“A trail rises through the jungle toward a waterfall featuring cliff jumping and swimming.”
— Jay Gurney
River/Creek · Swimming · Waterfall
The trail is only accessible from 6 am to 6 pm.
A somewhat slippery, well-trodden path ascends through the jungle to a waterfall and swimming hole. A brief ridge exposure offers views of the rugged Oahu mountains.
High foot traffic.
Need to Know
There is an unmarked junction 1.2 miles in. Take the downhill option to continue to the waterfall. Sunscreen is unnecessary due to canopy coverage, bug spray might be useful.
Rocks, roots, and slippery conditions make it difficult to maintain a running pace on this trail.
The trail entrance is through a gate onto a paved road. A handmade sign at the entrance asks visitors to please "kokua", a Hawaiian word that translates roughly to respect. Because the path begins in a residential area, it is important for runners to pick up after their trash, keep the noise level reasonable, and respect the local's privacy. Park on a side street away from the entrance on Kelewina Street.
The trail follows a paved road for 100 yards before a sign directs you right to the falls. From here the trail assumes a more rugged aspect, inclining upward through a dense jungle. Mangoes fall from tree leaves, scattering the path. Birds call from places unseen. It can be slippery, but much of the mud can be avoided through rock hopping and tree root balancing.
After a half mile, the trail swings next to Maunawili Stream which can be crossed safely and dryly through a succession of rock hops. From here, the trail inclines still steeper and becomes a real thigh burner. After another half mile, a brief exposure offers views of the precipitous Oahu steeps. Turn left, downhill, southeast, at an unmarked junction shortly after this exposure. Cross the stream twice before the waterfall shows itself around a turn in the river. Yells and splashes may reveal its proximity before it becomes visible. Cliff jumping options abound, swimming is encouraged.
History & Background
Terraced agriculture was cultivated on the flanks of these abrupt mountains by the ancient Hawaiians. Much of the physical evidence of this landscaping is now obscured by jungle growth.