Most of the states have great places for hiking, but it’s hard to beat Hawaii’s variety. All the islands have great hiking territory. Here are a few to consider if you’re a hiker or if you just enjoy beautiful walks:
- On Kauai, the Kalalau Trail
hosts some of the most spectacular views in the Hawaiian Islands, and the Hanakapiai Falls Trail begins two miles up the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast at Hanakapiai Beach.
- On Maui, the Halemauu Trail
to Holua Cabin descends the sheer cliffs of Haleakala on the west crater wall.
- Waipio Valley and Mauna Kea are near the northernmost point of the Big Island. Once the home President John F. Kennedy’s first Peace Corps training camp, the area today is a remote and little-visited place modern man has all but forgotten.
For the full spectrum of all that is Hawaii, consider the 1,875 acres of
Waimea Valley on Oahu’s North Shore. It’s been a sacred place for more than 700 years of Native Hawaiian history. 78 sites of interest have been identified in the valley, including religious sites and shrines, house sites, agricultural terraces and fishponds.
The valley’s 150-acre botanical collection contains more than 5,000 kinds of tropical and subtropical plants, including native and endangered Hawaiian plants. Four out of five species of native freshwater fish can be found in Kamananui Stream.
Once you’re in the valley, for which there’s an admission fee of $5.00 to $10.00, you can participate in several free activities including lei making, kapa demonstrations, hula lessons, Hawaiian games, crafts, music and story telling.
Several free (with your paid admission) walking tours are offered at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
You want to be sure to take in the Valley’s 45-foot waterfall, Waihiu. It’s about 3/4 of a mile from the park entrance booth.
Waimea Valley hosts larger tours – from easy and moderate family walks every Saturday to strenuous five-hour scrambles on the last Saturday of every month. Guides will help you identify the native and exotic plants, and will point out the indigenous birds and fish. The family hikes cost $5.00 per person, and the five-hour hikes cost $10.00 in addition to the valley entry fee. You’ll need reservations.
As you finish your visit, there is a retail store that showcases the work of local artists and Hawaii crafters of locally made products. The store also hosts weekly demonstrations by featured vendors. The valley’s on-site concession services uses locally grown, made-in-Hawaii ingredients for tasty local dining.