This past friday I woke up with absolutely no idea of what I was going to do. I did not roll out of the bed until around 10am so I automatically ruled out doing any hike that would be time consuming. Since my dad was visiting I wanted to take and show him something nice and I knew that he had wanted to head up to the north shore, so we left the house and set out for the H3, with absolutely no idea where we were heading from there. As we cruised across the H3 it started pouring down rain. I was not really shocked because it has been cloudy every day as of late and the rain has been pretty standard over the past few weeks. As the rain continued to pour down, I began to contemplate hiking to Wailele falls in Laie. Last time I had been there the falls were not going but surely they would be today after all the rain we had been recieving. So I advised my dad to take the H3 to kamehameha highway where we would begin the beautiful shoreline drive to Laie. As we got further down the coast line I became irritated by all of the rain and from the looks of things ahead of us, it looked to be pouring in Laie and on the north shore. The rains suddenly stopped completely as we drove past kahana bay and I glanced over at the stream and saw that it was surprisingly clear. I remembered that there was a tiny swimming hole that you could walk to from the park across the street from Kahana bay. I figured that the rain suddenly dicipating was a sure sign that kahana valley was the hike that was meant for us on this day.
Just before we reached the entrance for Kahana bay beach park we took a left into the Kahana Valley state park on the opposite side of the street and drove past the visitor center and to the end of the road where a gate blocks further progress. We parked on the right side of the road at a pull out and continued past the gate and up the gravel road on foot. My original intention was to take the short stroll down to the swimming hole on Kahana stream and to swim and hang out there shortly and then to drive to Laie with hopes that the weather would clear up and that we could atempt to hike Wailele Falls. As we got to the trailhead I saw ribbons and a trail that led in to the valley and to the left of that trail was a gravel road. I figured that the valley trail with ribbons was surely the trail that would take us to the swimming hole. It turned out that it did but only after a two and a half hour hike. Had we just walked down the gravel road instead for just a few minutes we would have reached the swimming hole and could have avoided the somewhat boring two and a half hour valley hike.
I hate talking bad about any trail here on Hawaii since I love nature and this island so much, but this hike was honestly one of the most boring I have ever been on. The swimming hole at the beginning of the hike (or what was the end of our hike) consists of about a five minute stroll down a gravel road and is the highlight of the hike. We saw some other swimming holes and pools along the valley trail, that we had to detour to get to, but the main attraction and the only real reason for visiting here, in my opinion, would be the easily accessible swimming hole at the start of the trail. It was absolutely beautiful and I had a great time swimming and playing. There is a rope swing that allows you to swing out into the stream and drop down as well, and is a ton of fun.
If you decide to take the short stroll to the swimming hole just simply drive past the visitor center once entering kahana valley state park and then follow the road until you see a gate impeding further progress. Park on the right side of the road there and walk the rest of the road on foot. Upon reaching a huge board with pictures and information on the hike, take a left and walk a few minutes to the stream and the swimming hole via a gravel road. The valley hike starts in the same spot but instead of going down the gravel road there will be a trail to the right heading into the valley. There are many sidetrails in the valley and it is very easy to get lost so I would suggest doing your research before hiking or buying stuart balls book, "The Hikers Guide to Oahu" to assist you on this hike. To me the valley hike is not worth the time and effort but I am sure there are many people out there who might enjoy it as an easy day outing. Whatever you do though, be sure to make it to the swimming hole. It may be the best on Oahu.