The Likeke trail goes along the base of the Koolaus on Oahu’s windward side, between the Likelike and Pali Highways. This trail is not as scenic or easy to hike as the Maunawaili Trail on the other side of the Pali, but you get to visit a nice waterfall and there are a couple of sections where you go up high and have some great views. The parking lot at the Likelike end of the trail has been closed off, so you have to go back the way you came. I had procrastinated about hiking the western part of this trail for this reason, but by hiking with a hiking club I recently discovered that there is a way you can make this hike a loop by hiking in the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden. This article describes that loop, which is a much more varied and interesting hike.
Getting there: From Honolulu take the Lunalilo Frwy. westbound and then the Likelike Fwy. north. After passing the Kahekili Hwy. in Kaneohe, take a right on Anoi Rd. and the the fourth right on Luluku Rd., which leads to the entrance to Hoomaluhia. Park in the visitor center parking lot. Admission is free. This loop takes about four to five hours to complete and is suitable for intermediate to advanced hikers. Bring rain gear and strong bug spray. As always, hike with others and tell people where you are going.
You start by walking along the road going back towards the entrance, and then turn left on a fairly obvious connector trail. This soon goes under the H3 Frwy., and at the t-junction you turn left on the Likeke trail. For a while there isn’t much to see, and the noise of the freeway can be quite loud, but eventually you get into some more native vegetation and climb to the first area with good views, where there is a makeshift bench. There are a couple of other similar areas as you make your way in and out of gullies. After about two hours, depending on your pace, soon after passing through some mango tree groves you reach Pali Falls, which is photogenic although there is no pool for swimming. Here is a good place to stop for lunch. Click here for an article on another route to this waterfall.
Continue on past the waterfall, and at a t-junction with a large trail made of big rocks turn left. (If you go right that is the way to return to the Pali lookout as described in my other article.) Within ten minutes you come you to the Koolau Golf Club parking lot. (This means that by parking here you could hike only ten minutes to get to the waterfall, so that would be a good introduction to hiking in Hawaii for beginning hikers.) Now comes some road walking. Turn right and walk along the access road. At the first t-junction turn left on Kionaole Rd., and then turn left again and cross over the H3 Freeway. Reach an electrical power station and walk along the mountain side perimeter fence. Soon you reach another fence perpendicular to that one, and there is a small gap between the two where you can squeeze through. You are now in the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden. Simply follow the road back to where you parked. The road mostly hugs the mountain side of Hoomaluhia, and there are several places where you can take shortcuts by getting off the road. Doing so will make your hike considerably more enjoyable. Click here to view a map of Hoomaluhia to print out and take with you. If you get lost, just head uphill until you reach the road again.