Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kahana Valley - Nakoa Trail & additional loop upstream

Trails: Nakoa Trail (first loop) and another loop that I don't know the name of
Distance: 5.8 Round trip (7.2 miles if parked at Kahana Valley/Ahupua'a 'O Kahana State Park entrance)
Elevation Gain: 300 - 400 ft
Hiking time: 3 hours at a relatively fast pace.
Note: Allow for more time if you want to go for a swim
Area: Windward Side - Above Ka'aava
Trailhead: Kahana Valley/Ahupua'a 'O Kahana State Park - end of road
Trailhead Coordinates: Nakoa Trail Head: N21 32.541 W157 53.049
Closest Visitor Parking: N21 33.019 W157 52.897
Sights: Kahana Stream
Directions via bus: Takes about 1.5 hours. Take the 55 from Ala Moana Center towards Kaneohe. The bus will announce Kahana Valley beach park, then Kahana Valley Park. Enter the park and continue to follow the road up, through a quite residential area, and past a gate blocking the road. Walk up
Directions via car:From Waikiki or downtown, find the Pali Highway and go North towards Kailua. At Castle Junction after the hairpin turn on the Pali Highway, turn left onto Kamehameha Highway. Follow this for awhile along the Windward coast. You'll pass Kaneohe, drive through several small towns, past Koalua Ranch on the left. Kahana Valley will be at a point where the road winds around left into a valley. There will be Kahana Beach/bay on the right and a park entrance with a sign, Ahupua'a 'O Kahana State Park (see pic below). Enter the park and follow the road up. You'll have to park on the right side before the residential area. There's a sign that says vistor parking
Recommendations for hike: The thing that stands out on this trail are the stream crossings. Prepared to get your feet wet, literally. You may be able to find a path of stones on some but others I had no choice but to just walk through the stream. It's also muddy. Some sneakers or boots.
Swim trunks/bathing suit if you want to swim. Just make sure you don't have open wounds and you should be fine.
Bug spray. Water. No sunscreen needed.

This is a relatively easy hike. It's getting to the starting point that is time consuming. It is on the Windward side midway between the northern most point, Turtle Bay, and Kaneohe. It is located in Kahana Valley and is a nice double loop. You have the option of doing just the first loop, Nakoa Trail, which is under 3 miles with less stream crossings. You'll hike all of Nakoa either way. I enjoyed it because it follows the stream and there are many points where you have to cross. There are some interesting spots along the stream to just chill out as well.

So just follow Nakoa trail til you find an open area some bunkers. Please see pictures below. Here you have the option to do the single loop by following Nakoa Trail to the left or continue on. Veer slightly right and take the path to the right of the bunkers. Soon after, there will be a fork. The left descends towards the stream. The right follows a ridge above the stream. I went right.

A majority of the trail is marked with pink ribbon. Always be on the look out as they will guide you through the various stream crossings. At every crossing, I was able to see a ribbon at the opposite side. At the end of the trail, there is wide part of the stream with a dam. It's deep enough to swim and even a rope for you to swing into the stream. After the sign that indicates the end of Nakoa Trail, follow the road up and you'll find the Nakoa Trail entrance.

Entrance to Kahana Valley Park

Walking up to the trail head

Right before this sign, you'll see an open area on the left with a picnic table. At this sign go left...

and look to the right!

One of the first things I noticed. Curious what it tastes like but didn't try.

It wouldn't be an Oahu trail without some strawberry guavas.

An interesting mess of plants

All of them were hanging upside down like this

So this is a significant point on the trail. Here you can either go left and complete Nakoa Trail. Otherwise if you want to see more of the stream, veer slightly to the right. You'll see the bunkers below. Stay to the right of them. There are some other directions that I have not explored yet.

Yes! Bamboo forest! Where's my katana!

View from above the stream. You'll have plenty of chances for views like this.

Told ya.

One more

Crossing. Becareful, it's slippy (slippery)

uh.. me...

Another crossing

Okay the sun was setting. It wasn't that dark though. This was just taken with flash.

Okay these tree leaves were annoyingly sharp. It's like getting a papercut. They are from the Hala trees which are very common.

This is the final crossing back on the Nakoa Trail. Right across the stream is the official End of Nakoa Trail.

The rope on the right. Wanted to try.

Arranged on the ground like that.

1 comment:

  1. Summer - summerisgreen@gmail.comAugust 11, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    this hike is kinda sketchy... i've gotten sooo soo lost doing it!?