Kalihi Ice Ponds

A dip in this chilly water will have you rattling your teeth.

History and Geography: Adventurers were we on a random weekday morning as coffee in hand and dew in our eyes led us blindly up to the Naohia Falls, now more commonly called Kalihi Ice Ponds, for an experience like no other. Kalihi Ice Ponds are a set of three-tiered waterfalls and pools located in the back of Kalihi Valley. This easy walk is almost not something you’d think of when you go hiking, but then again we have Kahana Nakoa and the Manoa Fall Trail which also have ease of access.

Kalihi is considered a multi-ethnic and middle-working class district of Honolulu, was said to have been named by King Kamehameha V . Meaning “the edge” in the Hawaiian language, the history of this neighborhood is filled with stories of 1900′s sugar cane plantation workers transitioning into city life, farmers, cannery workers, and teachers; of famous fishponds, called Loko i’a; and later as the Receiving Station for leprosy patients screened for treatment or to be sent to the  Kalaupapa colony on the island of Molokaʻi. The contour of the valley was created by its streams and openness in lower sections come from the widening of the valley as it reaches the Honolulu harbor. The flatlands at the bottom of the valley now hold such landmarks as the prestigious Kamehameha private school and Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, a famed site of old world Hawaiian culture culminating from years and millions in research and preservation.  Among those are the businesses in the commercial district such as Hawaiian Chip Company and the Kalihi Corner Kitchen, family owned restaurants all trying to make a living in a bustling, grown-up district.

Kalihi Ice Ponds

Another view of the frigid falls as hikers make their way up.

Directions:

Kalihi St. to the End – located at the end of this road are some residential areas and businesses. Be quiet, respectful, and timely in parking your vehicle out of sight, out of mind. Cross the wooden bridge and do not disobey No Parking signs or expect to hitchhike your way home on the way back. If you have a loud engine, you probably shouldn’t even go to this site if you can’t be considerate enough to carpool with a quieter vehicle. There is a continuation of the Kalihi St, worn and not used, that will continue up the hill for some 1500 yds. The fenced section has an access point on the right to follow the road along one bridge section, then a steady 400 ft climb over the course of a half-hour along this old road.

Rope Climb

Hardest part of the hike is a 60ft section requiring rope to climb down to the fall. Located on the right side of the road a little more than a mile, this is the entrance to the Kalihi Ice Pond.

Heavy flow of Kalihi Ice Ponds

When the rain pours, the falls come alive. With a little persistence and good luck, you may catch a full flow like the one pictured.

Once you have rope climbed up the first fall, you have the chance to see the other two falls behind it. Viewable from the banks of the first, this is a much closer vantage point for the effort.

Once you have rope climbed up the first fall, you have the chance to see the other two falls behind it. Viewable from the banks of the first, this is a much closer vantage point for the effort.

 

A tree branch wedged in the mud offers a nice spot to snap a pic of more hikers scaling up the rock facing.

A tree branch wedged in the mud offers a nice spot to snap a pic of more hikers scaling up the rock facing.

Below This Section Recounts One of the Dangers of Going During Rainfall. Please Use Caution and Never Hike Alone. Mahalo. (Note: All debris was cleared after this storm.)

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Careful when hiking in bad weather, this flood shows how quickly even a paved road can fall victim to weathering under Oahu rain.

Careful when hiking in bad weather, this flood shows how quickly even a paved road can fall victim to weathering under Oahu rain.

Jumping InChance a Swim in the Waters?