10 Mar Ko’olau Hike: Golf Course to Pali Look-Out
This trail is one of those hidden treasures you can drive by for years and never know it exists. After years of visiting friends at First Pres Church in the Ko’olau Golf Club (yep, you read that right – the church owns and meets in the golf club property), we finally realized there was a hiking trail leading from the parking lot. The very next day, we returned to check it out.
Pali Look Out Hike
This is a pretty easy 3.1 mile out-and-back hike up toward the Pali Look-out, with the option to add a side trip to Likeke Falls.
Getting there: Our friend showed us the most direct path from the Ko’olau Golf/Church parking lot, a thin dirt trail descending quickly to the Old Pali Highway. You can also follow these directions or this map and meet up with the road slightly further up – or find somewhere to park on Kionaole Road as you drive in (it makes a Y with the old highway and the road up to the golf course).
The hike essentially follows the abandoned highway up the Ko’olau mountains, which we thought was pretty darn cool. With a few small exceptions, the trail/road is relatively smooth (no big tangles of tree roots to step over) and not all that steep.
Note that when you pass the offshoot to Likeke Falls on your right, you’ll have a choice to follow a path down to the left or up to the right- go right and continue uphill. A bit further, you actually go under the current highway and mount this random ladder tethered to the rocks. From there you have the option to go left (which we didn’t do, but apparently leads to a Hidden Falls) or right, which is the continuation of the old road up to Pali Look-out.
There are some fabulous viewpoints along the path.
And, of course, once you reach the Pali Look-out, you have a great view over Kaneohe Bay and the Ko’olau’s on either side of you! I may be biased, but I’d say that the hike up was way more rewarding than driving to the Pali Look-out parking lot.
Heading back down the same way we came up, we decided to add on the hike to Likeke Falls. We had only read about it briefly and had the impression it would be easy and kid friendly. Compared to the Old Pali Road we had just done, this hike was definitely more challenging, though. The trail was narrow, sometimes muddy and slick, and required more climbing.
We weren’t really sure we had taken the correct route until some fellow hikers confirmed that we should continue following the bright pink ribbons and painted arrows.
Eventually we found our way to Likeke waterfall, a modest but pretty falls in the midst of jungle. There was a small pool in the stream where you could dip your feet in if you wanted.
Tips for Happy Hiking
As with almost any hike in Hawaii, it’s a good idea to bring sunscreen, bug spray, and plastic bags for muddy shoes (especially if doing the Likeke Falls part). If you’re into geocaching, you’ll find a few good caches here. Enjoy!
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