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Ascending the second leg of Crystal Canyon, composed of several ropes and cables.

About Halfway UpView All Sizes

JOURNAL : November 14, 2011

Climbing Crystal Canyon

Mokuleia > Hawaii > United States

Series Climbing Crystal Canyon

Lost at the End of the Road

Heading out west on Kamehameha Highway towards Kaena Point just before the road ends is Camp Erdman. On this remote stretch of beautiful Hawaiian beach just a few hundreds yards away is where the opening scenes of the first episode of Lost was filmed, depicting the plane crash and dazed cast stranded on the beach.

On this particular Daily Venture my mom, sister and I hiked up as far as we could under tight time constraints.

View from above the first ascent, looking at the entrance to Crystal Canyon.

Entrance to Crystal CanyonView All Sizes

How to Get There

From Waialua or Haleiwa take Kamehameha Highway west towards Kaena Point and you'll drive 7 miles past Waialua High School, a whole lotta agricultural land and sparse human habitation, Dillingham Ranch, the Mokuleia Polo Club and Field, our homestead, several great surf spots, Dillingham Airfield, and finally, YMCA Camp Erdman. Over all of this towers Mt. Ka'ala. To find Crystal Canyon simply drive past the end of the airfield and look for the first spread of grass on the mountain side of the road. Turn left into the parking lot next to the cabins. The trailhead is directly toward the mountain, and perhaps a little towards the right. Easy to see.

The First Climb, full of roots.

The First ClimbView All Sizes

Entering the Canyon

After weaving through the haole koa forest the trail aligns with the dry riverbed and ascends into the canyon.

Descending the vines of the first leg of Crystal Canyon.

Descending the vines of the first leg.View All Sizes

Hiking Conditions

Crystal Canyon starts out pretty easy and gets progressively more difficult, culminating in a 20' vertical waterfall face with lots of handholds and footholds. Years ago the waterfall was still running, and during the summer reduced to a trickle, which made it easier to climb up the slippery rocks. A single, long rope used to run all the way from the very top, over the fall and down into this trough. Now there appears to be thin ropes coming straight down from the ridge on the right. I'd still prefer to take the waterfall route. Now that it is completely dry it would be easy to scamper up. All told, it's a cake hike. My mother can climb Crystal Canyon on one leg and so can you.

The last ascent in Crystal Canyon.

Crystal CanyonView All Sizes

Due to time constraints we did not go to the top on this particular day. We had to practically run up and down to make it in time to pick up my sister's kids from school. This means there are no photos from the top of Crystal Canyon on this day, which hosts spectacular views of the rugged, beautiful coast. However, you can see what the land looks like from up on Ka'ala.

A view from two-thirds up

A view from two-thirds upView All Sizes

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Switchback Trail

If you'd like to see Dillingham Airfield from above there's a switchback trail that starts directly between the control tower and the mountain.

Another great daily excursion is hiking to the summit of Mt. Ka'ala.

Or you could take a glider ride!

Mom and Summer climbing down

Mom and Summer halfway downView All Sizes

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