This is a fun hike that starts at the Pali Lookout. It’s about 3 1/2 miles out and back. Most of the trail is paved, down the Old Pali Highway, which was closed when the current Pali Highway was built. The Old Pali Highway has a sordid history. Because it was isolated, away from Kailua town, it became a place to go for drug deals, assaults and murders. It is also built over the site of one of the biggest battles of King Kamehameha. There are lots of local legends about hauntings along this road.
The Basic Info:
Distance: about 5 miles round trip
Time: 2-3 hours, plus time spent looking at the falls and views.
Elevation Gain: about 1200 feet
Where: This hike starts at the Pali Lookout. Take the H-1 West to Pali Highway. Head toward the mountains. Follow the Pali Highway and look for the Pali Lookout signs. Follow the signs and park at the lookout. Parking for non-residents is $3.00.
Other Things You Should Know: In order to go on this hike, you are going to have to ignore a sign or two. The hike starts to the right of the Pali Lookout. You’ll see a sign that says road closed, and a sign or two warning about falling rocks. You’ll need to ignore those and walk down that closed road with the potentially falling rocks.
It can be super windy at the Pali Lookout. Don’t let that discourage you. I almost didn’t go on this hike because I thought that the whole hike would be that windy. It’s not at all.
You’ll need to climb down a wooden ladder and crawl under the New Pali Highway to continue down the Old Pali Highway. When you get to the intersection with the New Pali Highway, you’ll see that someone has built a wooden ladder to help in getting down under the New Pali Highway. Take the ladder down, and then stay to the left, crouching down under the New Pali Highway to the other side. Don’t go down to the right after the ladder. You’ll follow a small trail through the grass for a short distance until you find the Old Pali Highway again.
From there, follow the abandoned road as it goes down. It will intersect with another abandoned road, Au’uloa Rd. At the intersection, look to your left. You’ll see a concrete railing and a power pole. Look behind the concrete railing, and you’ll see some steps that lead up. That’s the way you want to go. It might be a little muddy here. Follow the steps up along the ridge through the woods. When you come to a 4-way intersection, keep going straight. You’ll come to an old cobblestone road. Follow this down a bit and keep an eye out to your left. You’ll see the side trail to Likele Falls.
The side trail is interesting. There were some roots and bushes that create a kind of tunnel. If you’re tall, you’ll have to crouch. Follow this along until you come to a stream. Follow it upstream until you find the falls.
From there you can either hike out the way you came, or continue along the cobblestone road to a sorta kinda trail that leads back to Au’uloa Road. This is what I did. The trail once the cobblestone road ends is kind of iffy. I got off trail a couple of times and thought I might have to turn around and go back the other way. Eventually I figured out where to go and found my way back to Au’uloa road right at a bridge. Follow Au’uloa road back up to the Old Pali Highway intersection and then retrace your steps all the way back up to the Pali Lookout.