Judd Trail –> Nu’uanau Trail, Hiking and Picnic Date with Duggs, 9-Jun-2011
(note: i originally published an unfinished version of this post on july 19, 2011 – i’m publishing the finished version on july 30. sorry about my techie fail!)
Saturday a week ago, my sweetie and I went on a super fun hiking date; I picked the trail and Duggs packed the picnic.
Judd Trail is close to the Pali lookout and seems to be connected or near to the Manoa Falls Trails. We had a really fun day, spending about five hours or so on the trails. We did a little bit of running, but mostly we took our time, stopped for photo-ops, chit chatted, and of course we shared a picnic lunch at the top. It was an awesome day!
Duggs and I have done the Manoa Falls hike and the Pauoa Flats trail, and loved the lush bamboo forest and the breathtaking views. We went on the Judd Trail hike hoping for something similar; while we really enjoyed the hike, it wasn’t as scenic as others we’ve done. Lots of residential backdrops kinda kill the mood. We could see fences and houses. Once we got to the Jackass Ginger Swimming Hole (a small waterfall drops into this tiny, but deep, swimming hole) we were practically in someone’s backyard. The Nu’uanu Trail is a lot better: it’s higher and away from housing, so once we got there we felt like we were actually in some wilderness.
Overall, the trails really are beautiful, don’t get me wrong… living in Hawaii can really spoil a person! We’re picky now. (And I love that getting-away-from-the-real-world aspect of hiking, so being too close to homes is a buzzkill fer sure).
The hike was very fun for the pooch! He was so excited to go (of course).
He loves running, playing in the mud, jumping around on steeper parts of trails. He does really well with some of the more challenging/technical parts of hikes- like climbing/jumping over rocks or logs. He’s good at scrambling!
We did however, find a hiking weakness that JayJers has: river crossings. He was so terrified and wouldn’t even try! Duggs had to literally carry him across, which was both funny and challenging. The water was moving pretty fast, making the rocks super slippery.
Judd Trail is a short one, and hugs the side of a small creek. There’s a river crossing in the beginning and then you just follow the water. The trail is pretty narrow and eventually gets you to the swimming hole (Jackass Ginger). If you just stick to Judd, you’d have an easy, short day.
Jackass Ginger Swimming Hole has a small waterfall that feeds into it. It’s cute, but it’s too public! One edge of the water is forest, the other a neighborhood. Chain-link fences and kids’ swingsets don’t really give you that ahh, nature! feel.
There were people already there and swimming both times we passed it (on the way up and on the way down), so we didn’t really get any pics. I found a pic online though, to give you an idea:
We decided to keep going, taking the next trail head we came to. Nu’uanu branches off and keeps taking the hiker towards the tops of the mountains. Going up!
Nu’uanu Trail was way more our speed. Like a lot of the trails in this part of the off-Pali hiking we’ve done, it seems like you gotta take one trail to get to another. So thus, Judd leads to the start of Nu’uanu.
No backyards to make it seem like tresspassing, we were able to relax a lot more. The hike is covered by tall treetops, so we spent the day happily in the shade. Eveery now and then we’ll get a little peek at some views. The trail zig zags up the mountain, so it’s lots of back and forthing. At time the incline was hardly noticeable, at others there was a pretty decent grade.
We even did some trail running. For the record, running on trails is a thousand times more fun than running on the road! I wish I had done crosscountry in high school, man, I missed out (I ran track as cross-training for swim team)! Running was fun, but my clumsiness supersedes fun ninety-nine percent of the time: I totally tripped!
We kept moving up and just had a really fun time. The trail is well-marked, clear and wide. There are enough roots, twisty turns, and short-cuts (with off-limits signs, oops) to keep it interesting.
When we got to a bench we found near the top, we had a lovely picnic! It was really charming.
Now, it’s lunch time!!
After re-fueling it was time to head back down. There wasn’t a spot that we found to be a clear-cut “peak.” We went on up past the bench for about thirty minutes, but nothing felt difinitive – it seemed like we could have kept going for hours. I think that the trails along the ridge just keep going and it’s how all these different trails connect. No point is the unequivocal top of the trail; as you’re hiking there are so many other mountains you can see in all directions and it’s easy to tell where your eye-level is… you start out seeing the bottoms of the other mountains when you look out, when we were at this bench our eye-level to neighboring green giants felt way closer to the tops than the bottoms, so we knew the end of the trail was near. For a minute we entertained the idea that maybe the trail was a loop and we should just keep going. But time wasn’t on our side, so we decided to play it safe and make it to the car before nightfall.
We actually started to get a little drizzle going on. After an afternoon in the heat, a little rain felt nice. Once we got back into the thick of the trail, trees offered a lot of protection from the rain and we couldn’t really feel any drip drops at all.
The way back down was really easy going and fun. We chatted and JJ had fun re-marking where he’d already been. Eventually we found Judd Trail again, and we followed to water back to the start.
All in all it was a really fun afternoon. Skill-wise, it was maybe an intermediate hike? I guess I wouldn’t call it easy, just because of how long it is, the river crossing and the incline in some sections. But we had a very breezy time with it. I don’t think we’ll get to hiking it again, but we’re glad to have done it once.
Need directions to Judd Trail?
Here are some links that we used:
Directions: From Waikiki, head west on the H-1 Freeway. Then go north on the Pali Hwy (Hwy 61) for about 2.5 miles to Nu’uanu Pali Drive, where there’s a traffic light. Turn right onto Nu’uanu Pali Drive (a residential street which eventually winds through a shady forest). In about a mile, at a bridge on a hairpin turn, there’s a rain-fed waterfall behind a fence (this is not Jackass Ginger Pool). Continue to a small pullout (parking available for two cars) just before the next bridge, where a small sign indicates theJudd Trail.