Time: 1-2 HOURS
Distance: 2.2 MILES
Elevation Gain: 650 FEET
Foot Traffic: LOW
Challenges: Muddy, Some steep inclines
Sights: Pillboxes, K-Bay, Ko'olau Mountain Range
Stuff to Bring: Water, Shoes with decent grip
A shorter hike on the windward side of Oahu, this is a great hike if you are looking for something quick, will get the heart pumping, and that offers rewarding views. The trail is often very muddy and slippery, especially at the initial incline so wear something you don't mind getting dirty in case you fall. The hike begins in the trees with occasional lookout points of Kaneohe Bay (K-Bay) and ends at a pillbox with expansive views of Kaneohe Bay and the windward mountain ranges. It's definitely worth going on a clear day to get the most out of this hike.
A Google Earth image of the hike. As you can see, it's a long gradual uphill that ends at a pillbox right on K-Bay. Simple, but sweet.
As is typical with many hikes, this one starts in a somewhat obscure location. You will need to park in/near the Koolau Shopping Center across from the Valley of the Temples and then walk south on the left side of the highway along the guardrail. Where the guardrail ends is this opening in the trees where the hike begins (marked by this point on GoogleMaps).
The beginning of the trail looks like this. I managed to hike this on a day where it hadn't rained for weeks. Normally this trail is crazy muddy and you will have to be careful with your footing so you don't end up with a face full of wet dirt.
But as soon as you reach the top, you can turn around and get a beautiful view of the Ko'olau Mountain Range.
From here the hike goes into the trees, where it is just a long and gradual incline to the pillbox. This is the only place where you could maybe get make a wrong turn, but the trail continues to the left.
Even though you are in the trees, you will get periodic glimpses of K-Bay. Don't worry these views only get better.
There's actually a few ropes along the trail for the steeper parts. These would be helpful on one of the typical muddy days. Luckily for me, I managed to hike on a day where it was actually dry.
This ladder leads to one pillbox along the trail. These structures were used as defensive posts during World War I and II to spot and attack enemy ships and planes. Enter at your own risk!
A rare occasion in Hawaii where the name of the hike can be found along the trail. This hike is also called "Digging Hill," which is a direct translation from Hawaiian. The pillbox is just a few minutes beyond this sign.
And we're here! Man are these views impressive. Here we are looking north along the Windward Coast. That little island to the right is Chinaman's Hat, an island you can actually walk to if the tide is low enough.
And here's a shot looking into the heart of K-Bay. All the different sandbars around the bay create such a beautiful color landscape.
I hung out here for almost two hours, soaking in the views. It's hard not to feel at peace in a place like this.
I took one last photo of the evening glow over the Ko'olaus before packing up and heading back. What a perfect way to spend a Friday evening in this incredible place.
Check out my full video of this hike!
Enjoy this hike? Post a comment below!
Also Check Out:
- Not So Great Hiking Blog's post of this hike