I’ve done this trail up to the waterfall several times before, but the goal this time around was to complete the entire trail up to the closed parking lot along Likelike Highway. The trail name is often mistaken for ‘Likelike’ but it is ‘Likeke’, named after Richard “Dick” Davis, the legendary “mountain goat” who built the trail with the help of others. We labeled it the ‘Tunnel to Tunnel’ hike since it started near the Pali tunnel and ended at the Wilson Tunnel.
This trail can be a bit confusing without the help of an experienced guide or guide book. But even with Ball’s book, there are some junctions that left us guessing. The best advice we got for this hike is to follow the main trail that runs parallel to the base of the Ko’olau mountains. Avoid any side trails that may lead you to the mauka or makai direction. There is a junction that is worth mentioning in this blog and it was not clarified in the book. When we arrived at this point near the end of the trail, we had to make a choice between taking a graded trail to the left or a descending trail to the right. We decided to go right. After 15 minutes of hiking and getting bit by mosquitos, we found ourselves going down towards the direction of Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens. Even though there were many ribbons, our instincts told us we were going the wrong way. Luckily, we followed our instincts. We retraced our steps and took the trail on the left. After only a few minutes, we arrived at the closed parking lot near the Wilson Tunnel. Right before we got to the asphalt surface of the abandoned lot, it was disheartening to see the disgusting sight of beer bottles a few feet away. They were all over the place and we couldn’t avoid stepping on them. This was the downside of the trail, to come so far and to see a total mess at the end.
But other than that, the trail offered some scenic views that made our efforts worthwhile. My favorite spot was the lookout where you can sit on a man-made bench constructed of branches from the strawberry guava tree. You can see most of Kaneohe Bay and behind is the beautiful Ko’olau Mountains. Deep in the trail, we were surrounded by native Hawaiian plants and we were fortunate to see some waterfalls flowing down the sheer cliffs. It was an extremely hot and muggy day. There were certain spots that felt like we were walking through a sauna. It was uncomfortable, but some of us took pleasure in the idea of this cleansing process, it felt like we were sweating out all the toxins from our body.