when we didn’t find the sign along the trail, we were a bit confused. James went up to investigate and just found grass. So we headed off to the right.  (And then we saw the pink ribbons that indicated we were going the right way.)

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Down, down, down we go.

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And then we found the mud.

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And lots of people. (This is a popular trail.)

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Some areas weren’t so bad. I’m guessing with a heavy rain, it’d all be super slippery though.

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Almost there! The dirt led to massive rocks.

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We made it! And we were all starving. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes, and because the trail was so packed, we didn’t stop for a snack.

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From where we sat, this was the view. During lunch, we had some free entertainment watching  carefree people jump into the water. A few of them climbed out into the middle while holding the rope. And then dropped. It was cool to watch, but that’s not my kind of fun!  You hear a lot about the threat of leptospirosis from swimming in these pools, so we decided not to do that.  I know, I know.  We’re party poopers.

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After lunch, we climbed back up out of the stream/pool area and made our way over to get a good look at the actual big waterfall.

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She’s a beauty, isn’t she?! This is the first time we’ve been up close to a flowing waterfall since moving to Hawai’i. Our trip to Manoa Falls wasn’t quite like this.

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And we were lucky enough to have someone take our picture. You have like NO space to maneuver in this viewing spot, so please be careful! We were squished together for safety more than the picture!

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After 45 minutes of hanging around, we made our way back up.

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This little area is affectionately known as Cardiac Hill.  It’s not easy, but it’s nothing like Koko Crater, so we handled it okay.

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So when we were down by the falls, we saw a local guy using this plant in his hair. He gave us the name (which I promptly forgot) and told us it was some famous plant that is used in expensive shampoos. And then as we were on our way up, we came across a family that had this bunch with them, so I asked for a picture. (Please note: we don’t advocate removing plants from the wild.) So I did some research, and this plant is called ‘Awapuhi or Shampoo Ginger. And yes, it’s used in products to soften the hair. Interesting.

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And after a hop, skip, and a jump, we were back on the main Manana Trail!

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So I took the picture of the kids, and then decided I wanted to get a family shot here. As I was setting up the mini tripod and camera for the second shot, I ran to get in place. And fell. And nope, it wasn’t captured on camera. I actually got myself upright and ready for the snap, but Audra was too busy being in shock so she wasn’t looking at the camera. So that’s a memory we’ll never forget!  I was just trying to make James feel better since he fell hard twice on the way down to the falls.

But we did end up getting this fantastic one.

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On our way out, we noticed this Manana Trail sign. I will never understand why tagging is necessary.

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And as we exited the gate, I climbed up a small hill and saw this gorgeous sight. Will I ever grow tired of this island’s beauty? Nope, probably not.

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It only took us an hour and fifteen minutes to make it back up which brought our total to 4:15 for the hike (including lounge time at the bottom). Our GPS phone app locked up at 5 miles, so we’re not sure what the total was. The various things we can find online say the hike is 3 miles round trip, but I can’t tell if that’s from the split or includes walking to and from your vehicle. Our GPS app isn’t always accurate on these hikes, so keep that in mind. Regardless of the distance, it’s a great time!  You can go ahead and add this to your must-do list, because it was one of our favorites.

And we will definitely make it back soon to hike the ridge trail.  I’m already excited about it!

Ka'ena Point Trail - Mokule'ia Side
Hau'ula Loop Trail