Time: 2-3 HOURS
Distance: 3 MILES
Elevation Gain: 600 FEET
Foot Traffic: LOW
Challenges: Overgrown, Parking
Sights: Kapaa Quarry, K-Bay, Windward Side, Ko'olau Range
What to Bring: Water (>1L), Long Pants/Sleeves
A relatively unknown trail located in Kaneohe, this short ridge hike gives you a unique perspective of the windward side, including the beautiful K-Bay and the Ko'olau Mountain Range. Follow the trail all the way to its end and you will get a great view of Kappa Quarry, with it's mystical looking greenish tint. A nice little hike that for those looking to venture off the beaten path and explore a unique part of Oahu.
Thanksgiving, a day to spend with friends and family, reflect on what you are thankful for, and of course, needlessly stuffing your face with food and drink. Being so far from home, I celebrated with my friends on island in what would probably be the most scenic Thanksgiving dinner I will ever have. Sitting on a dock on Kaneohe Bay, sharing delicious pineapple stuffing and rich pumpkin pie all while watching the sun dip behind the Ko'olaus made for an unforgettable experience.
The next day, I found myself returning to Kaneohe to drop off my friend at her car. I decided to make the most of the trip to the Windward side, looking for a hike to tackle and at the very least, burn off a few of last night's calories. I had stumbled on Oneawa Hills Hike (Kawaeawae Ridge or Kapaa Quarry Hike) a few times while perusing the interwebs, but had never attempted it. This felt like the perfect opportunity to knock another windward hike off the bucket list.
A sketch of the hike. It is definitely unique. You are basically just tramping through a random hill in Kaneohe. Despite it's small size, you can still get a great vantage point of those windward views.
The trailhead is located at the very top of Kokokahi Place. If you've ever done the short Friendship Gardens Trail, it is the same spot. You will be hiking on the Friendship Gardens trail until you reach the lookout point. From there you will take the connector to Kawaewae Ridge.
The walk along Friendship Gardens is quite pleasant, filled with Cooke Pines and bamboo.
Although it is possible to get lost on the way to the connector. The easiest way is to take a right at every fork until you reach this point. At which you will also take a right (not the way Indre is going) and head uphill.
And you will reach yet another fork, taking one more right.
And after a little bit of incline, you will reach this gorgeous lookout of K-Bay. The various shades of blue are always so captivating. The good news is this isn't the only glimpse we will get of K-Bay.
Now it's onward to find Kapaa Quarry! As you can see from this photo the hike gets pretty overgrown. Indre and I were quite glad we had brought long pants for this journey.
Despite the tall grass, there are plenty of breaks in it for views. Here we have the town of Kailua. That large flat portion of green is Kawanui Marsh, a favorite running route of mine back when I lived in Kailua.
And here in the distance, you can see the first peak of Three Peaks.
And even some great looks at the Ko'olau Mountain Range. That peak right in the center leads to the infamous Haiku Stairs, one of the most well-known (and illegal) hiking landmarks on the island.
There were a couple man made structures we came across on this trail. These look to be some type of cell phone towers. Everyone got full bars?
And then we came across this contraption. Not sure what type of tower it is, but now we must climb it.
Which by the way is not the safest thing to do, so I don't recommend. But it definitely added to the thrill of the hike.
And man, that view at the top was totally worth it!
A solid view of what we'd accomplished up to this point.
I could have stayed up on the tower for awhile, but we had a destination, Kapaa Quarry.
Getting there required some more hiking through heavy brush.
But the trail was easy to follow and had plenty of markers. At some point the trail will come a T. Head left and towards the edge of the ridge...
And aloha Kapaa Quarry! That green water looked so mystical (and possibly polluted?). And the backdrop of the mountains made it even more interesting. Supposedly, this quarry has been providing gravel, sand and concrete to the island for half a century.
Standing there looking at that scenery had me feeling thankful. I was thankful I burned off those calories from all that food. But more importantly I am thankful to live in this place, where the opportunities to explore and discover new places like this are seemingly endless.
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Also Check Out:
- This writeup of the Kapaa Quarry Hike
- Hawaii Funshine's post about the hike