The Makiki Valley Loop Trail is located at the Makiki Valley State Recreation Area, just 10 minutes from downtown Honolulu. It’s proximity to the dense urban center of Oahu makes it a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers. Its extensive network of trails ranges from beginner to expert difficulty and you will see a collage of hikers from every skill level and aspiration enjoying the lush valley and striking views. The Makiki Valley Loop Trail is actual made up of three separate trails. Maunalaha Trail and Kanealole Trail both lead to the Makiki Valley Trail which traverses the ridge line above the historic valley. The 2.5 mile loop created by the combination of these trails makes for a moderately challenging family adventure that will leave you tired but satisfied! To get to the trailhead enter Makiki Valley State Recreation Area and park in the parking lot to the left. Grab your gear and kids and head a little further up the road you drove in on until you reach the Hawaii Nature Center on your right. Just past the Nature Center there are restroom facilities, a few picnic tables and facilities to clean your shoes. Make any breaks you need and then head to the bridge just to the east of the restrooms and walk for about 5 minutes up the path, through the ruins of a coffee plantation and past the taro lots, until you reach an intersection with a brown and yellow sign that displays a map of your adventure to come. Take a quick look at the sign to familiarize yourself with the trail and then choose a direction. To the right, is the Maunalaha Trail. It is the steeper of the two and laden with roots. To the left, is the Kanealole Trail which has a more gentle grade but is covered with rocks. Both are approximately the same distance, 0.7 miles, and take you up the ridge to the Makiki Valley Trail. At the completion of your uphill trek, signs greet you at the top of the ridge pointing out the intersecting trail. Head to the right if you came up the Kanealole Trail or slightly to the left and down the hill if you came up the Maunalaha Trail. You will be on the Makiki Valley Trail for approximately 1.1 miles until you reach the last of the three trails which will take you back to the trailhead near the Nature Center. At the intersection of the Makiki Valley Trail and the Maunalaha Trail, you will see a sign for the Ualaka’a Trail. You can take this trail for approximately 0.5 miles for a unique view of Diamond Head. Be sure to stay to the left, towards Round Top Drive, at the intersection and shortly afterwards look to the southeast over the vegetation and you should see the great symbol of Oahu. Depending on the foliage, this may be a worthy side trip, but sometimes it can be overgrown and the view blocked. The entire adventure should take 2-2 1/2 hours depending on how much time your family spends enjoying the greenery and views. This is not a stroller friendly hike. Rocks, roots, and lengthy uphill sections make it impractical. School age children who have the endurance should be able to handle the trail with help, but watch out for very steep drop offs on multiple sections of the trail. There are no fences or barriers and one misstep can be disastrous! Toddlers and below should be in a backpack or carrier. Bring plenty of water, a hat, your camera, and bug spray! Be sure to review basic hiking safety precautions and check the weather, parts of the trail can be muddy. This is a delightful trail full of vegetation, history, and scenic vistas and a great trail for the family. A wonderful escape from the city disturbances, we recommend this for your adventurous family.