Diamond head! {Spring Break Day 3}

The night before doing this hike I had talked to my mom who reminisced about doing it 30 years ago! I’m sure not too much has changed since then so hopefully this pictures bring back memories for you mom!

First off, there was zippy parking in the crater (there are only 50 spots or so inside) so we had to park down at the community college and walk in.

dh1The walk up to the crater isn’t too bad at all, although walking through the tunnel is a little unnerving… Especially when buses decide to honk all the way through. Also, I love that my kids were coordinated in yellow and black! Thanks guys!


Diamond head was formed long after the initial volcanic activity that formed the island. Both this and Koko head were formed by secondary eruptions, basically a magma burp. Crazy!

dh2It was hot and dry during our hike, there wasn’t much breeze. Thankfully there are lots of spots to sit and take a water break. I was amazed by the number of people doing this in flip flops… I know its not a REAL hike but it was NOT sandal friendly!

Also? There are stairs. No fun at ALL! I jogged up half of them and then felt like I was going to die. That’s enough of that! The stairs are part of the original fortifications. There are pillboxes all along the coast and I’m pretty sure most of them had guns, but I don’t know that any of them were actually used.


Oh yes. More stairs.


Finally! The very top! The breeze was fantastic and the view was amazing. You can see from Koko head to Waikiki. It was SO crowded up there, everyone was squishing and squeezing, trying to get a photo. It was a little insane. dh5

And the award for the most perfectly placed shave ice truck goes to….dhice


A nice cold treat after that hot hike. This was a pretty easy one, Mckenna kept track and from the start of the trail in the crater and back it took us exactly an hour.

Of course, we then needed to go cool off…



Lulumahu Falls

This was SUPPOSED to be our ruins hike but yet again we just cannot get to the right trailhead! But I do love hiking with Cat because we just go with the flow and find our way somewhere else! We thought that we were on the right trail this time as we were finding our way through a bamboo forest and seeing some pretty cool walls here and there:

not the right wayBut when we hit a stream we knew it wasn’t the right trail. We did suspect that we were now on the trail to Lulumahu Falls, as many people do the ruins and the falls in the same day. I am going to post photos in the order that you should do this hike, I took some of them on the way back to the car to use as landmarks.

Lulumahu Falls!

Take Pali hwy to Nu’uanu Pali Dr. Follow this up to where it almost reconnects with Pali and park in the small parking area.

This is your trailhead. This hike is probably trespassing but as the land isn’t in use any more by the Board of Water Supply I don’t think it is TOO serious.


Make your way to the left, the should be a trail through the ti leaves that ends at a big grassy ridge.

first leg

There is a trail as well as some old steps that lead to the top. Stop, realize once again that this is the coolest place to live, and take a million pictures. There is a great view as well as a reservoir.


Take the gravel road pictured above to the right. It should lead to a set of concrete stairs. Follow those up and you should see a fenced in water holding tank. There is a small trail leading behind the fence. Take that. If you follow the big wide trail it will just loop you back around.


Just keep following the trail. It is a beautiful walk through the woods!



Word to the wise, wear shoes that you don’t mind getting soaked. There are lots of stream crossings. At the dam you can walk right along the top, it wasn’t slick and was easier than trying to hop from rock to rock. We criss-crossed the stream many more times that day!


Finally after lots of scrambling we made it to the top! And what a reward for the work!



It is a beautiful spot to eat some lunch and take a break.

topoffallsI loved this hike!

As far as difficulty level, I wouldn’t really recommend this hike for small kids or carrying a kid on you. While we had both it was difficult at times, there are some tricky areas. Lots of scrambling, stream crossings, over and under and climbing boulders. Our kids and dog just happen to be pretty bad-ass!




Hawaii Nature Center

So one thing that I am really happy that I am able to do is go on filed trips with my kids classes… This was my first time that I got to go with Mckenna’s class on a field trip. Those 5th graders are so much fun!

We were spending the day hiking up at the Hawaii Nature Center up on one of the hills above us… Unfortunately our bus driver ended up taking a wrong turn and instead we climbed up the other side of the hill toward tantalus. It was quite the scenic trip, it was beautiful but we were for real in the wilds of Hawaii. We FINALLY had a big enough area to turn around and back down we came, made the correct turn and headed up the right side of the mountain!


The guides at the nature center were amazing, especially Kai and Kristen who were in charge of our group. We learned a lesson about how the islands were formed (I even learned a few things!) and how some additional geological activity has since altered the shape of Oahu.


From there we were off to our hike. I was initially pretty nervous about the format because the kids were going off into groups of three and learning about a specific plant or tree on our hike and then they would tell the entire group about it. It worked out that every kid got to be a teacher which was great for them, helped with public speaking and knew all there was to know about a plant we saw on our hike.




I am going to overload this post with pictures, sorry… I tried to at least condense them into collages! It was a REALLY beautiful trail! If you are looking for a nice hike Ualaka’a Trail is one to consider!babies








After our hike we did an experiment about soil and the difference with forested land and cleared land. (spoiler alert, forests have high permeability). Of course I was loving all of this as its right up my alley and the kids were learning and having fun.

Finally time for lunch, a little late due to our detour! We ended up having a pretty spectacular view of downtown Honolulu and Diamond Head (which I now know was created from a secondary eruption and not from the initial volcano that created the islands!)




This is a beautiful spot to hike and we saw a few different trailheads that started around here. We will be back to do some more hiking from here for sure!

Nu’uanu to Manoa Falls Ridgeline hike

Okay, let me start this by saying that this is NOT the hike we intended to do! We were looking for the ruins trail, we accidentally started at the Judd Trail and said, eh, why not. (ed. note: When telling our husband about the day his comment was “This is how people die” lol.) Judd Trail is beautiful! There is a stream crossing at the beginning but we were all able to hop across keeping our feet dry.

It’s amazing how quickly the trail changed, from bamboo, to forest, to jungle. The scenery was unbelievable.hike2

We met up with Nu’uanu trail and hiked that up to the ridgeline. That right there is a great hike. There is a nice little grassy spot where you can eat lunch (and try not to get blown off, it was crazy windy up there!) Also try to get a group picture at the bench!


This was our big ol’ group of kids, and they all did awesome. Picture is crooked because Katie’s camera was hanging from a tree!

At this point is where we REALLY should have turned back, but the though was that the trail would loop around (Again: “This is how people die”) So we kept going.


Nice easy stretch going downhill, we connected up with a Paoa Flats trail that wound through a lovely bamboo forest… then we passed a guy who said we weren’t far from Manoa Falls. That didn’t sound right to our group as Manoa Falls is on the other end of Waikiki. hike5 hike6

Onward we forge with the trail getting more and more muddy and a bit of a pain, some Cuh-RAZY switchbacks downhill, GPS tells us that yes indeed we are headed to Manoa Falls. Sounds great, one more hike to cross off our list!

Manoa Falls is STUNNING! Super high waterfall that people do swim in despite the WARNING/DANGER signs (30 Ton rockslide 10 years ago was enough to keep me outside of the roped area)

We continued our walk downhill toward the Monoa Falls trailhead, giving a call to a friend for a ride back to our cars. hike9

I highly recommend these trails separately but not together unless you want to do some serious hiking and you have a friend you can call to hook you back up with your car! With kids ranging from 3-11 this hike took us about 5 hours. One for the memory books for sure!

I also have this bad boy on order for future hikes:
Oahu Hikes: The Best Hikes and Walks on the Island (Lone Pine Guide)

We started out off of Nu’anu Pali Rd which is off Old Pali highway. You should see the trail head about a mile or two up the road on the right.