Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

Best Hikes on Oahu: The Likeke Falls Trail

Basic Information

  • Name: Likeke Falls Trail
  • Where: Kaneohe, Hawaii
  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Max Elevation: 1,055 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 515 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • More Information: The Hikers Guide to O’ahu

Topographic Map of the Likeke Falls Trail

Likeke Trail Topo Map

Google Earth Map of the Likeke Falls Trail

Likeke Trail Google Earth Image

Narrative

For those that do not want to deal with the crowds that can flock to other waterfalls in the Honolulu area, Likeke Falls in Kaneohe is a good alternative.  The trailhead for this waterfall is located at the Ko’olau Golf Club just off of the Pali Highway:

The Ko’olau Golf Club lives up to its name because it has a spectacular view of the surrounding Ko’olau Mountains:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

I think the fact that the trailhead is located on the property of the golf course and can be a bit confusing to find may be why the crowds have not flocked to this waterfall despite being easy to hike to.  The trailhead for the Likeke Trail that leads to its namesake waterfall does not have any signs.  What hikers have to do is park in the corner of the parking the farthest away from the clubhouse:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

From the far end of the parking lot look for the small road leading into the rainforest:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

The small road has a chained gate across it:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Here is a picture of the small road leading into the rainforest:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

After a short walk this small road leads to a large water tank covered in graffiti:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

At the water tank the Likeke Trail can be seen going into the jungle on the left:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

A short walk up the trail leads to a clearing where the cliffs above the famed Pali Lookout can be seen:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

From the lookout I could see the small hole in the cliff known as the Pali Puka:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Here is a closer look at the Pali Puka:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

A short distance after the clearing an old trail can be seen that used to cross the Ko’olau Mountains that connected Honolulu to Windward Oahu:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

This old trail is still in remarkably good shape in some sections of the trail:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

While walking up the trail it is important to remember that there are no signs pointing out how to find Likeke Falls.  The turn off to the waterfall is found about a half mile up the trail where this large tree is growing at:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

The tree is easily identifiable because of all the carved graffiti in it and the small arrow pointing towards the waterfall:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Here is a wider angle view of the turn off to Likeke Falls from the main trail:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

The first portion of the trail leading to the waterfall is surrounded in dense foliage:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

The trail then begins to ascend up the hill side:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

When the trail begins to have sections with water flowing over it, this is the indication that the falls are near:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

As I approached the falls I could hear the sounds of children playing ahead of me:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

The kids were there with their parents having fun playing in the waterfall:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Likeke Falls was actually much bigger than I was expecting:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Interestingly the Likeke Falls are named in honor of Richard H. Davis who was a member of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club.  He built the Likeke Trail that accesses the waterfall.  Likeke is Hawaiian for Richard.  Also something else that is interesting about Likeke Falls is that it is a man-made waterfall.  The waterfall was accidentally made when workers constructing the Pali Tunnels drilled into water bearing rock.  Because of this mistake there is now a beautiful waterfall:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

I spent about 15 minutes hanging out at the waterfall watching the kids play before turning around and heading back to the main trail:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

At the main trail I decided to ascend it and see where it goes.  As I walked up the main trail I came to an intersection in the middle of the jungle:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

I decided to go right and the trail began to ascend up the hillside around various boulders:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

After passing through the boulders the trail became completely overgrown with vegetation to point it would require me to crawl through it:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

At this point I decided to turn around and see where the other trail at the intersection led to.  As I walked up the other trail this one began to ascend up the hillside on a much more manageable trail:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

The trail actually improved the higher up the mountain that I went:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

I even began to have a few views of Windward Oahu through the dense foliage:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

I then came to a lookout where I could see the Pali Highway just above me:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Below me I could see the Kianaole Road which is a private road used by the golf course:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Here is a panorama of the view from the lookout:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

From the lookout I then began to ascend the steepest section of the hike:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Fortunately the dirt was dry because if this section of the trail was muddy it would be a slippery and much more difficult ascent:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

At the top of the trail I found myself at the Pali Highway:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Along the highway I walked towards the Pali Tunnels which were the source of the water flowing down to Likeke Falls:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Here is a closer look at the tunnels:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

On the tunnels I noticed this large plaque announcing its construction from 1956-1959:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

From the tunnels I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a great view of Windward Oahu:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Down below me I could see the golf course as well as the city of Kaneohe:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Out in the distance I could see the famed sandbar of Kaneohe Bay:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Also out in Kaneohe Bay I could see Coconut Island which was once the set for the classic Gilligan’s Island television show:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

Even further out in the distance I could see Chinaman’s Hat located at the Kualoa Regional Park:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

To the north of Kaneohe I could see the small hill where the Bunkers Trail is located that offers some great views of Kaneohe Bay:

Picture from the Likeke Trail

 

Conclusion

After taking in the views I then descended back down the trail the way I had come.  While descending I helped a few people find the turn off to Likeke Falls. Overall the hike to Likeke Falls is quite easy since it less than in a mile in length.  However, for people looking to add a little bit more challenge and a good view it is worth it to hike up to the Pali Tunnel Overlook as well.  This excursion extends the hike to 1.8 miles in length roundtrip.  The views and the waterfall along this trail may not be the best in Oahu, but they are some of the easiest to access in less than 2-miles of hiking.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *