Likelike Fall’s Hike
Off Old Pali Road
(accessible via the Ko’olau Golf Club Parking lot)
- Great opportunity to interact with nature
- Intriguing flora and fauna
- Beautiful and relatively accessible waterfall
- Great views
- 1.5 miles round trip – short enough for young keiki (and also short enough for mamas and papas with a baby in a carrier)
- Plenty of parking at Ko’olau Golf Club
- Muddy (this is a debatable con, as some kids love that)
- Possible potential injuries from trips and falls
- Easy to get lost! Pay attention to how you go in and remember it when you are trying to get out!
- No bathroom facilities, unless you want to ask to use the golf club’s.
I’ve heard from certain windward kids that there is a fun little secret at the big tree where you make the right turn off Old Pali Road. Apparently, kids take turns exchanging gifts inside the back of the tree. I didn’t know this until after we had visited so I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but apparently if you check around, you will find a little toy (something small like a fast-food or arcade toy) and you can bring your own toy and “exchange” your toy for the one behind the tree to keep the tradition going.
I love this hike. It is short, so you don’t have to worry about children getting fatigued, as my two-year-old had no problem. She was so ready to sprint ahead that I had to stop and ask her to hold my hand at the more tricky rocky parts. I’ve read that it’s a mile and a half round trip, and it only takes about twenty five minutes to get to the falls, and another twenty-five minutes back – granted you don’t get lost. I went on a Monday during a long weekend and while there were plenty of other friendly happy people hiking with us on the way up, they we didn’t see anyone on the way back. I packed a small picnic and we ate on the giant rocks by the falls and took our time enjoying the scenery and beauty around us.
There are small shallow pools around the falls with pebbles and rocks at the bottom. I did not bring our suits, but we took off our shoes and put our feet in (and we weren’t the only ones). As always, be cautious at freshwater ponds for leptospirosis and avoid if you have any open wounds.
How to Get There:
The hike starts in Ko’olau Golf Club/First Presbyterian Church. To get to the parking lot, you turn you turn mauka on either Kahiko or Kionaole (I think either one) of Kamehameha Highway. There is a sign on a fence for the golf club and you follow it on a road until you get to the parking lot.
Go ahead and keep going straight to the back, where the last row of parking spaces is lined with trees and borders the forest. The start of the trail is obvious as it is a paved inclined starting at the left back corner of the lot. As of February 2013, there were no signs restricting parking and I saw other families there to hike to the falls, including a couple looking for a geocache site nearby.
- Continue on that path and you will see a blue water tower (don’t worry it’s obvious – see photo. Take a left on the path just before the water tower. Keep on that path and soon you will be on an old stone road. This road is the Old Pali Highway from the 1800s! Mention that to any history-loving kids you might have, or just mention it anyway, as I’ve found that trying to convince other people to appreciate history makes me appreciate it more myself.
- Before long you will have to take a sharp right OFF of that road. This is a step that some people miss. I made the opposite mistake. I read that I was supposed to take a right at a tree and so for the whole hike up until the tree I was looking at every tree on the right of me and thinking “Is that the tree? Take a right there? It sort of looks a little bit like a path…”
- In order to make it easier, I took a photo of the exact tree. There is a neon orange/pink colored marker tied to the tree (pictured) so keep an eye out for it.
If you start to see the twisty vine tunnels of the Hau trees, you are in the right directions! Plan your trip with enough time to let your children enjoy them. They are simultaneously spooky and intriguing.
Also keep your eyes open for kukui nuts all over the ground (the kind they use to make necklaces) as well as the wide variety of flora and fauna. We know they must have wild pigs, as we unfortunately saw a baby one on the side of the road…no longer alive, but that’s nature for you.
Parts of the path are very muddy. I mean, depending on recent rainfall, you’re actually kind of walking in a stream. Be sure to wear shoes with traction. If there are toddlers or young preschoolers with you, you will probably end up helping them over some of the wetter rocks, muddier patches, and larger steps (although I assure you, for the most part, your toddler can enjoy doing the hike themselves).
When the path gets muddier and you hear running water it means you are almost there! Make it fun for the kids by asking them if they hear anything, or notice anything, or think they’re close. Encourage them to use their innate powers of observation to make inferences.
I Got Lost
Ok, so here is the honest deal. I got lost on the way back. With all my adventurous spirit I suddenly found myself at a fork on the road on the way back. I couldn’t for the life of me remember that fork. It wasn’t the left at the water tower or the right off Old Pali Highway at the tree and those were the only two turns I remembered making.
I guessed based on what looked familiar and I was wrong. I didn’t know I was wrong so we kept on this incorrect path until I realized we had been walking way too long and we were no where near the parking lot. I had been daydreaming, enjoying nature and trying to remember the words to that poem about the fork in the road and the path less traveled and didn’t even think about it until I realized I was really lost. I definitely started to get nervous. No one was with me, just me and my daughter, so I had to keep my anxiety to myself even though that just made me more anxious. I know that one path goes all the way eight miles to the Pali Lookout, but I definitely wasn’t looking to hike for eight miles with a toddler just to catch a cab to my car. Luckily, I was able to retrace my steps with out concerning my daughter and take the other path in the fork, but I did start to use old tricks from girl scouts (Troop 1674-Represent!) like placing fallen branches in specific patterns and symbols so I would know for sure which direction I had gone in order to be able to properly retrace my steps. Maybe it could even make a fun activity. This site has a pdf you can print from your computer and take with you.
If you don’t have a naturally good sense of direction, make sure you pay attention, especially if you don’t have another adult (with a good sense of direction) accompanying you. And have fun!