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Time: 1.5-3 HOURS

Distance: 1 MILE

Elevation Gain: 700 FEET

Challenges: Muddy, Slippery Rocks, Waterfall Climb, Stream Crossings

Sights: Makaua Falls

What to Bring: Shoes to get muddy, Towel

Visible only after heavy rains, Makaua Falls is a tall waterfall located on the eastern shore of Oahu, near the town of Kaaawa. It's a short trek into the valley, but it has plenty of fun and challenging obstacles. You will hop rocks, slip through mud, and even climb a small waterfall. Once you make it all the way to the end of the valley, you will be rewarded with complete solitude and this beautiful waterfall.


The last day of 2018! While it may be a relief to put that crazy year behind us, I still felt that there was so much I had yet to accomplish. I had crossed quite a few hikes off my bucket list, only to see the list grow as I discovered new ones. So with only one day left, I decided to take on one final hike before bringing in the new year. Makaua Falls here we come!

The path is simple. Follow the stream deep into the valley to its source, Makaua Falls. Any Questions?

The trailhead is in a somewhat obscure location, at the end of Huamalani Road. Look for this sign and head through the opening in the trees to the left. I do think you can park somewhere along this road, but out of respect for the residents we decided to park in the lot at Swanzy Beach Park. It adds a few minutes, but then you can stop at the old 7-Eleven after your hike for a slurpee and musubi.

Into the woods we go!

My companions for the hike, Kelley and Indre. This part is easy, just follow the beaten down trail marked by pink ribbons.

At some point you will reach a fork that looks like this. Left will take you up to Kahekili Ridge, a challenging and beautiful ridge hike. Right takes you to the falls.

And soon after, the hike starts to get fun. You will have to head upstream, which requires scrambling across wet and slippery rocks. There are some markers, but really you just need to follow the path that makes the most sense based on judgement.

Balance is key, just go slowly, watch your step, and you should be fine.

That is of course until you get to this obstacle. You will have to climb up this baby waterfall. It's a bit tricky, and it is very likely your shoes will get wet, but there are ropes to help you with the climb. It is also a ton of fun!

A view from the top! With all of us having climbed safely up the waterfall, it was time for the final push.

There it is in the distance! Just a bit more slipping and sliding...

Getting closer...

And we made it! I won't pretend this is an all powerful and mighty waterfall, the flow was pretty light.

But the shear height of it was impressive.

And staring up at it, completely alone in this green valley, makes the experience that much more special. A solid bookend to 2018. Can't wait to see what 2019 has in store!

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Also Check Out:

- hik3beasthawaii's post about the hike

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