Judd Memorial Trail and Kaniakapupu ruins


The Judd Memorial Trail is a one-mile loop just off the Nuuanu Pali Dr. The trail only gains 250 feet and is wide with good footing most of the way. Near the stream bed that it follows at the bottom of the loop there are some roots which can be slippery during the rainy winter months. Be prepared for two stream crossings – on the way in and the way out. Water socks worked well for our group. Sam wears Merrell hiking shoes with mesh uppers and self-draining scuppers (can you believe that? his gear is way better than mommy’s!).

Treachery: Slippery roots for about 15% of the hike, and potentially very slippery scramble down to the Jackass Ginger Pool just off the trail.
Sun exposure: None! Shady the whole way, gang!
Lunch spot: A few good boulders by the pool, otherwise you’re looking at sitting on big roots or just the ground.
Exertion: Pretty easy hike. Even a toddler can do this one with a little help every now and then. This would be a good starter trail for the family new to hiking with kids.

Other: We got eaten alive by mosquitoes when we stopped briefly for a snack. The trail was wet and they were awaitin’ for us! Do use bug spray before you start, and bring some along. See my insect repellent section for a review of kid-friendly sprays.

Trailhead: From Honolulu, take Pali Hwy to Nuuanu Pali Dr. Just after hairpin turn to the right, look for #4018 on the left and a small parking area to the right with a little trailhead sign on the right. There is only room for a couple cars. Walk across stream and head right to begin the trail. Hug the stream bed for 0.1 mi until you see a junction – loop starts here. To the left is the long way around – after gaining 250′ in elevation on a gentle grade over 0.9 mi you come to Jackass Ginger Pool. If you continue straight at the junction, you’ll reach the pool in about 0.1 mi.

Kaniakapupu Ruins
Another 0.5 mi down Nuuanu Pali Dr (toward Kailua) you will see a Board of Water Supply building on the left. Across the road and about 20 yards further up you will see a trail cutting into a bamboo forest. Continue on this trail 300′ or so, then take the first left turn and proceed another 350′ or so. You will come upon a clearing with the ruins of King Kamehameha III’s summer home. This is a really neat extension to your hike. I found it fascinating to see the ruins, and hard to believe that this area somehow hosted 10,000+ people for a luau in 1847! Where did they all sit? There are several waterfalls in the area here, so it must have been a peaceful place to visit.

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