Sunday, January 20, 2008

Top Three Family Hiking Adventures While Visiting Oahu

While Oahu s Waikiki beach may be the most popular Hawaiian destination, the main island offers several family friendly hiking adventures to balance out those hours of surf and sand. Here are the top three, must see hiking sites on Oahu. Hiking at Diamond Head Diamond Head is the most famous Hawaiian mountain. Its actual name is Mt. Leahi, but early visitors mistook the glittering calcite crystals of the crater at the base of the mountain to be diamonds and named the area Diamond Head. The spot was once a strategic military lookout and today is home to a National Guard Depot and an FAA building. Remains of the former heavy military presence can still be spotted, like gun emplacements and tunnels built into the mountain. The trail itself is easy to hike and takes about 45 minutes. The trip offers panoramic views at the top. The adventure will take you through the mountain and up 100 concrete steps so wear sensible footwear. The trail is equipped with safety guardrails and begins at the crater floor and continues for 0.7 of a mile to the 760 foot summit. A circa 1908 military bunker remains at the top and was originally a U.S. Coast Artillery Observation Station. Hikers should pack plenty of fluids, a flashlight for the trek through the mountain tunnel, binoculars and a camera to capture the spectacular sights from the top. The Clean Air Team sponsors free guided hikes from Honolulu Zoo to Diamond Head every Saturday at 9 AM. Hiking at Manoa Falls Manoa Falls is a spectacular 150 foot waterfall off a nearly vertical cliff set in lush rainforest surroundings. The trailhead begins over a footbridge and continues for 0.8 miles with a gradual ascent. Access is prohibited at the small pool at the base of the waterfall. Safe boundaries are clearly marked with signs and cables in the viewing area. Visitors should not bring along dogs on this trail as hunting dogs are used in the area to control the wild pig population. Hikers should wear proper footwear as the trail travels through bamboo and rainforest terrains that may be wet or muddy. Bring along water, rain gear and mosquito repellant. Visiting Pali Lookout Pali Lookout offers spectacular views from the tops of steep and very windy cliffs. In fact, the area is so windy that it carries mist from the nearby waterfalls and makes the trail nearly 20 degrees cooler than in Waikiki, so bring a jacket, rain gear and prepare for a windy trip. The trail is easy to transverse and can offer a cool change of climate on especially hot days. Climb to the top and you will be rewarded with spectacular unobstructed views of the windward side of the island. This spot is rumored to have been the place where King Kamehameha drove some 16,000 warriors to their deaths over the steep edge of the cliff. These three hiking trails are suitable for all ages and nearly all fitness levels. Always bring along water and a small first aid kit and never stray from the marked trails. Don t forget to pack your camera to record the breathtaking sights and create a memorable family keepsake of your Hawaiian hiking adventure. Jim Dornfeld has been offering his own private and distinctive Hawaiian condo rentals to guests since 1998. Today he has 96 of the finest privately-owned Oahu condo rentals available to choose from, offering some of the finest accommodations on the islands.

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