Ruins, better known
as King Kamehameha III summer home,
is an unforgotten treasure and piece of Hawaiian history that is tucked
away on this Nu'uanu Oahu hike! Unlike other challenging Oahu hiking
trails, there really is no hike involved but a light trek to
the ruins and Luakaha Waterfall.
But be warned that this site is deemed on private land, and is
currently being reviewed for barriers for protection from vandals and
King Kamehameha III summer home dates back to 1847. It was only used for a few decades before being abandoned for unknown reasons, and considered an “old ruin”.
Located in Nu’uanu Valley, up towards the Pali Lookout, this site was used to escape the summer heat. It was a place where the King could retreat from western influence and discuss governing matters with his people and chiefs.
One recorded event stated that over 10,000 Hawaiians gathered
for an entertaining luau. Walk the area and it’s hard to
how so many people could fit in this dense area. Other
show King Kamehameha I resting with his warriors in this area, during
conquest of Oahu.
With no real hike involved getting to the
Kaniakapupu Ruins, it still can be adventurous getting
There is no dedicated parking area, no marked Oahu hiking trails, nor are there
many hikers in the
Your journey starts once you enter a small tunnel opening into
dense bamboo forest. The opening is small but
distinct…but if you don't know where it is, it can seem impossible to find!
The bamboo tunnel trail starts off dense and
straight on the trail, and climb over a large fallen log that blocks
the pathway. Turn left shortly after
small trail opening that travels upward.
If you remain straight on the trail, you will encounter a neat
stream bed at the end. It's located not too far from the fallen
log, if you decide to check it out.
Continue traveling on the trail, once you turn up from the main trail, for about another 100 yards. You know you’re close when you come across an old rock wall, which marks the beginning boundary for the Kaniakapupu site.
Just a little farther up and you will see the remains of King Kemehameha III’s summer home in a clearing.
Walking towards the structure you will find an ancient rock
that was constructed along with it.
The structure is a small single story, 3-tiered stone structure
constructed with western influence, and the guidance of the Hawaiians,
such as slightly off centered windows that were put in place to ward
off the Night Marchers.
The grass roof is long gone,
few walls remain in place along with the main doorway entrance, and a
window with a beautiful view.
Alongside the impressive Kaniakapupu Ruins is the “kitchen area”, which also comprises what looks to be a large elevated fire pit made out of large rocks.
Coral reef was melted down is this area, to create a mortar for the rock walls.
This historical site, sacred or not, is one of the most impressive
forgotten old structures on Oahu! It’s a simple ruin in an
undisturbed area, yet with a strong presence that you can’t help but
feel as if standing in the footsteps of ancient Hawaiian warriors,
As you can see from the picture, it's located somewhere off the old Pali Road...after that you're on your own.
Due to large activity and vandalism surrounding the ruins, we have decided to remove the directions in this section. If you know the way, or are able to find it, please enter with respect!
If you do not know how to get there, it is not recommended to try on your own and wonder aimlessly through the dense brush. You can could easily get lost or hurt.
Good hiking shoes
A light hooded rain jacket
Water & snack
Parking: unfortunately there are a lot of car
this area (mainly at the Pali Lookout). Thieves are looking
easy targets, and visible valuables. Do not leave ANYTHING
unattended in your vehicle! I would also recommend visiting
ruins in the morning to help avoid any occurrences.
Lulumahu Falls is an impressive 50 ft plus waterfall located close to King Kamehameha III's summer home.
It's quite an adventure getting there, as you'll need to travel across some old hunting grounds, through a bamboo forest, along the Nu'uanu Reservoir, and up a narrow stream to get there.
Just up the road is the famous Pali Lookout, where King Kamehameha
battled the last of his enemies over tall cliffs. Today you
drive up to the lookout and admire one of the most amazing views
of the Windward Coast, as you brace yourself against the whipping winds
blowing up the mountainside.
Continue your journey down the Pali Hwy and explore the beautiful Windward Coast, as you admired above. Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach are two of the most beautiful Oahu beaches on the island! It should only take you 15 minutes to reach these gem beaches from the ruins.