He's right, it seems like a lot of the trail write-ups on the listserv deal with Olomana's third peak, Puu Manamana, and Ohuluhule... not exactly kid stuff. It's good to hear about hikes that kids like. My experience (two kids, boy and girl, age 7 and 10) has been that they like trails that are not too hilly, have fruit to pick, water to play in, tunnels or caves, and not too many mosquitoes. These are generally the same things that adults like, but notice that views weren't mentioned; for some reason, kids just don't seem as impressed by views as adults are. Notice how Chris's kids wanted to play in the bunkers when they got up Pu'u Makakilo? Views- who cares?
Remember: forgetting the mosquito repellent will make even the best hike a loser for kids. Bring lots of juice and snacks.
Ten Good Hikes for Kids
The number one favorite for my kids has been Sacred Falls. Consider taking bikes through the dusty, hot beginning section. Remember to wear swimsuits! The awapuhi is a big hit in late summer. My daughter even wanted to have her next birthday party on this trail. If the kids can't swim, the water is shallow just downstream from the pool at the end. Don't take your new car or wear new clothes; it's always really muddy, which kids love. If it looks like it might rain, go to the beach instead! Don't risk a flash flood.
Near Wahiawa, Waikakalaua has a good swimming hole and very cool tunnels. Long pants over swimsuits for tall grass on the way to the swimming hole. Don't handle the big bamboo "stem" sections that litter the ground near the swimming hole; they are very poky! Bring flashlights for the tunnels.
Kaena Point has nice sandy coves that I couldn't get my kids to leave. Park at the end of the pavement and enjoy the windy walking. Sunscreen and sunglasses required.
Old Pali Road is very convenient, and has a little creek with tadpoles not far from the lookout. As I believe Stuart Ball once said, remember that what goes down the trail must also go back up. This especially applies for hiking with kids. Note: some cretin has spray-painted obscenities along the concrete wall a few hundred yards down the road, which provides the opportunity for an enlightening discussion with 5-6 year olds.
Diamond Head is a good introduction to urban hiking for kids; they will probably like it more than you. Guarantee: your child will drop his/her flashlight on the spiral staircase in the dark, or lose a shoe, or have his/her picture taken by Japanese tourists. I think my kids liked this hike because there were so many people, and there were lots of caterpillars.
Moanalua valley has lots of strawberry guava, is fairly flat, and has the Pohaku Luahine petroglyphs, which are exciting for kids and adults.
Aiea Loop is fun, but fairly long for small kids or kids that spend too much time in front of the TV. The plane wreck gets high kid marks, but don't build it up too much, or you'll get lots of "How much farther...?" and when you get there, "Where's the rest of the plane?" Hang on to small kids on some steep sections.
Waimalu Ditch trail to "Little Waimalu," the first stream crossing, is short and fun. There are some caves, and if there is water in Little Waimalu, some small fish. The rope section at the start gets high kid marks.
Kawai Iki is hard to get to, especially with the Pa'ala'a Uka Pupukea Road being all chewed up right now, but it's got some tunnels and swimming holes. Long pants over swimsuits. A few steep sections.
Waimano Valley hike is not too bad, but it's full of mosquitoes, and the upper section along the fence at Waimano home was very overgrown in May. Good tadpole action. Tunnels along the upper trail.
Anybody else out there have some good kid hikes to share?
When I was in the fifth grade, somebody took me and some classmates over to the Ulo Po Heiau by the YMCA in Kailua. We went into a tunnel that went under part of the Heiau and came out the other side. They had the way lit by candles - man that was spooky. I remember it still - and that was a long, long time ago. Seems like we entered on the Kailua town side (east) of the Heiau. I don't think many people knew about it - but I'm sure it's still there.
Hope this helps.
1) Pu'u Pia is the little hill in the middle of Manoa Valley. To get there: take University Ave off-ramp; take right on East Manoa Road; pass Safeway; East Manoa Road forks--keep right; turn left on Alani Drive; Alani will veer right sharply (the parking area is right before the sharp turn) If you hit Woodlawn Terrace, you've gone too far. The gravel road to the trailhead looks like someone's driveway, but take it. There is a chain stretched across the road further down. This is it!! As you go up the trail, you'll see a little covered bench area to the right (this is the start of the Kolowalu trail--maybe not good for keikis) keep on going straight--the trail is obvious to the top.
I think Pu'u Pia means "hill of arrowroot." I know in the old days, they used to have a pineapple farm on that hill too.
2) Likeke Falls. Go through Pali tunnels to windward side. Turn left on Kam Highway; as soon as you pass under H-3, turn left onto Kionaole street (it goes to Koolau Golf Course); The road dead ends at the Old Pali Road. Follow Old Pali road until it curves left. Look for the trail on the right (there is an opening through the old wire fence) Follow trail up a few switchbacks-- you are now on the Old Pali carriage road (before the old pali road was built! carriage road is circa 1845) Look for side trail on right-- this leads you to Likeke Falls. Likeke Falls came into being rather recently. When they were building the Pali Road, they broke into a dike--the water gushing forth forms this waterfall. You can see the water gushing out if you're willing to walk through the Pali Tunnel-- check out the area where the tunnel opens up-- look down-- it's there!)
3) Waihee Falls: For the life of me, I've forgotten which road it was to get there... I think it's Waihee Road... Ohe-ers do you know this one????
Sorry aboaut Waihee....
Thanks, Mae, for the route directions to the head of Pu'u Pia. Have never done that and look forward to giving it a try soon.
Mahalo, also, for the description of Likeke, which, for those who didn't know, is named for Richard ("Likeke") Davis, an HTMC oldtimer who scouted out and did most of the clearing of the trail. A couple years ago, while hiking Likeke, also accessible from the abandoned parking lot on the windward end of Wilson Tunnel, I ran into Davis. Easily into his 70s then, he was trimming the trail with his weed-eater a day prior to a Sierra Club hike on the route.
I spent an hour talking story with him and he told me some fascinating tales of negotiating dicey ridges and searching for lost hikers in the Koolaus.
I've heard his health hasn't been the best recently. I hope he gets better soon.
Check out Pu'u Pia to the top.. then backtrack to the saddle-- there's a trail (overgrown but you'll see it) go down -- it emerges by Princess Bath (some people call it Aku ponds, I don't know why) turn left on the trail-- there's some neat waterfalls up there w/rope. This is the area of "Greystone" rock; also there is a "hidden" waterfall along the trail that menehunes used to hang out at (according to Sites of Oahu). I haven't climbed the ropes-- don't know where it comes out. The trail originates at Waakaua street-- but Puu Pia is a secondary access.
I don't know if you've been there.. check it out if you're in the area.
--Opaeula is short and includes a walk along a stream and water flumes. The drive to the trailhead on the cane/military dirt road is an adventure in itself for adults and na keiki.
--Kaiwa Ridge out Lanikai way is another. Great views (for adult chaperones) and neat bunkers to explore at the top. Can even be done on full-moon nights, as Patrick can attest to.
--The walk to the Makapu'u lighthouse is easily manageable. And if the kids are up to it, there is a trail that leads down the rocky slope to tide pools and a blow hole (no, not "the" blowhole). The trail begins at the point on the road where those concrete pillar/guardrails start.