For a trail that’s only 4.7 miles, it was one hell of an experience. It was most definitely challenging, but well worth the hike. I was lucky enough to have a friend that had done it several times and he knew the area well. Being that there are several offshoots and ways that things can go wrong, its a better idea to go with someone that is knowledgeable.
Kaʻau Crater features three waterfalls and breathtaking views of Honolulu and Diamond head on the south side, and Kāneʻohe and Kailua on the North Side (to my local people – its small kine hard to use Mauka vs. Makai on this one since you’re on a ridge). The hike doesn’t get too difficult until after the first waterfall. Up until that point its just tedious, muddy, and overgrown (which is beautiful in its own way, yet difficult at times to navigate through).
After that point, you’ll find yourself amidst more foliage, and then a second waterfall.
After the second waterfall, you have to climb alongside it, go through more foliage, and then you’ll have reach the third waterfall (which is actually a series of waterfalls) in which you have to scale. Yes, scale. It most definitely wasn’t the most ideal because I’m not a fan of heights, but it challenged me to do something that I’m not comfortable with (which I like). If I could do this trail again, Id probably bring more rope because the rope that is there is slowly wearing away and the logical part of me was definitely saying it wasn’t a good idea.
Essentially you keep going because the only way to go is up (until there is no more up to go). Unfortunately, it was a bit windy for some of the people in our group, so we didn’t go to the summit. The view is still breathtaking from the south side looking at Palolo Valley.
The trail connects from the summit area to another offshoot and we took the offshoot, passing the summit. I’m completely bummed about not going to the summit, but I consider this to be a completed hike being that we still completed the loop. There’s most definitely an asterisk next to this one for me, but that’s for 2018 me to re-do.
- Wear shoes appropriate for mud and climbing
- Bring a rain jacket
- Bring more water than you think you need as well as some snacks if you feel like you’ll take a while
- Have a bag to put your shoes in post-hike (I’m aware that every hiker knows that, but I’m just reiterating that this is a seriously muddy hike)
- Bring the bug spray or get attacked by mosquitoes
- Check the wind conditions being that you’ll be on a ridge
- research this hike before even considering going on it (another obvious tip, but its worth repeating)