Uncovering Waikiki

An urban hike reveals unexpected finds in Oahu’s big city.

Troy Solano’s adventure started after reading an old article by Hawaiian historian and activist George Kanahele. In this piece, Kanahele recounts the history behind the urban hike he created, The Waikiki Historic Trail. Of the 23 sites making up the trail, 19 have six-foot-tall surfboard-shaped markers.

When the high school teacher and avid hiker set out to find them, he realized that the locations of the markers and the descriptions didn’t quite match up. “It became even more of an adventure,” he says—although he was able to piece together Waikiki’s history in three nights.


Solano’s favorite—marker six on Kalakaua Avenue—is known as “The Healing Stones,” or Na Pohaku Ola Kapaemahu a Kapuni. It’s unexpected and otherworldly, positioned as it is in the center of lively Waikiki. Princess Likelike (born 1850) left flower leis on these pohaku (stones) before entering the waters. This site has no surfboard marker.

The Waikiki Historic Trail begins on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki. Start your own adventure, during the day or as a night hike.

690uxkPhotos by Exploration Hawaii