If you are looking to explore and hike to a beautiful valley and historic part of Oahu, head to the north shore and visit Waimea Valley and botanical garden. Explore and Hike Waimea Valley in Oahu has been wonderfully converted into a variety of show tropical gardens, a simulated ancient Hawaii village and hike up to the waterfalls of Waimea and enjoy a dip at the base of the waterfalls. Combining hiking to Waimea Valley in Oahu and enjoying the lovely botanical garden is a great way to explore the North Shore of Oahu.
Waimea Valley – a non-profit organization that promotes the beauty and restoration of the ahuapuaa or an ancient land designation to the area that restores historic details, lifestyle and culture to ancient people living in this area. The beautiful botanical like garden is fun to explore either on your own with easy to follow placards explaining many facets and information about farming, village life and other historic bits of stories and cultural finds from the area. It’s fun to go on your own or even take one of the regular docent tours of the gardens, village and visit to the area up to the waterfalls. The tours are fantastic because they do give more insight to how earlier inhabitants lived, farmed and preserved their cultural heritage in Waimea. And that’s the nice thing about this non-profit organization sharing the history, culture and lifestyle of the early inhabitants of the area and how they survived and cohabitated with the environment.
Exploring Waimea Valley and Botanical garden
History of Waimea Valley
The area has lots of cultural treasures from stone terraces, walls and structures built during the Hawaiian monarchy and was a rich agricultural environment for ancient Hawaiians and creating fish ponds, taro planting fields and other planting beds and keeping domestic animals in pens. Much of the valley floor was used for cultivating taro, bananas, sweet potatoes and eventually European orchards when they arrived to this area.
The valley also has significant spiritual significance with ancient Hawaiians practicing cultural activities, religious beliefs in the largest heaui overlooking the valley floor. The important priesthoods of the Kahuna Nui of Oahu were experts in the fields of agriculture, spiritual guidance, healing, fishing and everyday practices for the common man and local rulers.
You can take a docent tour of the area and visiting the most significant early structures, places of worship and a mock ancestral village and how it looked like as a farming community. Sign up for tours at the
Hiking Waimea Valley
The valley is only about .75 miles in length from the entrance to the waterfall area, but there are many side walking trails to visit various gardens, mock villages and other view points around the valley.
The main hike to the waterfalls at the end of the valley less than ¾ of a mile on paved and relatively flat road meandering through scenic streams, gardens and other lookout points in the valley. There is a really nice waterfall at the end called Waihi which allows for swimming in the fresh and cold water which is perfect on a sunny hot day in the area.
Exploring the Waimea Valley Botanical Garden
There are over 35 distinct collections in the botanical garden containing one of the best Polynesian collections in the state, rare Hawaiian plants and individual gardens dedicated to plants from Guam, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Lord Howe Island, Ogasawara Islands and the Mascarene Islands. You’ll find lovely collections of Heliconia, Hibiscus, fern, Bromeliaceous, Bamboo, Araceae, Bauhinia, and other tropical fruit and plantings. There’s even a lovely water garden with blooming water lilies to enjoy right at the entrance area of the garden.
The botanical garden does have a nursery that is open to the public to purchase plants on Saturdays from 8am to 12pm.
Educational tours at the park
There are free educational programs offered at the park with demonstrations, workshops and crafts or art and even Hawaiian performances that take place at the entrance courtyard of the park. Highlighting Hawaiian culture, craft and art, the Waimea Valley staff are friendly and a source of rich information and history freely shared with the public. You can check out their website for more details about programs or events happening or even participate in the regular luaus on site.
Video tour of Waimea Valley
Check out this video highlights of exploring Waimea Valley for more inspiration
or a botanical overview here
More details to visiting Waimea Valley and botanical garden
There is an admission for entry and you can visit them on their website here.
Hours of Operation are
Entrance is free for the following
There is a luau experience offered called Toa Luau which also includes entrance to the valley and botanical garden as part of the experience. Check in to the luau starts at 5pm but you can arrive early to explore the park area for free.
Go Oahu Card allows for free entrance
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