Sunday, November 22, 2009

Waiomao Stream Trail / Waimao Falls Trail

Trails: Trail along Waiomao Stream.
Distance: 3.6 miles to and back from the trail head to the top of the third water fall
Elevation Gain:  about 700 ft

Hiking time: under 3 hours
Area: Palolo Valley (Valley east of Manoa Valley)

Trailhead: End of Waiomao Rd.
Trailhead Coordinates: N21 18.650 W157 46.915
Sights: 3 Waterfalls, Waiomao Stream,
Directions via bus: Catch the 9 anywhere along Kapiolani Blvd. It will head into the valley, pass the school and fields on the right, and start heading back along 10th Ave. Ask the driver to stop at the closest stop that intersect Waiomao Rd. Takes about 30 minutes. Follow the road to the end. It's a little more than 1 mile of a walk.

Directions via car: From Waikiki, head down Kalakaua Ave, make a left on Kapahulu Ave. Take it all the way down and make a right after the underpass onto Waialae Ave. After a bit, make a left on to 10th Ave. About a mile and half up. Make your right onto Waiomao Rd. Towards the end, it will narrow into almost a single lane. I'm not sure where you can park. The trail will start at the end.

Recommendations for hike: Pack light for the climbing. Some water. Good shoes. I'd recommend boots with a good sole. I slipped multiple times with my walking shoes (Merrells). As with most other trails close to water, there are mosquitoes too. It was a bit humid that day.
Trail Conditions: Unmaintained trail with overgrown foliage. Narrow at certain parts. Muddy! Rocks are slippery and you'll most likely get your feet wet.

The green is the actual trail. Yellow is the walk from the bus stop. The blue is a previous hike to Mt. Olympus.

Elevation profile is from trail head to and back from the 3rd waterfall.

Please note that this blog entry is only to the 3rd waterfall and back. If you continue on the trail it will lead you to Ka'au Crater. There is supposed another way to get to the crater but I am not sure where it is.

This is by far one of the more interesting hikes I've done. I have this fascination with waterfalls. They're just so calming. This trail has 3 distinct falls! It's not touristy at all either. The first 2 are traditional falls as you'll see and seem about 80 ft high each. The last falls is sloped so it isn't so much of a waterfall that spills over a cliff. You'll see later. What's fun about this hike is climbing around the waterfalls. There are several ropes to help you out. Just make sure you are stable before making your next move. It can be slippery and can easily injure yourself if you fall.

End of the road

At the end Waiomao Rd, I came to a no trespassing sign. The road was a private road. I noticed an unmarked trail. Of course, there was a no trespassing sign there but it was unclear if it meant just for the road or also the trail. After a quick descent, I reached Waiomao stream. I did notice that on a rock, people had wrapped rocks in some leaves.... and recall reading something about a tradition... so when in Rome.

Sorry about the quality. My camera kept on getting a "camera lens" error so I had to use my phone. 

Just an nice part of the stream.

Anyway, after crossing the stream 4 times, I finally found what I was looking for. Some sort of water pipe that would lead me to the falls. After a short ascent, I followed the pipe and stream, crossing several more times.

I lost the trail a couple of times but was able to pick it back up by following the stream. Then the trail changed a bit. The pipe follows on the left side of the stream but started ascending. I thought I was off track. It became more of a foothill hike, weaving in and out of hill 4 times. I heard the stream and was probably 40 ft about it at all times. Only one direction to go in...
Finally, at the end of the pipeline, I saw the falls. So the fun begins. A quick descent to the falls and you're at the bottom. I grabbed some quick real quick and moved on. It was late and clouds were moving in. So backtracking up to the end of the pipeline, there are some ropes to climb around the left side of the first falls.
After climbing around the first falls, the second is not too far. A quick climb around the right side and a short hike along the stream again, and I was to the third falls. I climbed to the top of this along the left side and decided to turn around. Like I said before, looked like it was going to rain and it was getting late. I'll have to go to the Ka'au crater next time. Enjoy the pics!

End of pipeline.

First falls! About 80 ft high.
 It's steeper than it looks, but not so bad. There are some more sections further up.

Looking down from the first falls.

Second falls and view from top. Think it was shorter than the first.


A memorial atop the second falls to Heidi Marie Page. ???

  Third falls.

Ran into a St Bernard on the way back. Thought he was alone but his owners came soon after.


  1. i am intereseted to know where you got the above map for the trail. It list mahoe spring which is something id like to know more about, I am always looking for topos that include long forgotten natural springs. Have you seen any springs on this trail, I hear pukele streams is formed by numerous springs around 950 ft eleveation. thanks

    1. The topo map is on my gps software. I use a program called Mapsource that was packed with my GPS. Unfortunately, I do not have any other information on the springs. Best of luck in your exploration!

  2. There is no where LEGAL to park as the ENTIRE area is PRIVATE property and you must trespass on someone's property go get to the river. EMS cannot get to you nor can a helicopter due to the narrowness of this small river and overgrowth.
    I tried and it's not worth the risk or having your car towed and having to pay the tow yard $215.00 to get your car out.(Sand Island)
    Just FYI folks! It happened to us.