Five Simple Adventures

My adventure goal for 2017 was to do 40 hikes – the added challenge was no repeats of trails already successfully completed. Unfortunately, there is one day left in the year and Iʻve only completed 38 hikes (no repeats) but 52 in total (counting repeats) – so goal reached (sort of). The point, however, is that my entire life I’ve lived on this island and there were at least 29 places I had never ventured to before. Adventure isn’t far, you just need to go explore. This will be a multi-part series to help anyone looking for adventure if Hawaiʻi is their backyard.

One of my adventure partners of 2017 was my 4-year-old godson. He basically did these hikes in its entirety on his own with no assistance (other than transportation there, of course, haha). My thoughts are, if a 4-year-old can do it, we definitely can.

Here are five totally doable hikes for anyone looking for some adventure:


1. “The Quickie” – Puʻu Pia, Mānoa 


Although it is located in a residential neighborhood, I think this hike is an ideal short adventure. The 2-mile trail has a moderate gain in elevation and ends on one of the lower ridges overlooking Mānoa valley. Another plus to this hike is that every time I’ve been to this trail (at least 5 times in 2017) there have been few or no other hikers, making it perfect for taking my trusty sidekick, Kahi.


  • Go before 11am and be ready to find parking on a one way in, one way out street
  • Bring bug spray and water
  • The better view is slightly before the end (pictured above) the seat at the “end” is blocked by brush


2. “The Nature Trip” – ‘Aiea Loop Trail, ‘Aiea 


This moderately trafficked loop trail featured a gorgeous array of ferns (I’m a huge lover of ferns) and had quite a few areas that were very picturesque. The middle of the hike is where you will see the view of our gorgeous highway that connects the southern part of the island to the north that sits in the middle of one of the most beautiful valleys. If I were to do this trail again, I’d probably only do the first half (starting clockwise) because I felt like the second half was just not worth the effort and there was nothing really worthwhile in comparison.


  • Go earlier in the day as there are parts where you’re very exposed
  • Bring bug spray and water
  • Be careful and never hike alone. Three days after we did this hike, an older woman that went hiking later in the afternoon got mugged. Not cool.



3. “Unassuming Trail” – Friendship Gardens, Kāneʻohe 


This trail was surprisingly wonderful. Based off of its name, you expect it to be a leisurely stroll but in actuality, there is a moderate yet slow gain in elevation and a great view on an off-shoot at the top (depicted above). Getting to the view does require some effort but I think it was totally worth it. For a trail that is less than a mile long, I found that I got everything and then some on this unassumingly gorgeous trail.


  • Parking is in a residential area, be ready to walk as the entrance isnʻt close to any good parking
  • Bring bug spray and water



4. “Nature Shower” – Lyon Arboretum


This trail is everything you expect it to be as it is an Arboretum. There are tons of native plants that are conveniently identified with signs featuring their scientific name. The great part of the arboretum is that there are tons of offshoots for you to explore and it woulndnʻt be a surprise if you spent the entire day there. One of my favorite offshoots of this trail is Aihualama Falls.


  • If you go into the main office, you can get a map that shows all of the different areas and offshoots
  • Technically there is a $5 donation to enter the grounds – $5 to go towards the upkeep of a magical place tucked in the back of Mānoa? Why not?
  • Coat on the bug spray especially if you’re going to venture on any of the offshoots
  • be prepared for passing showers



5. “The Begining of a Great Adventure” – Kamananui Valley Trail, Moanalua 


This hike is more of a long nature walk, however, Iʻve listed it because not only is it rich with culture, but it can be used as the beginning to the backside of Haiku Stairs (also known as Stairway to Heaven). This “trail” is an old carriage road, so along the way, you will run into several old bridges and worn stone roadways.


  • Bring bug spray and water
  • Parking is in a park at the back of the valley – donʻt leave any valuables visible in your vehicle as you will be gone for quite some time (it’s a 6-mile hike)



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