Kalauao Falls Loop Trail

HARD 143 reviews
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Kalauao Falls Loop Trail is a 6.8 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 6.8 km Elevation Gain: 415 m Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

over grown

rocky

scramble

off trail

no dogs

Lessor known trail that starts from Keaiwa Heiau State Park off the more commonly known Aiea Loop Trail down into Kalauao Valley to visit Kalauao Falls and Pu'u Uau. This trail was originally created in 1930 and later modified in 1965 by HTMC. This trail is an intermediate level trail with some steep climbs and descents into the valley. It is best done after a good rain, though not immediately so as it will create some pretty high brown waters. Its best after a couple of days as the water settles into a clear blue hue. The trail is generally well marked with orange ribbons and a few pink bottle caps. There is one short section above the waterfalls (if doing this loop clockwise), where there are several parallel trails that makes it a little confusing. Lookout for the ridge trail after the 14th crossing. Once on the ridge, there are lots of really tall Ti plants. Its not much of a switchback - more like straight up. Watch out for muddy sections with loose footing. The ridge is a beautiful place that connects up to Pu'u Uau. This hill is where the junction from Aiea Ridge and Aiea Loop meets. Return back to the start along Aiea Loop Trail.

hiking
over grown
10 days ago

I would recommend this trail to anyone who is looking for an adventure. Unless you know what your are looking for you could get lost down in the river bed. Great secluded waterfall, saw nobody the whole time we were down there.

hiking
bugs
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
21 days ago

*DO NOT GO ON THIS HIKE* This trail is very poorly marked. You will easily get lost multiple times, since the only indication that you are going the right way is a piece of engineer tape every couple miles. This trail is extremely overgrown. For about 2 miles, you are pushing through overgrown, waist-high thickets full of thorns. If you wear shorts or thin pants your legs will be scratched up, bloody, and itchy. When we first did this hike about two months ago, the app described it as moderate. Now it has changed to hard. The hike will make you ascend for a couple miles, then descend a couple more miles to the “waterfall”. Which was just a trickling stream and a small pool of water. At this point there is no service, and it is even more poorly marked, so your only chance is to follow the dried up stream on the rocks and hope for the best. You’ll cross the stream about 7-8 times. There was no marker showing how to get back on trail from the waterfall. Knowing we had to climb to get back to the elevation in which we started the hike, we started climbing. This was the worst part. The hill was dreadfully steep. So steep that you are grabbing onto branches to pull yourself up and crawling on all fours for some balance. You will lose your grip on broken branches and slide back down a couple times. It felt like rock climbing. The hike was not 4.2 miles, but more like 7. Once we finally completed the hike and made it back to our car, a park supervisor told us that we shouldn’t have gone on this hike, and that if we had called for help, we would not be found. Since the trail is so poorly maintained. Please listen to the negative reviews on this hike, as they are very accurate. THE POSITIVE REVIEWS ARE RIDICULOUSLY MISLEADING DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM.

hiking
rocky
24 days ago

hiking
over grown
scramble
1 month ago

I did this hike in the counter-clockwise direction. Overall, this loop is quite a bit of effort for not a whole lot of reward. The theme of this hike is difficulty in following the trail. From the lookout at the Aiea Loop / Aiea Ridge split, look for a very faint trail that snakes directly up the nearby Pu'u. After the summit, the trail descends down the ridge crest in VERY thick vegetation. If you're wearing shorts, you may have a rough time with this section. There are some nice on and off views of southwest Oahu and Pearl Harbor on this section. Once it gets more wooded, the trail starts to disappear -- follow the blazes to stay on trail. I added some myself in a few tricky locations. The alltrails map was quite helpful in staying on the route. Eventually, the trail will abruptly end at a river. Today, it was barely a trickle. Since there appeared to be no other trail to speak of, I just walked down the river, hopping from boulder to boulder and eventually found myself at the top of the falls. I'd say it's about a 20' waterfall with a small pool below. There's a small trail to the right of the falls that takes you down. From there, there is an on-again, off-again trail that crosses back and forth across the stream. Eventually the trail crosses left and you'll encounter a tree with bottle caps and multiple blazes on it. If you miss this landmark, you're gonna have a long day -- that's the turn to head left and up the ridge. It's straight up and steep but there's lots of roots and branches to hold onto. Once at the top, it's an easy hike back out and onto Aiea Loop.

hiking
1 month ago

Couldn’t find it :/ gonna try again in a month because by then I will get over the frustration of not finding it today. We walked for hours and no luck but will just do better research and try again

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

It’s was off and on marked. We used maps to find trail but mahalo to the people marking trails for us to not get lost! It was tough up hill! Pretty sure we had pigs in the bushes

hiking
bugs
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

I started this trail around noon and after failing to find the western side of the trail for 3 hours, I almost gave up. I researched the trail a bit more on google and decided to try one more time. If by 4pm I wasn’t at the Falls, I was going back to the way I came from. Well, I came across the first stream! And yes, the southern part of the trail is very steep and very slippery. I wasn’t wearing my spikes but I had hiking boots and my hiking pole with me. See my photo with the yellow arrow to show you where you start your descent down. And honestly, it’s only when you go down do you see ALL THE PINK AND ORANGE TAPE and rope! I’ll be back and at least this time I learned what I needed for the the next time. Boot covers or shoes to wear crossing the stream. Today I lucked out and the stones were sticking up enough where I could step on them and not get my boots wet. It just finished drizzling when I started my hike so it was super muddy. As you get down to the water, EVERYTHING IS WET AND MUDDY AND ANTS EVERYWHERE. You need some strong legs and strong cardio and stamina for this hike. Definitely challenging. I will come back and see these Falls! Oh, and Aiea Loop Trail hikers are super cool and super helpful; I asked like 3 of them to help me find the trail and they all whipped their phones out and tried their hardest to help me! What awesome aloha spirit out there! Mahalo! Also, you do go from high on top a mountain down to a valley snd back up so it is steep. Be prepared! Note: I had no choice but to go clockwise to start the western side of the trail; counterclockwise I couldn’t find the trail.

2 months ago

We planned to go to the falls and back from the first entrance, but found out the backside of the trail has been cleared. The full loop is great, but I recommend anyone doing the loop instead of out and back go counter clockwise. Wear good hiking shoes or spikes for the backside. And wear long pants, the ferns are out of control.

2 months ago

to

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

This is a great trail for anyone who has a few hours and is looking for a tough workout. We did the route counterclockwise, which meant we had a slow and steady descent down the mountain. The ascent at the other end was quite steep- it would have been difficult to climb down. The stream was nearly completely dry and the “waterfall” was more of trickle than anything. There were portions of the trail that definitely would have been pretty slick if it had recently rained. The trail is marked with coloured ribbon tape along the way, but some spots were a little difficult to find. Portions were significantly overgrown, which made it difficult to know which way to go, even with the tape. We did some backtracking in a couple spots to make sure we hadn’t missed our path. However- we got to see some cool wildlife in the trees and enjoyed this hike in solitude!

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
4 months ago

Challenging decent but pretty walk to waterfall. Have to cross stream several times to stay on trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice little scramble through the brambles. The waterfall is pretty but the trail is very poorly marked, largely overgrown, and muddy.

hiking
4 months ago

Loved the hike up til about the 10th stream crossing when the engineer tapes started disappearing... along with the trail. Followed the alltrails map trail as close as possible but ended up scrambling straight uphill for over a mile. That was rigorous and left me bloody. Hike ended up coming in at 6.0 miles. Far from the 4.2

hiking
off trail
5 months ago

Did this hike on a fairly dry and sunny day so there wasn’t too much mud but that also meant that the waterfall was fairly disappointing. I hiked this trail clockwise. Be very mindful of the trail markings. Almost missed the turn off for the trail and also missed the marking for a turn. If you keep going straight in this portion you’ll end up back onto a road. You’ll quickly find your way back if you miss it though. Beautiful scenery and a very adventurous hike through the jungle/woods down to the creek bed. You’ll follow along there till you get to the waterfall. At this point I would just turn back though. The trail was extremely hard to follow with many paths leading all over the place. It was so bad that I ended up on another small trail completely skipping over a fourth of the hike, leading back up to the main loop trail. I’m not typically one to lose my way on hikes but I got to a point where I was so annoyed that I just followed this side path back up the mountain. The map is also a very useful tool in this hike. Really interesting overall but be prepared to get lost.

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