You can set out with kids in tow and not have to worry about anyone complaining: a flat road surrounded by botanical gardens lead you on a 30-minute stroll to a famous 50 foot waterfall. And break out the bathing suits – this is the only waterfall in Oahu you are permitted to swim in the water.
Visitors make pilgrimages to Hawaii for surfing lessons, tranquil turquoise waters and hammocks that sway between palm trees. But the nonprofit Hi`ipaka, which owns the Waimea Valley, offers unique cultural programs and guided hikes to areas once unavailable to the public. From a two-mile stroll through the rainforest to longer treks with stream-crossings, steep ridgeline climbs and heart-pumping journeys to the peak, cultural field educators cover native plant species, coffee roasting and island lore.
It may depend on your group’s interests or the conditions of the trail that day, but if you are lucky – and adventurous – you may just feel like an extra on the TV show “Lost” or films like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”; this exclusive valley served as the beautiful backdrop for some wild Hollywood moments – including action scenes tripping over climbing vines, bushwhacking through scratchy guinea grass, and the cries of the tropical birds echoing throughout the forest canopy.
Waimea, “The Valley of the Priests,” is a cultural phenomenon. It is a land rich in history, spirit and lore. In a 2003 archaeological assessment of the Valley, it was determined that some 80 percent of the area has never been examined and that many historical sites still lie buried underground. The sacred land details the story of more than 700 years of Native Hawaiian history, including two remaining temples, fishing shrines and burial caves tucked into the steep cliffs.
“ If you are visiting between November and February, don’t miss Waimea Bay on the North Shore where the island’s top surfers take on 30-foot waves ”
Address : 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, Oahu
Phone: (808) 638-7766
Web Address : waimeavalley.net
Distance/Drive Time from THE MODERN HONOLULU : Time from The Modern: 39.5 miles or 1 hour
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