Best hikes on Oahu! Waterfall edition: Maunawili Falls

If you're looking for a fun hike to a gorgeous waterfall that is deep enough to cliff jump into, then this is the one for you!

Maunawili falls is one of my favorite waterfalls because it has so much character. Although many waterfall hikes are gorgeous, this one has several clearings that open up the valley to show you how deep in the midst you actually are. I rate the difficulty of this a level 4 out of 10 because its fairly easy, just always super muddy. You have to have stamina to get through the mud and an open mind to getting dirty. Like, REALLY dirty. So wear shoes you don’t mind getting trashed. Please don’t wear slippers; you’ll look dumb. And you don’t want to look dumb, do you?

This trail starts at a corner gate near the end of Maunawili Rd. in Kailua. You'll see the corner where the valley meets the road. When you enter the gate, look for walking sticks. Grab it and thank me later. Walk on the paved road for about three minutes. You’ll see a three little signs on the right (I don’t know what they say, I never read them. I just know that’s where I enter the dirt/mud trail). Continue on the obvious path. About 30 minutes in, you’ll see a sign across the stream, cross it and continue. If you miss this crossing, don't worry, the trail going straight leads to the same place, it's just A LOT more muddy. 30 more minutes and you should arrive at the waterfall. Most people do the five foot jump off the rock by the waterfall. Rebels do the 30' jump high above the left. There are signs that say no cliff jumping buttttt.

Most people turn around and go back from here. BUT what they don't know is the fun things that lie ahead if you continue past the falls. If you're up for a real adventure, continue on. You'll go up a really steep mud wall. If you weren't dirty before, now you will be. Go all the way up and continue on the obvious path. You'll be walking along side an irrigation system. You'll soon reach a pipe. Walk across it but don't forget to look up when you're on it! It's one of my absolute favorite views. Continue beyond that and you'll reach a second pipe. This one is a lot higher than the other and kind of sketchy. Continue past that and you'll reach the hidden bridge. BE CAREFUL! I'd advise to only step on the metal sides as the wooden steps can break at any minute. Continue past the bridge and you'll reach the moss slides. These slides almost always have water flowing but it's extra fun when its pouring rain! (expect 2-4 hours, out and back)

TIPS:

  • #1: RESPECT THE NEIGHBORHOOD! Be quiet. Do not get mud on their walls.
  • Wear bug spray, lots of it.
  • Bring a change of clothes
  • Bring slippers to change into when you take your muddy shoes off
  • Bring a plastic bag to throw your muddy shoes in