Kalauao Falls Loop Trail

hard 177 reviews
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Kalauao Falls Loop Trail is a 4.2 mile 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: 4.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,361 feet 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
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

The first quarter mile off of the Aiea loop trail was easy. Then came the climb down. It was steep and slippery in places. Most of the hike in the bottom of the gulch both before and after the waterfall is climbing over river rocks. The waterfall itself was nice, my boys jumped in and swam. It was deep and the water was clear. It was after the waterfall that things took a turn. There are ribbons marking where to cross the river immediately after the waterfall then nothing for about a quarter mile. We weren’t sure we were still going the right direction until my son saw the pink bottle top nailed into a tree. The rest of the trip back up was sheer climbing, holding on to brush, roots and crawling until you get halfway up the ridge where you walk about a half mile in thorny brush. The round trip was almost 6 miles and it took us 5 hours. That includes the 20 minutes spent at the waterfall. There are a great many other waterfalls on the island that are way easier to get to. If your in it for the waterfall the hike is not worth it. If you love to climb and crawl and like a challenge, bring plenty of bug spray, water and a walking stick or two and good luck. That was the first and only time I will do this hike, my husband and kids said the same.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
washed out
5 days ago

the first half (we started to the South) was great, but the second half of this trail just isn't an option. I would not recommend it for anyone who isn't willing to bring a machete, some markers, and do some maintenance. if you cannot lift your body weight, and climb more than 10 flights of stairs, do not even attempt. that being said, I loved it and I'm going back.

hiking
bugs
closed
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
29 days ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
1 month ago

Definitely kicked my ass - it was hard. Your going to want long pants and long sleeve shirt. Plenty of water and snacks as well. Wear shoes with a lot of traction- when it rains the whole area is slick. We went CW - poorly marked after the waterfalls, we ended turning around to get back. Took us almost six hours with all the backtracking we did.

hiking
muddy
over grown
1 month ago

taking the trail down immediately is the easiest way there and back... on the way there the stream is actually really beautiful... trying to do the loop completely can be challenging at times but I wouldn't say it difficult.. getting a little confusing immediately after passing the waterfall and around the horse shoe part of the trail. stick with alltrails not to bad... once your going up hill you really can't get lost. but it's very over grown and I can see it being a little challenging if muddy. the second have I would recommend some sorta pants... so over all I recommend coming the way you go down to the waterfall (left)

hiking
bugs
off trail
2 months ago

hiking
off trail
over grown
rocky
2 months ago

DO NOT DO THIS HIKE!!!!! poorly marked, hard to see trail in certain areas! can very easily get lost. i was scared for my life multiple times! PLEASE TAKE MY ADVICE!

hiking
2 months ago

Thanks!

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Five stars! 4 for being an ass-kicker, and 1 because my friend Caleb got stung by a bee - and I didn't :) This is a tough trail that starts out easy (regardless if you go CW or CCW), but then gets much more challenging. We went CCW. I could see pros/cons to each direction. Budget yourself at least 5 hours so you can do it safely and enjoy the time in nature. Tips: 1) LIGHTWEIGHT LONG PANTS. Seriously. So glad I wore them (5.11 tacticals with cargo pockets). Maybe wear shorts under pants but please have the pants. If I go again am going to bring a long-sleeved shirt too. You want zippered or Velcro pockets to keep stuff from falling out. 2) Water and food. Slowly keep hydrated an munch on those snacks. I didn't, and I think that is what led to me getting really exhausted on the final climb out. 3) If it hasn't rained much, then the falls and the streambed are going to be dry and less interesting. Some of the paths were so dry that sliding was a problem. 4) Unless you are in good shape, don't go. If going up 10 flights of steps is a problem, then this hike is not for you. 5) The terrain has good risk for twisting an ankle. Walking across slippery rocks takes more effort and energy. Lots of places where the overgrowth is covering up tripping hazards. I would not go alone. You won't run into other people like on the Aiea Loop trail. Maybe bring an extra ACE bandage. You never know..... 6) Bring an extra battery pack. I had 40% left at end, but Caleb's iPhone was dead. Check your map often. I sometimes had low GPS, but never totally lost signal (Sprint) 7) If you bring too much water, you will regret humping it around.

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