Explore The Waterfall Series - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The Waterfall Series Map

Another great hike in Oahu. I wouldn't recommend it after rain because some sections of the trail are very narrow and may get dangerous when slippery. Other than that well worth it hike with nice views.

Wasn’t marked very well. The all trails map saved us!!

off trail
over grown
1 day ago

Great trail! Some stone ruins at the bottom and good views along the way—once you get out of the valley. The first time I did this I got eaten alive by mosquitoes even though the stream bed looked dry. The valley stretch is quite long so that was pretty miserable. Second time I did it there were no bugs so ymmv but bring something to keep from getting bit!

Long!! But worth it. I saw some people with their dog up at the very peak, but I don’t know if most dogs could do this one. The view from the top is very different from most KST ridge trails because you can see all down the spine of the mountain and all the ridges branching off of it. really something else.

1 day ago

Super fun trail! Be careful about doing it when it’s been rainy because you do need to cross the stream bed several times and go up alongside three waterfalls with ropes. It’s muddy and there is a part where the trail is missing so you need to swing across with ropes. The trail follows the stream bed in along the last few houses in Palolo Valley (trail head is on private property but there is a hand painted sign marking it and warning caution and street side parking) and pipes bringing water from the crater. It can be windy along the rim of the crater but it’s a really neat and very different view! I’ve seen families try to bring kids along for this one but I wouldn’t... it’s pretty long and the last group I saw made it to the base of the third waterfall and was trying to figure the shortest way out. There are a few different paths that crisscross and can cut a little time off.

This was such a fun hike, but a little longer than we were expecting! All four of us were baby-wearing our littles. We loved the falls at the end and jumped in the falls at the end. Crawl up the waterfall and see the waterfall at the top!

This was a last minute find and is now one of my favorite hikes. Can be a little tricky if you’re not sure footed. It gets a little slick in some spots. Enjoy!

Nice hike. Muddy. Great swimming under the waterfall.

Lost Garmin watch.
Reward if found.

Easily one of the more enjoyable routes Ive done. I didnt see another person on the trail until I was nearly back to the trailhead. Bring lots of water, wear long pants to avoid scratches.

Gorgeous hike got lost at the top of the crater. Don’t if you don’t want to go all the way around once you get to the top hang a left of the creek before the crater and it will take you back down.

This was a really great hike very worth it for the views at the top. It is definitely no joke, especially if you complete the crater and don’t take the shortcut after the third waterfall.

rock climbing
6 days ago

Awesome hike! Respect the neighborhood and park on Kamehameha hwy by the showers at the beach lot, and walk to the trail opening (stay right for this trail when it spilts in the beginning). You can see if the main waterfall is flowing or not from the street. Went with barely anything flowing and still well well worth it. It’s over a mile for sure, watch clocked over 2 if you go all the way. This trail is not heavily trafficked at all and the trail is very easily to lose sight. Requires quite a lot of crossing the rock stream. Prepare to get wet, muddy and rock climb. If your up for the challenge follow the ropes and you’ll be rewarded. Also for dogs if they are not good at rock climbing or you can’t carry them up rock walls, they can’t make it safely up to the very top. Brought my pembroke welsh corgi and she hiked herself up then I tossed her in my k9 sport sack and rucked her to the top.

6 days ago

such a great time. this trail felt much longer on the way in as we diverted off the path and boldered our way through the dried up river bed. once you reach the first fall, climb the ropes and carry on to the final two. don't rush and give yourself plenty of time to get to the end. the ropes will slow you down a bit if others are trying to get up and down. not the most physically demanding hike, but having good balance, coordination and confidence in your strength will get you through this one.

Great hike! A little muddy in certain spots but good steady incline and loop.

All I can say after this hike is "Wow!" Not Wow as in completely awesome, nor Wow as in terrible, but just not what we expected. I really wish I had read the reviews before setting out on this hike. I wasn't sure if I should give it 1 star, or 5 stars, but I finally decided to settle on 3. I'm going to break this loop down into 4 parts:

Part 1: (3*) This starts from the parking lot trail head and is pretty straightforward. After roughly 1/2 mile look for the Kalauao Falls trail off to your left. We actually missed it but quickly got back on track. Follow this for roughly another 1/2 mile until you see the only mango tree on the entire hike. We missed this too but again realized our mistake and found the trail. This is where the hike gets tougher.

Part 2: (5*) There is a steep trail leading down to the Kalauao creek stream bed, but it's pretty well marked with ribbons and there are even a few ropes to help you down. We didn't have to deal with mud like some others did. Once you get to the bottom where the stream is, turn right and follow the trail along the water. This was by far the best part of the hike. Beautiful surroundings, frogs, fish, and crawfish in the creek, and not a person anywhere. Absolutely amazing. The waterfall is really neat too, although it wasn't flowing much while we were there. The pool below looks like a great place to relax and swim, although we did not. At this point I was on cloud 9 and having the time of my life. Little did I know that part 3 was just ahead...

***At this point if I were you I would turn around and go back out the way you came in. Don't make the same mistake that we and several others have.***

Part 3: (1* although I would give it negative stars if I could) This is where the hike gets BRUTAL. First off, you have to really look carefully to find the pink markers showing you that the trail goes pretty much straight up. We missed it but again, quickly got back on track. From this point until you reach the Aiea Trail, you are scrambling pretty much up the side of a cliff, with mud, bees, thorns, fallen trees, overgrown bushes, and anything else you can imagine the Hawaiian jungle could throw at you. Also it is a bit harrowing in places because the trail is poorly marked and there are paths leading everywhere. Make sure you are using GPS in this part because you will go 100 yards or more with no trail markers. We are an adventurous, outdoorsy couple and have hiked on some extreme trails, but this section was just miserable.

Part 4 (3*) You can't imagine our relief when we finally came back to the Aiea trail junction. We sat down, ate something, and just relaxed for a bit knowing that we would indeed make it out alive. After getting our bearings again, we set back to the car on another fairly mundane and easy path. I think it's about 1.5 miles from the junction to the parking lot.

So in summary, I would highly suggest hiking to the falls, enjoying the beauty, and going back the way you came. That would probably make this a 4-5* hike in my book.

8 days ago

The loop should be done if (1) you’re an advanced hiker (2) you have decent navigation skills outdoors (3) you’re up for an adventure, a solid workout, and getting a little dirty.

If not, you can do the trail starting clockwise (go left) out and back for a good workout and amazing views. The trail is quite safe on this part. Even easier, start at Hawaii Loa which starts much higher up the ridge.

I did not find this hike as dangerous as some people are saying. I even did it clockwise. If you’ve explored ridge hikes here, it’s nothing too intense.

Caution: It’s easy to get lost on this trail. Pretty overgrown and the dense forest can make it difficult to navigate the trail.

Tips and Stats: (1) The trail splits into the two directions at a dirt opening just after the tall grass and the forest section (2) AllTrails app marked my hike as ~7.6 mi (3) 4.5 hour trip for an advanced hiker going at a relaxed pace with lots of stops for pictures and snacks

When we got there the gate was closed however, we called a number and they immediately came and opened it up for us. There were no signed while we were driving but it kinda dead ends at a gate and the trail is to the right of it. there is a smallish clearing where we parked but its not really a parking lot. When we first took the trail it was a bit overgrown but not horrible. The rope next to the stairs was a big help, the stairs are a bit steep! The rock was cool and looked into the legends of it, there are quite a few but its really interesting if your into those stories. Loved making it to the first looks out point, great views of north shore. The trail is pretty well marked up until this point. We tried to go to the second lookout and the top and that trail is not marked at all! Beware, its overgrown and has a few very narrow areas. Loved the random lime bushes on that part of the trail. However, right before the second lookout it looks like there was a pretty bad mudslide and washed out the trail. tried to go around and it was no good. we could not find another way around either so we turned back. Really sad we couldn't make it passed that point but it was a decent little trail.

Well-groomed trail with a nice waterfall at the end. Trail gets a little slick during rain.
Mosquitos weren’t as bad as other reviews lead me to believe.

10 days ago

we started from Puu Pia trailhead so we wouldn't start at the 7 Bridges trail where there are numerous no trespassing/government property signs.

we parked at the Chinese cemetary and walked to the trailhead as there's only 1 parking stall up the narrow road.

the descent down to the river was a little technical but we had some pre-teens with us who did ok. Queen's Bath was super clean and deep. Note, just above that is a nice waterfall you can hear but not see. Waiakeakua was dry unfortunately.

so we kept on west to Naniuapo. Amazing huge trees and bridges, nice trails easy to follow. after metal fence it was more challenging. then fallen bamboo forest over trail almost thwarted search for falls. we were 0.25 miles away from falls, and scrambled over bamboo and logs. impressive high falls. Walked out to houses on 7 bridges, back to cemetary. nice big counterclockwise loop. 5 miles

Did this hike on New Years Eve. It was awesome! To find the trail, walk up the road to the right of the firehouse. Do not drive or park up there. There were definitely a few tough spots that were slippery so you must be careful because you can seriously get injured. If you lose the trail or are unsure just stay close to the river. You will come to a small waterfall where you’ll have to climb a wet wall with ropes. Again, go slow and be mindful of each step. Shortly after climbing the small waterfall you will reach a magnificent waterfall. It was pretty light water when I was there but still beautiful.

Omg this was the most beautiful hike we have ever done! We are casual hikers usually doing 3-4 hour moderate trails. This was challenging for me. I’d say moderate to the waterfalls some rope climbing which I thought was kinda fun. Then the waterfall and ridge came. The 3rd waterfall you climb looks easy from the bottom, and it’s not hard, it’s just a lot longer then you expect like it doesn’t end! Then the ridge towards the top some parts i couldn’t get up without my husband boosting me. It is so slippery!!! Even when it’s dry the lil foot holds you have there is lil pebbly dirt that slips out from underneath you. I’d say you definitely should wear some sort of shoe grip just to make life easy. I had Nike’s. But when we got to the top the view is like 360 all sides all the way out to Honolulu and the opposite coast. So amazing! We had to hurry back so no as much time up there as we liked. But I highly recommend NOT going back down the waterfall, the other ridge was much easier and u can go down on you butt if needed. Lots of roots towards the bottom but I used the trees for balance. We were slow so it was like 7 hours total for us. Views were so worth it!

Enjoyed the waterfall and jumping in. We got to the waterfall around 10:30 and it was a bit crowded. As people have mentioned, it was muddy, but with the streams to cross, you can kind of wash off. Very pretty hike. We enjoyed the views along the way.

Great Hike !!!

Yeah....did not anticipate this trail to be as difficult as it was. The way down wasn’t too bad although steep and muddy. The waterfall was small but that was expected. The way back.... well ... definitely needed this app. We passed the river point where we needed to go back up but the app showed that we veered off so went back and looked for a trail marker and by luck found one when we stopped and looked through the woods and saw one. Steep and muddy going up. You have to really look around to find the correct path as you go up because of the overgrown vegetation in the path. Also encountered lots of bees in some of the bushes (overgrown) but had to push through and convince my fam to walk slowly through the bushes. When Almost at he top it was really overgrown and some kind of animal started rustling and pushing the bushes down and running in a parallel path.... made my wife scream and we hurried up the final part to join the aeia loop. So happy when we made it. Also lots of bugs and scratches on the way. Would do it again but with a machete to cut the bushes, rope, and more water and food. Good luck if you decide to do it

Short, easy, with a lot of mosquitoes and homeless people.
Will not go again.

We went clockwise around the loop and quickly realized everyone else took the counterclockwise route. It’s definitely do-able clockwise just know that it’s the path less traveled by...and waterfalls are easier to climb up than down. The view from the ridge is breathtaking. Closer to 7 or 8 miles for the entire loop.

nature trips
14 days ago

Beautiful nature walk through to Waimea Falls. Falls are a little over rated. I’ve seen much bigger and beautiful falls in my hometown in Australia, however the walk was peaceful and tranquil. We arrived at 9am, and it took about 1.25 hrs, slow relaxed pace. We didn’t swim in the falls, didnt feel the need to. I would recommend arriving before 9:30 though as when we were heading back, the amounts of people that were on their way to the falls were growing rapidly.

Fun, muddy hike. I recommend going early morning to avoid crowds.

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