In an effort to combine play and passion, I have taken the kids on the bunny hikes at Koko crater (the gardens of course, not the rim), Kuliouou valley, Ho'omaluhia, parts of Aiea and Waahila, Makapu'u lighthouse, etc. Our most recent trek was to the summit of Pu'u Makakilo, which my topo map lists as 972' elevation. Pu'u Makakilo is the round hill to the right of Makakilo on the right hand side of the H-1 as you head in the Waianae direction. It is the hill that overlooks the never conpleted golf course, and the huge but empty clubhouse that sits on its slopes.
My son Sean, who is 7 years old and his cousin Buddy, who is 5 years old, set out for Pu'u Makakilo by being dropped off at the end of Makakilo Drive which heads up Makakilo and curves back down makai and ends at a new subdivision with empty lots. We found a dirt path about 50 yards from the road and began our adventure. The boys were filled with excitement, and with my teasing, were a little apprehensive about whether they would run into wild animals (I had to add in an element of danger).
The hike is perfect for their ages. The trail is well marked and easy. If you pass a sign that says no trespassing, then you know you are on the right trail. By the look of mountain bike trails left in the dirt, I knew that I wasn't the first. After passing the sign and rounding the back part of the mountain, the trail starts to gain in elevation and we were treated to views of Pearl Harbor and the city of Honolulu below. The slope increased, and the trail had some loose rocks that affected the footing for the kids, but it was absolutely no problem at all. We were atop the summit in about 35 easy minutes and continued on the trail to explore where it led. Near the summit on the slope of the hill facing makai, we came upon a conrete bunker, much like the type that is located on the slopes of Diamond Head. Needless to say, the boys with their imaginations ignited, played contently while I enjoyed the beautiful day and view. No wild animals bothered us.
We had our lunch and the boys, without prompting from me, toasted with their kool-aid by clinking their plastic bottles with hands held high. Sean made a celebratory phone call to mom, and joked with her that we were attacked by a gorilla, tiger and zebra (?) in that order. Sean gave up after it was apparent that Mom wasn't buying it.
The hike back down seemed even shorter, and along the way we found a stream that had some small fish which added a few more minutes of playing time. All in all, the boys had fun, and I had fun watching them enjoy themselves.
If anyone knows of any other kid hikes, I would appreciate knowing about them.
Much mahalo for the report, Chris. Reading it reminds me that hiking isn't just about tackling the longest or most challenging ridges and trails out there. Like I mentioned before, one of my favorites on Oahu is the Aiea Loop, a trail that is often pooh-poohed as a novice (read: baby) route. Just like Pu'u Makakilo, a trail that I haven't done but would like to, the Aiea Loop is far from the most demanding and pulse-raising venues, but it has something special to it that, in my case, keeps me going back.
As for places suitable for the younger set, the Waimano Valley Trail (starts at the top of Waimano Home Road) is a nice one. It can be done as a 2-mile loop or a down and back hike and involves a tranquil stroll along Waimano Stream. Others are the Kuaokala Trail (out by the Kaena Point Tracking Station), Manoa Falls, and Manoa Cliffs (at least part-way). I've seen folks with young ones on all of these.
I also enjoyed your report very much. Another good hike for kids is the Hau`ula Loop, the West loop on the Hau`ula-Papali trail. Take them during the summer; there's lots of passion fruit, strawberry guava, and other fruits to collect. I think kids enjoy that a lot (I surely do!). The trail is very easy, wide and graded. It crosses a couple of tiny but pretty streams. And it has some very nice views. Don't do the Papali loop though; it is overgrown, harder, and less rewarding than the Hau`ula loop.
Manoa cliffs, which Dayle mentioned, is also pretty good for collecting fruit during the summer.
And then there's Kahana valley. If you take the first left on the trail, you'll meet the Kahana stream pretty soon. The stream is great for swiming and floating little boats. There's also a rope to swing over the pool.
Finally, as Wing mentioned, the Old Pali Road is a good choice too. I think crawling under the Pali Highway could be pretty exciting for the keikis. Also, relatively closed to the begining of the trail, there is a stream coming from the right. As a reference, there is a single palm tree on the side of the road (trail). If you go up the stream, you'll get to a place with two small waterfalls. Hopefully the streambed won't be too overgrown -- it can get too mosquitoe if it is.
I always love it when parents show their children how beautiful nature can be. Here's a few trails:
1) Almost anything on Tantalus. (most hiking books show the entire Tantalus complex) The trails are wide & easy.
2) Puu Pia in Manoa. Trail starts off of Alani Drive.
3) Likeke Falls. Trail starts by the Pali Golf Course.
4) Waihee Falls. Pretty much a dirt road up to the Falls.
5) Pupukea Boy Scout Camp. End of Pupukea Road. Another dirt road, but with neat views. (keep eyes peeled for lilikoi)
6) Moanalua Valley. Dirt road, but with neat abandoned lots from Damon Estate.
Will send more detailed trail instructions if you are interested in any of the above. (I'm at work, hiking bible is at home)