Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mariner's Ridge Hike

Today I took Kaylyn for an early evening hike to Mariners Ridge near Hawaii Kai. Take H1 East until it turns into H72, then turn left on Kaluanui Road and find parking near the entrance photographed above. Make sure to heed to the no parking signs or you will find a 35$ parking ticket on your windshield when you return from your hike.

The terrain of the Mariners Hike starts off at a transverse incline with plenty of roots and rocks to help with footing. No strollers on this hike, but a baby carrier will come in handy. Carrying my 2 year old was a little taxing and I wish I brought my Kelty TC 2.0 Child Carrier, Black. It would have made the hike so much easier on both of us.

About 4 minutes into the hike you will be greeted with an pretty view of Koko Head and the Hawaii Kai area below. This would be a great time to pull out the camera and take some great pictures with the kids.

Along the way you will spot plenty of birds, cacti, pine trees, and even centipedes as seen above.

Further up the trail you will come across a scenic view of a nearby mountain range that is awe inspiring.

Make sure to bring a light windbreaker jacket for the kids if you plan on making this hike late like I did. She was a little chilly when I set her down for a rest.

Mariner's ridge offers plenty of areas for shade that are perfect for taking a break with the family to recover. You will need them unless your family is very active. Pace yourselves and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding nature.

The trail takes about 1 hour to get the summit and about 45 minutes to get back since the return is all down hill. We made it about 45 minutes into the hike before we turned around because the sun was starting to set.

On the way back down we caught some great views of sun setting over the mountains.

Overall our experience at Mariner's Ridge was great. It would have been better if we hit the trail earlier and we brought my child carrier for my daughter, but we still had fun. I highly recommend this hike for active families looking for some outdoor adventure in Oahu.

Kaluanui Road

Honolulu, HI 96825

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Keaiwa Heiau State Park (Aiea Loop Trail)

Today I decided to take my daughter for a spur of the moment adventure. We hopped in the car, turned on my Garmin nĂ¼vi 205W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator, selected Keaiwa Heiau State Park, and went for it not really knowing what to expect.
Sometimes that makes for the best adventures......well........sometimes.

Keaiwa Heiau State Park is near Aiea and Pearl Harbor located about 12 miles west of Waikiki. There are campsites for about 5 dollars a night Friday through Wednesday. Camping permits can be obtained from the State Parks office in Honolulu (808) 587-0300. What Keaiwa State park is really known for is The 'Aiea Loop Trail. Lesser know is at the foot of the Aiea Loop trail is the site of an ancient Heiau Ho'ola, or a healing Hawaiian Temple.

The 'Aiea Loop Trail is 4.8-mile trail that begins and ends in the park. This trail runs along the ridge on the west side of Halawa Valley and offers views from Pearl Harbor (Pu'uloa) and the Wai'anae Range to Honolulu and Diamond Head (Le'ahi).

The first picture above is the drive leading to the picnic area. Second is the entrance to the 'Aiea Loop Trail. Make sure to lock your vehicle up and conceal personal belongings as there were many signs warning of car break ins.

2 minutes into the trail you will come across a view of Pearl Harbor and the city of Aiea below. Unfortunately my regular camera's battery died so I used my Android phone to take pictures.

As you go further down the trail it becomes engulfed by the forest and I almost began to feel like I was back in the Pacific Northwest instead of Hawaii. If your family enjoys the outdoors, this hike is a must.

Since it rained earlier in the day the trail was quite slippery and muddy. Carrying my daughter with flip flops on became a hazard for us both. For safety reasons I made the decision to terminate the hike about a mile in.


The mud on the bottom of my flops was testament to the condition of the trail after it rains. We will be back with proper hiking boots and insect repellent. There is a downed WWII US plane that is visible off in the vegetation of the trail that I am looking forward to seeing.

 I recommend this hike for families that enjoy the outdoors and that don't mind getting a little dirt on their shoes. Bring suitable hiking shoes, a walking stick such as the Stansport Outdoorsman Trekking Pole, California Baby Bug Repellant Spray, 6.5 Ounce , and tons of enthusiasm.   This was a side of Hawaii, I didn't expect to find and was pleasantly surprised. for more information on Keaiwa Heiau State Park go here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail


The start of the path to Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail begins at the end of the free parking lot and transverses for about 1 mile to the peak. Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail is great for parents with babies and toddlers because the entire trail is paved. We brought our Trendsport Lite Stroller and it was perfect for this trail.

Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail is also easy to find. Just take H1 east from Waikiki until it turns into Highway 72. Once you pass Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach Park you will see the parking lot signs for Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail.

You and the family can decide between going up to the peak with the smooth trail, or choosing one of the natural paths to the the tidal pools seen in the photo above. 

The stroller is not an option on the natural paths, but it looked like a short distance should you choose to carry your little one unless they are big enough to hoof it themselves. If you have the time, why not try both? I definately recommend the Chicco Smart Support Backpack, Red Its a backsaver and even supplies some shade for your baby.

Further up the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail, your family will have plenty of scenic photo ops and even the possibility of Humpback Whale sightings during their migration.  Make sure to bring a pair of binoculars, sunscreen, and water.

Your children will have fun climbing on all the rocks surrounding breathtaking views. Parents make sure your cameras are charged and ready to shoot for some once in a lifetime pictures.

The view at the peak of Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail will make your family feel blessed.

Last stop on the trail ends with a view of Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse. Built in 1909, Makapu‘u Lighthouse makes for an amazing picture with the deep blue Pacific as a backdrop. Unfortunately, this is close as you can get as the light house is off limits to visitors.

Make sure your little ones have their afternoon nap as well.  We learned this lesson the hard way when our daughter got cranky towards the end. Lucky for us the trail was all down hill on the way back.

We highly recommend your family adds the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail to your list of activities while in Oahu. If you have any questions about Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail, let us know in the comment section below. Mahalo and enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Moanalua Gardens

Moanalua Gardens is a great place to bring the kids to see a natural botanical garden rich in history and beauty. Best of all, it won't cost you a cent.  


Immediately  after you enter the park to the left you will find a gift shop with a coffee/tea stand.

As you can see there is a huge field with hand carved wooden benches and bountiful space for a picnic.

There are also a lots of banyan trees for the kids to play around.

Further into the park you will find a scenic Koi pond that provides a great photo op with the kids. You can bring your own fish food to feed the Kois and relax in the shade by the ducks.

Kaylyn found an old summer cottage that belonged to King  Kamehameha V.

King  Kamehameha V's tea house.

There is a short paved trail suitable for a stroller aligned with Hawaiian flower trees and a natural creek.

Here are some of the pretty flowers you will spot along the nature walk. You can smell them as you walk along the trail. Amazing.

We found a giant mango tree along the trail. Unfortunately for us they were too high to get to.

To the left is the famous monkey pod tree the Japanese company Hitachi has been using as a symbol since 1973. Apparently it is symbolic in Japanese culture because there were a large number of tourists taking photos next to the tree.

Moanalua Gardens is a great place to take the family to escape the hustle of Waikki. From the moment you walk in the troubles of your day seem to pass away.

Moanalua Gardens Foundation Address is:

1352 Pineapple Place
Honolulu, HI 96819