Hiking the Mokule’ia Trail to Peacock Flats Campground
Last month when we hiked the Kealia trail on the North Shore, we got a better understanding of what other trails there are in the area. I added a few more on our Hawaii bucket list, and since then have felt even more drawn to that area. We love the drier climate, unique views of the Wai’anae Mountains, and hearing the North Shore waves crashing on the shore even from a distance.
One of the hikes I had written down was the Mokule’ia Trail to the Peacock Flats campground. It was a 7 mile round-trip hike entirely on a paved road which is now inaccessible to cars. It’s commonly known as the “Peacock Flats” trail, though that name is totally misleading — we saw no peacocks and after the first mile it was no where near flat! It’s popular for bikers, joggers, and hikers alike.
We chose to hike this on Curtis’ half-a-day off because it had been raining on the East side all week, and because alternating East vs. West hikes makes adventures more interesting. We drove up to the North shore and parked on the side of the road across from the gate for the trail, which comes right before the Dillingham Airfield. Curtis had gotten off work late so we had a late start (almost 10am) and we soon realized that we were going to pay for it. The sun was high in the sky, it was hot, and this trail provides little to no shade. However, it seemed that all other hikers we saw were leaving, so we had the area to ourselves.
The beginning of the trail goes between farms, and we loved seeing the banana, coconut, and papaya trees, as well as taro and sweet potatoes growing in the gardens. The first mile is completely flat, and then the elevation begins. I won’t lie — it was hard in the heat, but as we got higher the breeze felt so much better! We took advantage of the empty road for some auto-timed pictures together, but aside from that we pressed on and made good time getting up. The views of the valley inland and the North shore were worth it!
We reached the campsite before noon and stopped for a short break. We considered continuing to see if we could meet up with where we stopped when we hiked the Kealia Trail, but saw how much elevation we would lose and have to regain, so we decided to save it for another day. I honestly would love to come back and hike further, as long as it wasn’t so hot! It would make a good hike in the wet season as well since the road is paved and we wouldn’t have to worry about muddy trails. Camping here could also be enjoyable, I’d love to hike up and watch the sunset on the North Shore, and spend an extra day hiking through the forest reserve. The main thing that would keep me away is that dogs aren’t allowed so we’d have to make other arrangements for Charlotte.
The hike back was easy, obviously as it was all downhill, and as we neared our car the sky became more overcast. It rained on us on our way back home — so maybe if we’d waited even later we could have avoided the heat! Oh well, we were just happy we had been able to get out and do something. We returned home to our sweet puppy and made homemade wontons for dinner together.