Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hamama and Waihe'e Falls

Well, the New Year has arrived and unfortunately it has started in a rough way for me.  I have an ear infection that is killing me and other obligations as of right now that are keeping me off the trails for the time being.  In the mean time I will be back posting some of the hikes that I've done in the past, but have never posted about.  It may be a little while until I get back on the trails, but 2012 is gonna be a busy year of hiking for me and a lot of  good stuff will be revealed on here as I take my adventures to another level.  I can't wait but in the mean time I'm gonna rest up and keep planning my future hikes for this year.

I'm gonna start my blogging year with a hike that has become incredibly popular as of late, due to the shortness and easiness of the trail.  Hamama Falls is a huge waterfall located in the Kaneohe area.  A side trail from this waterfall will take you to another smaller waterfall named Waihe'e Falls.  Along this hike you will also pass a small, crystal clear, swimming hole that is great to take a dip in.  The hike shouldn't take more than two to three hours at the absolute most.  Hamama Falls is technically a closed trail due to the fact that is situated on the property of the board of water supply.  However, locals and other hikers have been visiting this place for a very long time, with no problems.  I have been back to Hamama Falls to many times to count, and this is another hike in which I love to take out of town friends to, since it is very easy.  The hike starts at the end of Waihe'e road (see driving directions at the bottom of this write up).  The last time I visited these falls, I took three co-workers with me with the main intention being to introduce them to hiking.  After we parked at the very end of Waihe'e road (just before a gate blocks further progress) we all quickly gathered our stuff and quitely walked to the end of the road where the gate was.  There was a no trespassing sign and other sings of the same sort, but knowing that they are never enforced, we proceeded around the gate and started our hike along the gravel road.

There really isn't much to say as far as trail directions for this hike.  You pretty much just follow the gravel road all the way to the falls.  Near the beginning of the trail I recall another gate coming in to view and the gravel road going to the left and down from there.  We took a left down the gravel road and in the opposite direction of the gate.  Not long after that we passed a bunch of old rusted out trailers on our right side and about three minutes after that we heard the sound of some water to our left.  A 15 second walk down to the stream will take you directly to a beautiful, crystal clear, swimming hole with a miniature waterfall coming from it.  I always take a dip here after the hike, which is exactly what we all did on this day.  Locals from the neighborhood are almost always hanging out back at this swimming hole on the weekends and during the summer.

After the little swimming hole, our group followed the gravel road briefly until it ended at a huge grassy area with a neat looking building with water coming out from underneath of it.  The gravel road started back up to the far right, but we took a little shortcut to the gravel road by going up a little path just to the right of the building with water coming out of it.  Once back on the gravel road, the hardest part of the hike begins, which is still very easy.  This is one of the most family friendly hikes i've ever seen on here on Oahu.  The only tough part is that the gravel road gets a little steep and you will start to huff and puff a little, as you get closer and closer to the falls.  This was definetly the case with our group on this day too, and as some went ahead, the others hung out behind us with their hands on their hips.  Before we knew it though, the slight workout was over with and the gravel road ended and we were might by a giant waterfall, coming down in different tiers.  The look on my co-workers faces upon seeing the waterfall, made my day.  They looked so in awe and I could tell how relaxed and at peace they felt.  We all played around for a little bit under the falls and took a bunch of pictures before packing up.

The awesome thing about Hamama Falls, is that it is spring fed and not stream fed, which means that it is always flowing, year round.  There really isn't much of a pool underneath of the falls, but there is just enough water to get in and splash for a few minutes.  Beware of falling rocks though, especially if it's been raining hard.  After finishing up at Hamama Falls, we grabbed our stuff and headed back the way we had came.  About one minute after leaving the falls we came to a huge banyan tree (you can't miss it) and took a left down a faint trail there.  We crossed the stream and then followed the stream, down stream.  The trail should be ribboned to show other hikers the way, but other hikers and locals do come through and rip the ribbons down on occasion, so just know that the ribbons may not be there to help you.  After following along a tiny ridge for a short period the ridge ended and we took a left, heading away from the stream and up an incredibly muddy, somewhat obscure trail.  As we all were slidding around in the mud and a few of my friends were getting attacked by bugs (this area seems to be packed with bugs so break your insect repellent our you will regret it) we could still hear the sound of a stream to our right.  At points the trail became a little hard to follow, but we just kept heading upwards, taking a few turns along the way, on what we figured was the correct trail and the next thing we knew, the sound of water had gotten louder and we had arrived at Waihe'e Falls. 

While not nearly as impressive as the taller and prettier Hamama Falls, Waihe'e Falls is still a neat little waterfall to glance at.  It's only about ten or fifteen feet in height, but there is a steep trail just to the right of it that is climbable to get to the top of the falls and to get a glimpse of a much higher waterfall above it.  Be careful if you climb up the trail, because it is slippery and very steep and not the safest climb to be making, especially if you are not an experienced hiker or climber.  Our group didn't spend much time at the falls, being that everyone but me was being attacked by bugs (for someone reason I don't get bit by bugs).  We quickly made it back to the gravel road and down to the swimming hole where the four of us rejoiced by swimming in the crystal cool spring before making our way back to our car.  At the end of the hike, I looked at the happy faces of my co-workers and was really happy to be able to take them away from the stresses of every day life and show them just a glimpse of what this beautiful island has to offer.  Even though this waterfall is not one of my personal favorites and honestly, is a hike that I would never do with my regular hiking partners, it still amazed them and made them giddy with excitement.  It took me back to when I first started hiking and made me once again realize, that some places never loose their alure, even if you've been there a million times.  That is what makes Oahu truly an amazing place.  No matter how many times I hike a certain trail or visit a certain beach or lookout, the beauty never ceases to amaze me.  I can only hope that this hike was the first of many endeavors out in to the world of nature here in Oahu for my co-workers and if that is the case, then I am pleased to have had a part in it.

Directions: Head towards Kaneohe, acting as though you are going to the byodo-in temple (valley of the temples).  Coming from pearl city, take the H3 to the likelike hwy to hwy 83 (Kahekili hwy).  You will eventually pass the valley of the temples and shortly afterwards Kamehameha hwy (hwy 830) will come in to view on your right side and will intersect with the highway you are on, Kahekili hwy.  Almost immediately after the Kahehili and Kamehameha highways intersect, a hygenic store will come in to view on the left side of the street.  The next street after the hygenic store will be Waihe'e road on the left side of the road once again.  Take a left on to Waihe'e road and follow the road until it ends at a gate, blocking further progress.  Park somewhere along the street in the neighborhood and then walk down to the gate, and pass by on the left side, and begin down the gravel road to start your hike.  Be respectful while in the neighborhood and please don't leave any trash on the trail.  Pack out everything that you bring in.

Building with water coming out from underneath.  The trail back to the gravel road is just to the right of this building and heads upwards through some brush very shortly before reaching the road again.

Hamama Falls

The banyan tree where the trail to Waihe'e falls begins.  The trail starts just to the right of where the tree ends.

Waihe'e Falls


  1. love your story however can you actually tell me exactly how to get the short and simple way and is the trail open to where you can see it from beginning to end?? yeah email me pretty plz would appericated