Puppy Mountain Hiking in Hawaii

Our Paws on the Path Hiking Club embarks on a new journey every month and visits a different trail each time. Don’t...

Posted by Hawaiian Humane Society on Sunday, March 8, 2015

ALOHA FROM JENNIE: A number of us seniors have active dogs who enjoy all that the islands have to offer, including grassy parks and sunny beaches. We recently discovered that our Hawaiian Humane Society and the 'Paws on the Path Hiking Club' coordinate a monthly hike for pooches, so I decided to take my relatively sedentary six year old basenji/boxer mix on a mountain hike.

The drive up to the windward side of Oahu is always pleasant, as you can see majestic lush mountains flanking the highway. We zip through various tunnels that have been cut into some of the mountains, as shown here.

We are heading for the Maunawili Ditch Trail, the initial three-mile leg of the longer ten mile Maunawili Demonstration Trail which extends all the way to the Pali region on East Oahu. The Maunawili Ditch portion starts in Waimanalo and allows hikers to meander through a lush forest at the bottom of the Koolau Mountain ranges.

Upon arriving at the staging area, my dog blends into a group of over three dozen humans and two dozen pups, with all the obligatory social sniffing that canines greet each other with.

The hike leader describes the Maunawili trail as a well marked path, easy for beginner hikers, and anticipates that the group will trot one and a half miles up to a circular turnaround and then come back down, resulting in a nice three mile trek for this newbie pair. As we enter the trail, we're quickly immersed in a forest of tall trees and dense green fauna.

The dogs quickly adapt to the pack's procession, heading upwards on the inclining trail. Some parts of the path are quite wide, while other areas are narrow, and there are portions of the trail that slope towards the edge. A slight drizzle keeps the air moist and visibility is hazy.

Everyone trudges past the tall trees, taking care to clamber over all the tree roots and rocks that litter the path, and enjoying the distant hazy views. Here's a four minute video that gives you a feel for the pace and scenery.

The return leg of the hike goes briskly, since it's downhill most of the way. Moderate rain is now falling, which changes the cool mist to a watery drizzle, creating a brown mud carpet throughout the trail. Everyone concentrates on stepping over branches, rocks and roots without losing one's footing. The showers let up slightly as we reach our cars, so we're able to towel mud off the damp pooches. Rain continues on the drive home, with a tired dog content to watch the mists drift past the car window. A hot shower, hearty meal and long nap awaits the canine trekker at home. 

Hope that you've enjoyed this glimpse into our puppy hiking adventure, and that you'll share the outings that are enjoyed by the dogs in your neck of the woods.