Time: 1-2 HOURS
Distance: 1.7 MILES / 2.7 KM
Elevation Gain: NEGLIGBLE
Foot Traffic: LOW
Challenges: Closed, Muddy with one step descent
Sights: The Falls...
Stuff to Bring: Shoes to get muddy, swimsuit
This hike is a nice easy stroll along a path through the forest before a very short, yet slippery decline that leads to a beautiful set of waterfalls and a swimming hole. This hike is great if you're looking for something short but with that magical, secluded Hawaii feel. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even do some climbing to see the other waterfalls (there are three total).
Even though I have only lived here for about 10 months, I pride myself on my knowledge of the hikes on the island. So when my friend mentioned this hike and I had never heard of it, I knew we had to do it ASAP. The day we chose was incredibly windy and rainy, but it resulted in us being the only people at the falls. Being alone in such a secluded place just added to the magical feeling.
Just mapping Kalihi Ice Ponds will get you to the right location. There is VERY LITTLE PARKING.. There were maybe about 4 spots available at the end of the street before going over the bridge which is a No Parking area. I have no idea if parking would be enforced in this area because the start of the hike is pretty deep in this neighborhood.
After we parked, we walked across the bridge to the end of the street where we were greeted by a fence saying government property. This hike is technically off limits, but like many hikes in Hawaii, you can proceed at your own risk. Considering the weather, we didn't expect anyone to be bothering us. Besides, Bebe (dog) clearly wanted to get to the ponds and we didn't want to stop her.
*** UPDATE 6/30/17- I have heard from friends that there is a security guard now stationed at the end of the street. It sounds like this is a consistent thing, so proceed at your own risk.
You have to go through the opening to the right of the fence to bypass the trail closure. It's a bit of a tight squeeze.
And then it's about a 15-20 minute walk along the road. It is VERY WET AND MUDDY and as you can see there were even some downed trees. I felt like I was back in Florida in 2005 after we were hit by all those hurricanes.
But there were a couple cool things to see along the way, like this nicely decorated building.
And this old jeep thing that's been here for who knows how long.
After about a mile you will see a trail off to the right of the road that descends quite sharply. This will take you to the falls. It should be pretty obvious you're on the right path because there will be a rope to help you get down. It is pretty steep and slippery so the rope can be quite useful. This is the only challenging part of the hike.
After the descent, you will arrive at this lovely waterfall. The rest of your adventure is up to you. The water is pretty deep in the middle and is great for swimming albeit a little cold. (I'm guessing that's where the name came from...)
Or if you are feeling adventurous, you can climb up the left side of the waterfall to check out the other falls.
However, it is crazy slippery. I recommend only going up if you are comfortable climbing wet rock. I've done a lot of climbing and I almost slipped a few times. Shoes probably would have been a good idea.
But if you do venture up, you will get to see the upper portions of the falls which are just as, if not more beautiful.
Here's a shot of the view looking out over the first waterfall. Unfortunately, it was almost impossible to keep my camera lens dry.
This is the second waterfall. There is even a third one above it. However, with darkness looming, I figured it probably wasn't worth the risk of going up there.
But that didn't mean I couldn't enjoy my perch for a few moments. I apologize for the hairy legs. It's genetic.
Here's a shot looking down from the first waterfall. I did actually jump, but do so at your own risk My feet slipped and I was very worried I had not cleared some of the lower rocks. I lucked out, but it's probably best to just climb down.
And then I had a nice dip in the Ice Pond before heading back. I clearly must have said something hilarious because Alyssa is giving me a judgmental look.
This hike is just another example of how much variety there is in Oahu hiking. I had not heard of this hike before doing it, but it was amazing nonetheless. It provided that secluded and mystical feeling that continues to give me greater appreciation for this incredible place.
Check out the fully video of his wet and windy hike!
What's your favorite hike on a rainy day? Leave a comment below!
Also Check Out:
- Venture Hawaii's post about their rainy day experience at this magical place
- The Katie Show Blog's experience at these waterfalls