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Muliwai and Waimanu Valley Trail is a 15.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Honokaa, Hawaii, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 15.1 mi Elevation gain 5,226 ft Route type Out & Back

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wildlife

Bugs

Muddy

Over grown

Rocky

Scramble

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, 2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 801 , Honolulu, HI, 96815, Phone: 800-GOHAWAII, Fax: 808-924-0290

Directions from Makapala: Highway 240 leads off Highway 19 at Honokaa to the eastern edge of Waipio Valley. A steep, four wheel drive road extends from the lookout down into the valley. Upon reaching the valley floor, take the road to the right, then follow the beach to Wailoa Stream. The road ends at the stream. Ford the stream and follow the horse trail on the dunes to the west side of Waipio Valley and the beginning of the trail.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (120)
Photos (360)
Recordings (73)
Completed (227)
Cara Hitomi
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HikingBugs
View Cara's Recording
Skye Aubrey
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HikingBugs

Gorgeous and safe. Left before sunrise for an out-and-back trip. Took about 4 hours in at a brisk pace. The return of course took longer. ;) Bring bug spray and a water filter. Enjoy the beaches, serenity and the wild horses are very friendly.

Paul J
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 27, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyOff trailRocky

Did the hike a couple months ago. Man was it a challenge. We decided to camp. Highly recommend packing light - tent, sleeping bags, food, etc. There are a couple fresh water falls along the way so don't get too concerned about water. Definitely recommend iodine tablets or a Sawyer water filter. Recommend starting out early. Countless switch backs. Definitely think the return hike from waimanu was more brutal but doable. The river crossings were pretty awesome just careful falling; recommend a walking stick for the rivers. Weather was great.

Nicholas Serra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 30, 2020
Hiking

I hiked this Trail yesterday in one day out and back. Highly recommend driving to the lower parking lot at Waipio and starting from there, you’ll save yourself close to two hours of unnecessary hiking. Be aware of the tides when crossing the beach because on the way back water may be waist high and difficult to cross. Bring at least 5 liters of water if not more if you plan do to this as a day hike. Be at the parking lot at sunrise and pack light, bring snacks, insect repellant, Gold Bond, extra socks, swim shorts to change into if water gets too high. The only issue I had on the trail was running face first into these giant spider webs I recommend walking with a big stick and jus knocking them down before you walk right into them. Enjoy! Good luck.

Jillian Dansdill
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HikingBugsMuddyRocky
View Jillian's Recording
Hannah Suber
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Hiking

This was the first backpacking trip I had ever done. I went with a family member who lives in the area, as I was just visiting. I had no clue the difficulty or terrain of this hike, as I had not done any research—I was essentially walking (backpacking) into the unknown. Do I regret it? Not one bit. The trail is very challenging, specifically the beginnings and ends, BUT you are rewarded with spectacular views and a strong sense of accomplishment. We resided at Waimanu for 3 days and 2 nights. I can easily say I have never experienced anything like it. It was life-altering and simply amazing. You can’t quite understand the magic of this place until you’ve been there yourself. I will always cherish the time I had there, and I can easily say that it was the best 3 days of my life!

Nathaniel Ring
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Hiking
View Nathaniel's Recording
Jennifer Rochon
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Hiking

it's a nice trail. be ready to cross a small river waist high.

View Jennifer's Recording
Tiffany Montgomery
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Hiking

We did this trail on Thanksgiving and weren't able to finish due to time constraints. We had dinner reservations to rush back to, and I was heartbroken to miss the whole thing. I highly recommend taking an ATV down and up the hill. That long road is no interesting hike, and it just wastes your time. Local ATV drivers charge about $20 for the trip. Hardest part of the trail is the trek into the ridgeline - after that, it's really simple. The trail is very easy to follow. There is a water crossing, so plan for that. Bring your stuff and enjoy a day at the beach after.

R.B. V.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 4, 2019
HikingBugsRocky

Well worth the hike in. If you plan on camping the night over at one of the camp sites there is a permit that needs to be acquired before doing so. The views are amazing down there!

Mike Gollotto
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Hiking

Nice and cool up high with shade. Still hot and humid overall. Bring water filter. Used running shoes but trail shoes and poles would have been better.

Amanda Michele
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HikingBugsMuddy
View Amanda's Recording
Michael Koh
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HikingNo shadeOver grownRocky
View Michael's Recording
Alyx Barnett
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HikingBugsMuddyWashed out

Prepare for flash flooding water crossings, mosquitoes, and sun exposure. Pack a water filter and plenty of food! Those things considered this is one of my favorite locations in the world to run in and out in a day or backpack in for a camping trip. Prepare for lots of climbing, potentially muddy and rocky and rooty bits (trail shoes ideally but no spikes needed) !

Anne Leroy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2019
HikingBugsMuddyRockyScramble

First of all, I would like to give a thought here for Kyle Brittain, who disappeared on this hike on 30th Aug 2019. If anyone decides to go alone, please stay on the path, do not go off track alone. Ideally, if you decide to hike alone, go on this trail having told someone about it, with an emergency beacon handy which tracks your GPS position and sends it to that person, and with an emergency button on it. 10 people have disappeared on this hike in 20 years, 3 were local murders but still, 7 did disappear and were never found. It is an incredibly beautiful hike, magical and really worth doing it and very safe if you stay on the trail, but it is important to know that it can also be dangerous. I hiked the Muliwai trek with a friend on 11th Sept 2019 to the campsite and came back on the 12th Sept. We had planned to stay two nights but checked on the rain forecast and it seemed to be raining more the 13th so we decided to only stay one night. We are in our late thirties and pretty fit. Also, I climbed Kilimanjaro in a 9-day hike 8 months ago. Ok, so is it hard? It is all relative to your fitness level. I personally found it relatively 'easy'. Yes, you climb up steeply for a good 90 minutes first but if you take it slow, it will be absolutely fine. I am a very slow hiker, and it took me 8 hours to go to the campsite, because I am slow and I enjoy being slow. But still, not pushing it, the climb up was easy. We actually found the road back up much steeper on the way out the next day, as we didn't get a lift and had to walk it back. Now, there are 2 things that are very important and that I wish were more prominent in all these comments here that I had read before to hike and I hope this below helps the future readers 01 - How to train before to go After reading the comments here and freaking out, I applied the same training as for Kilimanjaro, except I started only 2 weeks before the Muliwai vs 8 weeks before the Kili. I would highly recommend any reader who wants to go to Muliwai to do this: stairs, stairs, stairs. Find any set of stairs/ steps near where you work or live, and go on them as much as you can. This is what will train your legs and make them very strong for that steep first 90 minutes of the hike and the hike in general. For example, in my building, I live on the first floor, there are just 16 steps to it. Then 16 steps to the second floor. No more floors. Well, I just went up and down these 32 steps each day, at various speed, for various lengths of time, depending on how tired I felt. Sometimes 20 minutes running up and down, sometimes 2 hours slow in hiking boots, up and down and again. Yes, my neighbours thought I was crazy but hey, it helped trigger cool conversations. :-) I improved. Find yourself stairs nearby and go spend time on them, every day. Your legs will get strong and you will feel the difference. No excuse..even 10 minutes will help. Besides stairs, the second most important training is to do long walks, or hikes even, to prepare. Try to walk between 6 to 12 miles each day on the week-ends leading to the Muliwai trek, and walk as much as you can each day of the week. That will also prepare your legs. To complement that, do some cycling, swimming and also running for cardio if you can. Now, if you start from a state where you are not exercising much each day yet, then it is fine, just start slowly, find time each day, even 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and even if that's just walking around the block or doing walking laps at home, do it. You will get fitter in general, regardless of getting fitter for the hike, which is always great. 02 - What to pack I spent ages searching online which sleeping bag to take. I guess this is all personal but..you don't need to take one, just a silk liner will do. Now, it all depends of the time of the year, but still, I bet even during the 'cold' time, Muliwai is really hot. In September, one tiny silk liner was enough. That already removes a lot of weight. We each had the 36L Osprey Kite backpack which is fantastic, and that was enough. Yes, you can do this hike with a 36L backpack only! We each had about 10 kilos / 22 pounds. Not more. Here is what I had on me: sturdy hiking boots broken in (bring some Compeed for blisters if you might get some, they are fantastic), hiking socks (Bamboo is great, if not Merino is also awesome), horseshoe cover (protects socks and boots but optional), swimshort with included underware, swimbra, merino shirt short sleeves, trekking poles (essential to save your knees - and yes, whatever age you are, even actually the younger you are, the better. Poles are there to save your knees, for your future, it is not made for old people, but for young ones too, learn to use them..You will be happy later on in your life that you did use them). A small microfibre towel for the sweat of the steep 90 min might be handy. Another tiny one to dry your feet after the river crossings. In the backpack, I had....

Anne Leroy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2019
HikingBugsMuddyRockyScramble

This is the part 2 of my comment as it got truncated! 02 - What to pack (continued) - I am probably forgetting a few things! In the backpack I had: - swimshort + swimbra for the next day as we planned to go to waterfalls - no change for the hike back but that can be a gamble if it rained and clothes didn't dry - long pant (leggings) + underware + quick dry long sleeve for the evening against mosquitoes and to sleep dry - hat and sunglasses for the sun although we didn't end up using them as it was cloudy - a buff with some essential oil smelling good on it for if you have to go to the stinky toilets - toilet paper - Natrapel 100ML half full (great mosquito spray) - headtorch and spare batteries, silk liner as sleeping bag, Thermarest ultralight blowing mattress, Aero blowing pillow - no hammock (we really sticked to carrying 10 kilos) - a large plastic bag to wrap around your camera bag if you bring a sling bag - dried fruits, mixed nuts for breakfast and snacks - pitta bread / flat bread / crackers + peanut better + salami and spreadable cheese - dehydrated ready meal and desserts for each evening - Big Agnes Tiger Wall 1.2 kgs tent for 2 and footprint - no seats as there are plenty of rocks there / logs to sit on - alcohol stove made of beer can and small alcohol bottle and lighter and 1.8ML pot - betadine drops to purify the water (very light - use for short trips as otherwise it is bad for the thyroid) - no cups no plates as eating from the bags / no tea (hot weather) but swiss knife and 1 spork each - first aid kit including alcohol swabs, betadine, band-aid, band for strains, paracetamol, medication for diarrhea just in case - consider bringing a knee support band if your knees can hurt - everything to keep dry in ziplog bags / dry bags / big bin bag as a liner / raincover on top of the bag (You will get very wet on this hike!) Additional comments about the hike: 1 - Do not start it after 10am, you will finish it going down on a muddy slope in the dark, very bad idea..Start early on the way back too in case you end up like us having to walk back all the way up 2 - There are 2 river crossings really where you need to take your shoes off: on the first beach and at the end. I would say that there is no need for watershoes as it is good to feel the slippery rocks under you and do one step at a time to stabilise your foot and then move the next one - but up to you. You can get water up to your tighs / hips so better have everything in dry bags in case you fall 3 - If it is guava season, always check the inside of the guava before to eat it, the beach ones are the safest, the ones on the trail can already be eaten by tiny white worms - better look inside first, unless you don't mind eating worms 4 - When you arrive at the campsite, walk all the way to the beach and go check the dinghy first to see if you can walk on it to cross the estuary. If you can, no point getting into the water and grabbing the rope when you can make your life easier. 5 - We never found the stream from which to grab water supposed to be after camp 9 - do your research before to go, or you can always take the water from the lagoon alongside the camp and filter it 6 - Campsite 2 has the best view, campsite 3 is smaller, has the view and the beach closer by, campsite 1 is maybe better left for people arriving late in the night if the place is empty, campsite 8 seems the best for groups to gather around a firepit, rest of campsites are great too 7 - We parked the car on the parking in front of the Art Gallery at 6am when it was still closed and left a note on the car that we could pay on the way back but when we were back, there was no one either so we didn't end up being able to pay any parking fee 8 - Have fun! It is a great hike, with a very beautiful landscape! 9 - If you can't do the full hike, you can always do the beginning, the steep 90 minutes or even part of that steep hill to get a great view of the Waipio valley

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