Time: 3-4 HOURS
Distance: 6 MILES
Elevation Gain: 300 FEET
Foot Traffic: MODERATE
Challenges: Muddy and Flooded Tunnels, Some narrow(ish) sections
Sights: The Tunnels, Waimano Valley
What to Bring: Water, Flashlight, Snack
A hike located in the center of Oahu near Pearl City that takes you along the Upper Waimano Ridge trail, with pleasant views of Waimano Valley. The unique part of this hike is the ability to walk through up to 10 different tunnels, which were previously used as an irrigation system. While it may not give you the same thrill or expansive views of some other Hawaii ridge hikes, Waimano is a great example of the hidden secrets this island has to offer.
My friend Danielle was asking my opinion on a reasonable hike she could do by herself on Sunday. I had heard about this unique hike from a friend and decided it would be a great little Sunday adventure. Instead of letting her go alone, however, I decided to go with her (at the very least so I could take a few sweet cave photos). Definitely a change of pace from my more intense hikes, but it was still an exciting adventure.
The Waimano Trails start at the end of Waimano Home Road. You will come to a gated off area. Just before the gate is a dirt lot where you can park your car. Follow the trail to the left around the fence.
Shortly after you start, you will come to the first fork. We took the Upper trail out and came back on the lower trail to make it a loop. If you took the lower trail, it would eventually meet back up with the upper trail near the third tunnel.
The hike along the upper trail is very pleasant and eventually opens up with some great views of the valley.
But the real appeal of this hike is the tunnels! There's 6 of them along the upper trail, but I've read there's as many as 10 in this area you can explore. My photos were taken in a very strange order, so I believe this is tunnel #3.
The tunnels came in different shapes and sizes.
Best use a light to guide your way to the end of the tunnel, just in case something (or someone) is living there. I kid, there's nothing in there except maybe some mud. Actually, these things can get very wet and muddy if it's been raining. I also can't recommend going through these if you don't like small spaces. Luckily, there's bypasses to every tunnel if that is the case.
This is the bypass to Tunnel #3 and it contains the path down to the Lower Waimano Trail. We took this on the way back to make it a loop hike. That trail is pretty uneventful honestly, just a little stroll in the woods.
A nice alternate route on the way to tunnel #6 to avoid the somewhat tricky path.
That tricky section. It's not anything crazy, but it could be steep for some.
Had to pose for a glamour shot before exiting our final tunnel.
Shortly after the 6th tunnel, the trail will lead across a dry(ish) stream bed. This is the path that will lead you to a good lookout point and for us, our turnaround point.
You will come to a fork in the road. This is the left fork which will switchback around to get you to the ridge.
And here is the lookout point. Definitely a good spot for a little snack.
Or a great place to take in the beautiful green valley. This Waimano Loop hike was a change of pace from my hikes over the past few weeks. But, it was a great reminder that you can experience beauty and feel enjoyment just about anywhere on this little island.
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Also Check Out:
- This post about the loop and tunnel hike
- Not So Good Hikers Video of this hike