Have you ever heard: “All Roads lead to God”? I tend to disagree with the God analogy. However this analogy can be applied to all the waterfall trails on Oahu and be absolutely true. ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ONE GREAT BIG WATERFALL. Seriously, I have walked in circles on 4 different trails all leading to the same Maunawili Waterfall. Its hilarious. I have also found the same true for Lulumahu and Luakaha waterfalls. Actually, all the waterfall trails have at least 3 routes which hikers can access. I sometimes feel anxiety because I’m afraid of getting lost on a trail. There is some logic to this fear but it is also unfounded. Just keep calm, and hike onward because you are never lost. ALL ROAD LEAD TO THE SAME GREAT BIG WATERFALL.
There use to be these information signs at the beginning of the waterfall trail. I was greatly disappointed when the residents who live near the waterfall took them out. I believe the land’s history is very important. People cannot respect a place if they do not understand it. Plus, its interesting.
This bottom road runs adjacent to the trail. Please don’t visit the resident’s houses while hiking the trails. Often times private property will border public trails and this tends to make contentious debates over land rights. Everything will be fine as long as we are respectful of one another and stick to the trails.
The trail is usually muddy.
I might add: It is not necessary to tag an obvious trail with orange ribbons.
Be sure to duck when you approach the Hau trees.
Look for this divide!
This might seem confusing, but in the beginning of the trail there will be a division. One huge muddy trail to the left that the majority of people hike. Whereas, the trail to the right crosses 3 streams and goes through a lovely garden. It is narrower and has fewer hikers. This seldom traveled trail is the path that I chose. Both paths lead to the same hill. Although you have to make a mental note of my directions.
THE LEFT PATH DIRECTIONS
The large path to the left will gradually slope up through a guava forest and a steep muddy staircase. This will take you 30 minutes. When you reach the top of the staircase then turn left. You will come to a bench sitting on the right of the trail within 5 minutes. This bench is stationed across from a second staircase on the left of the trail that goes down a bunch of steps. This second staircase leads to Maunawili waterfall.
THE RIGHT PATH DIRECTIONS
The narrow, seldom traveled path on the right meanders through a garden, then a guava forest. It will turn right onto a gradual slope and you will end up on top of a small hill in the middle of the forest. This will take 45 minutes. If you turn right you will end up on private property. You can clearly see the house and hear their dog. Turn left and continue up the hill. You will pass through 6 foot high sugar cane and wild grass. You will end up on a hill that boasts some amazing scenery and wild orchids.
Now this is the confusing part. Hike pass the cane grass, orchids, telephone poles and IGNORE that first set of stairs on the left. This trail intersects with the left trail at the first set of stairs on the left. That is the trail you saw at the beginning which was muddy, large, and everyone was hiking on it. Keep going! In 5 minutes you will see the second set of stairs on the left and a bench to the right. Those are the stairs that lead to Maunawili Falls.
PALI LOOKOUT OR WAIMANALO DIRECTIONS
The hill trail you are hiking on keeps going further on into the forest. This back trail leads to the Maunawili Trail that runs from the Pali to Waimanalo. It also leads to some HUGE dried waterfall chutes. There are 4 trails which leads to Maunawili Waterfall. The right and left trail at the beginning, the trail from the private property and the Maunawili Connector Trail. They all lead to the same groovy waterfall.
The jungle is so luscious that I just want to bite it. Those wild, organic bananas are the most sweetest things I have ever tasted. I’m not usually a “banana” type of girl. I only eat them for the potassium when my feet cramp into a ball. However, my introduction to Maunawili organic bananas have changed my mind. They taste as if they have been dipped in a bowl of sugar.
Please only take what you need so that other hikers may enjoy the bananas. Please do not destroy the trees trying to get to the fruit. It is unnecessary. If the fruit is ready to come down then a gentle shake is all that is needed to get your bananas. Otherwise the bananas are not ripe and not ready to eat.
It was impossible to capture all of the flowers on film. This is something you must see for yourself.
It was midday but cloudy. Therefore the forest appeared dark. Ironically though, the humidty made it extremely hot.
Going up that sloping hill and through the guava trees. Both trails go through the guava forest.
This is the intersection. If you turn to the right you will end up in somebody’s backyard. You must turn to the left and head through the tall grass and sugar cane.
My path is to the left…
The hill boasts its views. That hole in the trees is actually the trail that I took coming up but its hard to notice while hiking through the trees.
Olomana can be seen from this trail.
Tall grass, sugar cane and wild orchids
I am crossing the first set of stairs on the left. This is the intersection where both trails at the beginning of the hike will meet up and become one trail. Do not go down these stairs. You will just end up walking in circles and getting dehydrated. Keep going straight!
Little palm tree celebrating life in the valley below.
This is the bench that sits in front of the staircase that leads to Maunawili Falls
Watch your step. It is very muddy, slippery and steep.
Did I mention this trail is a great way to lose weight?
This may seem confusing if there are no other hikers on the trail and you can’t figure out which trail to take. There will be a sign at the bottom of the trail next to a creek. The sign will be in front of a small trail. That small trail just runs around in circles. You must walk in the creek. Look for the trail on the side of the creek after 20 feet.
There she is in all of her glory! It is a small waterfall but the pool is deep enough to jump into. The thing that I found interesting about Maunawili Falls is that the ice cold pool is filled with bubbles coming up from the ground and they tickle your legs. That makes me wonder if Maunawili Falls is spring fed instead of rain fed. I think that this creek is on top of a natural spring.
Do not drink the water. Although I enjoy a good swamp romp, this is not the place to have an intenstinal adventure. Do not go into the water if you have any open cutts or scrapes. If you swallow water, get it into your ears, eyes, nose or into an open cutt and come down with a fever within 24 hours then immediately go to the hospital.
Leptospirosis is an illness which attacks the liver. It starts off as a high fever and occurs within 24 hours. The flesh eating virus is another goodie. It makes open cutts and open wounds develop a weird necrosis which can kill you within 3 days. So if your tiny half inch scrape begins to unnaturally bruise and turn into a 6 inch lesion, go to the hospital. Don’t play around with that. Both diseases are treated with antibiotics and fluids if caught in time.
I usually only swim in clear water. This water was not clear so I took my chances. I did not dunk my head in the water and I had no open cutts or scrapes. I must say though, the water was quite refreshing. I used my hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Shop before I ate my lunch. Please do not leave trash on trail.