Thursday, October 6, 2011

Luakaha Falls

Awhile back me and my wife set off to go to Jackass Ginger pool in nuu'anu.  For some reason we had never taken the short walk to check out the little pool and falls.  On this particular day we headed to nuu'anu and parked off of nuu'anu pali drive.  There's a huge log right off the road that marks the start of the trail.  We headed down to the stream and crossed it.  Since I had heard that it was only a five to ten minute walk to jackass ginger pool, I didn't really do much research.  How hard could it be?  Just cross the stream and turn into the bamboo forest and follow the trail and you'll be there in no time is what I was told.  Well ten minutes turned into twenty and then thirty and I realized I was lost and had probably gone the wrong way.  I ended up in a bamboo forest that was so dense and encompassed by bamboo that one could barely even squeeze through.  I decided to go back to the stream and just follow it further upstream since I was still curious of if anything could lie ahead.  As I went a little further I ended up running into a wall that would allow no further progress but that had a very nice looking waterfall flowing from it.  It was at this point that I knew that I had gone the wrong way for sure but I was glad I did. 

Upon further research when I got home I learned that this was Luakaha Falls and is located directly behind the houses in the Luakaha neighborhood off Nuu'anu pali drive and I believe may be on private property.  Along the way there was also a nice little pool you could take a dip in and it had a tiny waterfall to go along with it.  When I got back to where I had started I figured out what I had done wrong pretty quickly.  After I had crossed the stream right at the start of the trail I took a left into the bamboo forest, when what I need to do was take a right to get to jackass ginger.  So if you are ever over in Nuu'anu just remember that after you cross the stream, a right turn takes you to jackass ginger and a left turn into the bamboo will get you to Luakaha Falls.  There is a pretty well defined trail and it's pretty hard to get lost.  At one point you go up hill for a few minutes but you will soon be back down and then will never stray far from the stream after that.  Also when I went back I learned why I had been stuck in the dense bamboo forest.  When you see some houses you will need to cross to the left side of the stream and you will pick up another trail there that will take you the rest of the way to the falls.  It's about a 30 to 40 minute round trip hike if you know where you are going, and i'm sure some could do it in even less time if they wanted.  If anyone makes it here my suggestion would be that when you get to the falls be very quiet and do your best to get to the falls and back out without being seen.  I have never had any issues but there are some houses somewhat close in proximity.  If I lived up there I know I wouldn't wanna be bothered so I would hope that all of us would treat these residents with the same respect. 

Once at the falls none of the houses will be in view.  I have only seen someone there one time and it was a group of missionary students from UH.  They were yelling and being obnoxious and ruined the peaceful setting.  Please don't be those people if you go.  I decided to ask them how they found out about the falls and they told me that they knew the land owners and had just walked through their property.  They said that the Luakaha neighborhood is all missionaries.  I'm not sure about this but at some point I will look into it.  To get there just act like you are going to the pali lookout and just before the pali lookout turn onto nuu'anu pali drive and park off the side of the road when you see the big log. The big log is the start of the trail.  Please be respectful and don't leave trash here, like many do at jackass ginger pool.  It only takes one person to screw everything up so please don't be that person.  I am more than happy to share what I have seen here in Oahu over the years and I really hope that those that read my blog get to share in the amazing sites here too.










19 comments:

  1. Need a recommendation. My wife and I are in Waikiki Beach area for only 5 days. What is the best hike to the best waterfalls that we can easily get to. We would like to see the native plants along the way. Any advice?

    Phil from Trevor, WI

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  2. Well, unfortunately Luakaha Falls won't be accessible for you unless you go from the Kaniakapupu ruins trail. The trail I mention here has been completely baracaded off as of recently, so I obviously need to go back and do a re-write of this hike. I would suggest Hamama Falls, Lulumahu Falls, Naohia Falls and Maunawili Falls (Leave Waikiki by 6am to do this because it gets crowded). All of these waterfalls except for Maunawili Falls should be on my page with directions and all of them are very short and pretty easy to access (lulumahu is a little tougher to find than the others, but a quick google search will pop up a million directions for Maunawili Falls). Kapena Falls, Manoa Falls and Likeke Falls are also very short waterfall hikes that are easy to access, but are more touristy and more crowded and for the fact aren't on my page, but again, a quick google search will promptly give you directions. Wish I could be more helpful, but the truth is that most of Oahu's better waterfalls consist of very long hikes and are dependent on lots of rain and access is usually restricted. We are not known for our waterfalls here on Oahu like Maui, Kauai and even the Big Island are as far as waterfall are concerned. Have fun exploring and if you have anymore questions I will be more than willing to help. I would suggest buying andrew doughtys "Oahu Revealed" book. It is by far the best guide and will lead you to some great places. Good luck and I wish I could be more of a help.

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  3. Lulumahu Falls is on restricted watershed land and you are taking a risk going there. I was just at the palace and Luakaha Falls a few weeks back. We couldn't find Lulumahu anyway. To get out of Luakaha meant going through someone's yard and lucky for us, he was really nice and didn't call the police.

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    1. Lulumahu Falls is on watershed property, but so is Konahuanui and many other places that are hiked daily. Lulumahu is easy to find and one of the most accesible falls on the island. I did my best in my past write up trying to describe how to get there. I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble for going back there. As for Luakaha, You don't have to trespass to access it. I'm not trying to be rude, but chick808, it's instances like yours that make the residents not want people going there. If you wanna visit Luakaha, go straight instead of going to Kaniakapupu Ruins. When you reach the stream, follow down for about one minute, go to the left, find a tree and carefully climb down. Come back up the same way. There are two more legal access points too, one of which I personally cut. I will try and do a re-write of this trail soon. I do not condone trespassing but the fact is that people are gonna try and find these places regardless and without others helping, they often end up trespassing when in reality there is a legal route they could have taken.

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    2. Planning a trip to the ruins in the Spring. Would like to see Luakaha Falls but not sure of your directions. When you get to the stream to you go left or right? Do you have to cross it? How steep is that climb down? And how far is it from the ruins? Sorry for all the questions.

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    3. This post is from a long time ago. The trail I used to use is pretty much completely blocked off now. The easiest access is from the Kaniakapupu trail. Give me a few days and then check back and i'll have a new post up with driving and trailhead directions from the ruins and some new pics from when I went during the flash flood. The hike is very short (15-20 minutes - probably 5-10 from the ruins). I climb down a little rockface(some people don't like that part) to get to the waterfall but i've heard that there is a easy contour trail just before the stream that one can take. I know it all sounds confusing. lol. Give me a few days and i'll put a new post up on Luakaha that will hopefully be clear. It really is easy though. This post is way out of date though. I totally forgot I even had it up. Thanks for reminding me that I needed to update it

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    4. Did you get a chance to update the trail to Luakaha Falls? I'm getting mixed responses on if you need a permit to go to the ruins or not.

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    5. sorry been really busy with work and hiking and but I will update it soon. The trail to the ruins is completely legal...No need for a permit. I will update everything very soon. I appologize but I just haven't had the time as of late to update things. I will get to it soon though

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  4. Cool! Thanks. Not sure about climbing down that little rockface...I'm not 20 any more. Does this trail take you to above the falls looking down or to the grassy area?

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  5. The property owners dog at Luakaha falls was running loose, and attacked us from behind this morning as we stood in front of the waterfall taking pictures. Lucky for us, the owner didn't call the cops. Just thought I'd give everyone a heads up, in case anyone else decides to hike down to the grassy area fronting Luakaha falls. We learned our lesson, hope others can just learn from it as well, and just enjoy it from the top, or from the contour trail on the side of it.

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    1. Could you possible give me directions on how to get to Luakaha Falls from the Ruins?

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    2. A few questions for you? Why were you lucky that the people didn't call the cops? There dog was running loose. That's against the law. You were doing nothing wrong unless you went through the neighborhood and the private property (which I hope you didn't). The waterfall is not their property. As long as you are in the stream you are fine. The landowners back there can not possibly own that stream. There are very legal ways to get there. I'll update my post here soon with new directions

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    3. We took the Kaniakapupu trail to the top of Luakaha Falls, and hiked the trail that leads up from the top of the falls, and down to the bottom. Yes, the waterfall and stream are not his property. The well kept grassy lawn in front of the waterfall is his property. We saw the owner walking his dog on the Old Pali hwy before we started the hike. He let his dog loose in his backyard to play frisbee when he got home. Once the dog came around the bushes and saw us on the lawn, it attacked. My recommendation for anyone doing this hike would be to just stay in the stream, and enjoy the falls from there. If you want to see the falls from the lawn, make ABSOLUTELY sure you limit your time spent down there. It is a wonderful sight, and a well kept hidden treasure. I'm glad I got to experience it.

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    4. Any updates on the directions to Luakaha Falls from the Ruins? My trip is in a few short weeks.
      Thanks.

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    5. Easy Hiker you are stupid. This hike is on watershed land (still illegal) but the grass area is PRIVATE. Dogs are allowed to be off leash on someone's private property.

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  6. And just to clarify, no, we did not know that the man walking his dog on the Old Pali hwy was the owner of the property fronting Luakaha Falls. He identified himself as the landowner when he caught us.

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  7. Luakaha is owned by the descendants of castle and cooke who got the land after the Ali'i Luakaha Died with no heirs. The gulch that you have to stand in to view the falls is totally private property and those guys will call the cops on you now. Even the portion above the falls is board of water supply and is also private property. Pretty all land in hawaii is owned except the sandy beaches.

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  8. Looks totally baracaded. The Prople that own the property near by turned me back as they were up there

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  9. Unfortunately there was a hiker who died up there recently so no one should be going up there as I am sure they are going to get very strict about enforcing the trespassing laws.

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