Hike To Old Hawaiian Ruins

When you were a kid, did you ever have a place that was just yours? A place away from the rest of the world? Your very own secret place? I did! I had a few, all of them out in nature. I would have never guessed that as an adult, I would come upon another place like this.

One of my best friends told me about a really neat place that she and her family had hiked to for fun one weekend. It was apparently not known by many, mostly just locals. Since I'm always ready for something new, I shoved my family in our Durango and went searching for this neat place. I had to make a few phone calls for directions before we found the specific path. Even with the extra phone calls, we ended up going down a very small path that, luckily, eventually led to the main one. Funny thing, months later I realized we were on a path probably made by the wild hogs that roam the islands. Haha! Yeah, put the dunce cap on top of my head and slap my wrists for possibly putting my kids in danger by stumbling upon a sleeping wild hog. Oopsies! ;)

I was expecting a harder hike but soon realized it was a very easy trail. Part of the trail goes through a small forest of bamboo and it was absolutely beautiful. The very end of the trail led us uphill a few steps and then we saw it.

Ancient Hawaiian ruins!

Also known as, Kaniakapupu Ruins, the summer palace of King Kamehameha III. Kaniakapupu means "song of the land shells." The site is also called luakaha, meaning "place of relaxation."



I knew immediatly that I had my new 'place'! <3

A little background on these ancient Hawaiian ruins. This was the summer home of King Kamehameha III. The King rested his warriors here, entertained foreign celebrities, and held luaus in celebration of Hawaiian Restoration Day.

The pictures of the structure you see is what is left of several buildings that used to make up this gathering place. Because it was the home of Hawaiian Royalty, it was considered forbidden or kapu, which is an old Hawaiian word for sacred, holy, or forbidden.

The grounds are very sacred and it is a very spiritual place. Visitors need to remember to be respectful of the Hawaiian history and culture when at the site. Do not touch, step on, or climb on the rocks. There is plenty of room to walk around and enjoy without disturbing what is left of these ruins. In front of the memorial, people leave gifts on the plaque you see above. DO NOT touch the food, leis, flowers, or other possessions/gifts that are left in front of the memorial.

This is a location you will not find in any Oahu guide books. Definitely off the beaten path. I advise using a guide to help you make it safely to the site and to help give you some rich background connected to such a special gathering place. 

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  1. Where is this at? Iʻl love to take my family!

    1. The site is located on Nuuanu Pali Drive, about 300 feet mauka (toward the mountains) of the Board of Water Supply building. There is a trail that leads from the road to the ruins after about 300 feet (90 m). You will love it! We have had picnics there as a family. Let me know how it goes. :)