Hiking Hawaii (on acompressed schedule); Makapu'u Lighthouse, Manoa Falls, Waimea Falls, Dole Plantation


With only one weekend for fun stuff and exploring while in Hawaii on a business trip, I knew that I had to make the most of my very limited time. There was no doubt that hiking would be a major part of those plans! I had intended on waking up around 4:30 am and heading to Koko Crater to kick the day off, but a week full of battling jet lag finally caught me and sleep won in the end.

Hike 1: Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail
Starting a little later than planned (6:30am) I headed off to a my first destination, Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail. The drive from Waikiki to the light house was beautiful, along the coast, with several scenic stop offs that I took full advantage of, putting me even further behind schedule but with some added in Hawaii experiences too!
This park opens at 7am (something I hadn't previously known)
Makapu'u Trail is completely paved the entire way up. I wore my hiking shoes but would have been very happy doing it in my Chacos. It's a pretty steep incline the whole way up, but the views make the huffing and puffing well worth it!
Signs along the trail indicate that this is a good place to see the Humpback whales during the months of November-May when they are on their migration. Sadly I've missed it.
The lighthouse can be seen from the trail when you're almost at the top (at the top you won't see it)
From the top you have striking views of Hawaii, a panorama that doesn't disappoint.
Total distance is approximately 2 miles round trip (I started my Garmin a little late)

Summit of Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail
Hike 2: Manoa Falls
Manoa Falls is closer to Waikiki, so heading back took a little bit of time, again driving back along the coastline and the beautiful views (and homes on the water to admire)
Manoa Falls requires that you pay $5 for parking in the small concession store you pass right before the lot. Get there early it fills up quickly. I got there around 8:30am and it was full, I lucked out with a spot because someone was leaving.
When I arrived here it was raining (misting really) but upon seeing the trail, it definitely made it way more difficult and slippery (even with Vibram soles)
The beginning (before you get to the actual trail) is lush jungle with lots of bird sounds, reminded me of a scene straight out of Jurassic Park!
There were people hiking this in flip flops but I definitely don't recommend it. Lots of uneven terrain, mud, slippery rocks, etc. When I was about half way up the trail I saw fireman and a man with his leg fully secured (this would explain the firetruck that I saw at the bottom). A few minutes later a helicopter arrived to airlift him out. Apparently he fell at the top, the fireman were able to get him about halfway down after splinting his leg (that appeared broken) but couldn't take him further so an airlift was required. Needless to say I was much more cautious for the remainder of that hike!
The falls is very pretty, it has a pool but swimming is strongly discouraged due to leptospirosis.
Total distance is approximately 2 miles (again I forgot to start my Garmin at the very beginning)

Manoa Falls
Hike 3: Waimea Falls (North Shore)
This hike is all the way up on the North Shore (so if you're staying in Waikiki it will take you approximately an hour to drive there)
Waimea Falls is a short (all paved) trail to get to the falls, and you can swim there (life jackets are required, they provide them) but there are leptospirosis signs present and just looking at the water there isn't much movement and it certainly doesn't look very clear (I definitely opted out of swimming)
To enter the nature park where the hiking trail is, there is an admission fee (very steep for what this hike consists of if you ask me, $18 for adults) there are various discounts available but you'll have to show ID to prove it (military, Veteran, etc, the cost for those is $12).
This hike is less than 2 miles and can be rated "easy"
Very accessible using google maps, parking lot is labeled as a pay lot but proceed through and to the attendant and tell them you are going to Waimea Falls and you won't have to pay.

Waimea Falls
If you're all the way up on the North Shore for Waimea Falls you may as well go to the Dole Plantation. It's super touristy but also a fun place to stop for a quick snack after hiking (their grilled corn is amazing), can someone say Dole whip?!


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