Kaniakapupu Ruins, formerly the summer home of King Kamehameha III, is a hidden treasure on the island of Oahu. Not technically a public trail, the trek to the ruins is easy and scenic.
Finding the trailhead is kind of like the start of a treasure hunt. Because this isn’t a public trail, there is no signage, no parking lot, and very few hikers. We followed the directions on best-of-oahu.com to find the trail.
Down winding, tree-lined Nuuanu Pali Drive, the start of the trail is nothing more than a small tunnel opening in a dense bamboo forest. We actually missed the trail, because we parked much further ahead and wandered in somewhere else. We got lucky because we met a group of teenagers also heading to the ruins who let us follow them through the thick of the bamboo forest. We would have never found it on our own.
Straight ahead is the kitchen area, which contains a large fire pit.
There isn’t much left of the structure, which dates back to 1845. The summer home was only used for a few decades before being abandoned for unknown reasons.
Oh, hello there, Mr. Carbajal…
There’s still life in these old ruins.
For your reading pleasure:
Summer Palace of King Kamehameha III and his queen Kalama
Completed in 1845 it was the scene of entertainment of foreign celebrities and the feasting of chiefs and commoners. The greatest of these occasions was a luau attended by an estimated ten thousand people celebrating Hawaiian Restoration Day in 1847.
We really loved exploring the ruins, and a nice couple we chatted with showed us how to take the path back to the road!