At the trailhead I suggest going left for a clockwise hike, and once you get to the second river crossing just stop and go back. Or wear long pants and shirts because the mosquitos are terrible, we got tore up with bites even with repellant, the plants will cut up your legs if not careful, and I found all the mud to be annoying. The river is a fun stop to swim and swing on the rope and the water is chilly.
Beautiful gargantuan roots and tree system's!!! If you love mud, rainforests, hobbling and focusing on foot placement, mosquitos, yummy mountain apples and crossing beautiful streams, then this is for you! We recommend doing the trip in a counter clockwise manner to get the mud over with first, then you will get your feet soaked at the end when crossing the streams. It is EXTREMELY well marked with orange ribbons tied around trees at intervals. After the hike we washed off at the beach across the street.
Note: My phone did not have good enough connection to track the hike so my route as of 3/13/2016 is a drawn route, rather than GPS tracking.
The trail was in rough shape, overgrown, steep, challenging. There were some steep scrambles, pulling yourself up by branches, crawling through small spaces, and sliding on the prickly Lauhala leaves. Not pleasant, but fun! Once we reached the crest of the ridge, rather than going to the left toward the summit, we went toward the ocean first to explore some of the climbing. There were some intimidating vertical rock faces, and some serious drops on both sides. For those not accustomed to Hawaii hikes, BE AWARE there's a reason locals aren't bouldering in places like this. Seemingly solid holds often come loose. Our rocks are playful, they like to move and shift and crumble.
Unreal view of Kahana Bay and Pu'u Manamana across the way. Although not a long hike, give yourself a lot of time. Detailed directions can be found in "Hikers Guide to Oahu" by Stuart Ball.
Access: if your nav ap directs you to Trout Farm Rd, its wrong. The trail head is at the west end of the road in Kahana State Park. The entrance to the park is about a 1/4 mile north of Trout Farm Rd on 83.
Trail is kind of a plain, very narrow single-track jungle trail with four river/creek crossings; two shin deep and two to jump over. Lots of roots, and trunks to go over/under. Glad for the guy who marked the trail with orange tape, but going clockwise, he must have ran out of tape the last 3/4 mile(?) and made me question if I was off the trail! Good trail for hikers with a dog. I didn't see the mosquitoes today (Feb 8th) like others posted...,just a few. NOT a good trail for bikes. Few views, but a few more birds than most Oahu hikes.
Awesome jungle adventure. We'd never hiked in this climate before (we're from Central Oregon) and decided to do this trail while on vacation. 1) Make sure you park outside the residential area! 2) Deet is your BFF. 3) Stay to the left when you reach the trail. We accidentally took the old reservoir road instead of the actual trail. They meet up eventually, but we missed a good portion of the trail by not paying close attention. The trail itself appeared to be very well marked with pink and red markers fairly close together. We started around 9am and finished the loop in about 3 hours. Bonus: We had the trail all to ourselves. I'm not sure if it's because we were there relatively early or because it just doesn't get much traffic. Either way, it was nice to be off the beaten path for a few hours. Even if you're on vacation, we recommend taking some time off from your busy snorkeling schedule to enjoy this hike!
Trailhead is at the far end of the Kahana State Park past the small group of houses that locals still live in that pre-date the state park. Car parking is before entry to the locals housing area. Our car was undamaged upon return and the locals seemed friendly. As for the hike, our 7 and 8 year old kids zoomed around the entire loop trail with ease. It was a bit more of a slog for my wife and I. We did it in tennis shoes. Trail shoes would have been better. Waterproof hiking boots would have been best, along with water shoes or sandals. BRING BUG SPRAY!!!! There is a great swimming hole halfway around the loop with a "shoot the rapids" sort of feature that was fun for all. Head DOWNHILL through the mosquito-laden bamboo forest to get to this swimming hole. Finishing the loop counterclockwise and you get to the river with the rope swing into the swimming hole. Check the hole first for boulders and debris that may have washed over the dam. If the hole is clear of dangerous hidden items, test the rope. It is a very thick manila rope, but you never know. If is is strong, swing away. Cowabunga!. Oh...if you go around the loop clockwise you would get to the rope swing in two minutes of easy hiking, and the hike up and around clockwise to the second swimming hole would have been far easier, too. The other part of the loop (the western leg -- see map above right) has lots of switchbacks, tree roots, tree trunks and tree branches to maneuver around, and was far muddier. Inexperienced hikers might want to skip that leg of the loop entirely. Trail markings are easy to spot but infrequent. Bring water. Wear decent shoes. Long pants also recommended, with swimsuit underneath. We only saw two other people on this trail and we were there swimming over half the day. Warnign: even the "easier" (clockwise first half) leg of this trail might be nasty after a heavy rain. Check the weather report on the day you plan to hike. It seems, however, that someone (thankfully) helps manage the trail by laying down palm fronds to make it less of a mud slog. Mahalos!
Not a difficult hike, but very muddy with 2 small stream crossings and 2 creek crossings that may be impassible during heavy rain. My wife and I hiked this after a day of rain, and much of the trail was 6 inch deep mud. The third creek was about 2 feet deep and requires wading across, so I'd recommend bringing sandals in addition to good hiking shoes and to carry a towel to dry off for the last mile. Also bug spray is must as Mosquitos swarms are everywhere.
Absolutely love this trail!! It is tiring for hikers with little experience, but a novice can do this if they are in good shape. Must be able to cross streams and climb over fallen trees but it is an adventure with great views and I love the swimming hole at the end.
4 Stars only for the water.
Negatives: Very few photo worthy views, isn't challenging, full of mosquitos and barbed fronds, and it can be very muddy when it rains.
Positives: multiple FANTASTIC spots to jump in the river and swim around (One has a rope swing, more than deep enough for the jump), a few river crossings that were fun, isn't challenging, couple of bunkers to take pictures at, good trail markings, plenty of parking space(though you may have to walk), and it's right across from a beach.
Overall I had a really good time, and I even found a spot next to the river that I want to bring my wife to go camping at soon.