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Hamama Falls: Follow The Gravel Road To This Restricted Waterfall

Note: Hamama Falls is not open to the public. It is illegal to hike this trail and to do so would be cause for citation or arrest. There is also a risk of falling boulders, landslides, and drowning. As our disclaimer partially reads: “I’m not your daddy, these are dangerous as sh*t hikes, even the simple ones, if you got club feet don’t even think about it yo, and if you or your estate tries to put this on me for damages I will F*ck your Sh*t up, I know some Samoans who can do it too.”

Hamama Falls is no Aiea Ridge. Of course it isn’t, you might be thinking. Hamama Falls is, well, a waterfall, and Aiea Ridge is a ridge hike. Yes, you’re right. The only reason why I bring up Aiea Ridge is because that was supposed to be the hike that this post should have been based on. This was not the case because the Exploration: Hawaii crew had a little too much fun the night before, exploring Downtown Honolulu in the dead of night. There was no time to wake up at 6am in the morning as planned to hike the twelve-mile grinder that is the Aiea Ridge Trail. Oh well. Instead, we hopped on a little used gravel road in the back of Kahaluu, and found a hidden gem of a waterall that is restricted and under the watchful eye of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply.

At the trailhead you will be greeted by this Keep Out sign.

Walking down the gravel road.

Early on, you’ll reach a part of the stream in which the locals like to jump in.

Finding this trail is relatively easy. Depending where you are coming from, you’ll probably hop on either the Pali Highway or the Likelike Highway and drive toward the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Kaneohe. You’ll then pass the historic Hygienic Store (Founded in 1907) near the intersection of Kahekili and Kamehameha Highway. Just past the Hygienic Store will be Waihe’e Road, turn left here. The road ends at a metal gate. This is the trailhead. You’ll park in the neighborhood.

The trail, if you can even call it that, follows a gravel road. Be forewarned that once you pass the metal gate you are officially trespassing. The Board of Water Supply oversees this land and can cite you for trespassing. However, do keep in mind that this trail is well trodden by locals. We passed a few fellow waterfall seekers as we made our way to the falls. The gravel road twists and turns, but is relatively flat the entire way. Towards the end will be the most strenuous part of the trail, the gravel road will begin to incline. It’ll almost seem like the incline won’t end, and then it does, in a less than dramatic fashion. The hike to the falls is more of a causal walk and can be boring for thrill seekers, despite this, the falls itself is quite exciting!

Another view of the stream.

You’ll find this flash flood station near the stream early on during the walk.

Near the flash flood station will be this bridge crossing.

Keep following the gravel road and eventually you will hit Hamama Falls, which will be to your right. Keep your ears open and you should hear the roaring waters as well. When we reached the falls I was pretty stoked. New things are exciting. And then I noticed the nuances of these falls. For instance, the obnoxiousness of the blatantly present metal pipes. The pipes are literally positioned directly in front of the falls. Not cool, Board of Water Supply.

Oh well, step in front of those metal pipes and imagine they aren’t there (just don’t turn around). That’s what I did. And it worked. Hamama Falls is a beautiful sight and a nice alternative to the traffic prone Manoa Falls. The only caveat is that the gravel road and grotesque metal pipes take away from the experience and the mosquitos are ferocious. If you can ignore these few negatives then there sure is a lot of positives to find at Hamama Falls. Enjoy the casual walk, take in the Koolau Range and her sheer cliffs in the not-so-distant background, and then sit and get swept away by Hamama Falls.

Total Distance: 3.2 miles roundtrip.

Total Time: About 2 hours roundtrip.

Hamama Falls Trail Tips:

  • Bring mosquito repellent or you’ll be eaten alive!
  • The Hamama Falls trail is very family friendly, if you can get over the fact that you’ll be trespassing.

Directions to Hamama Falls: Hop on either the Pali Highway or the Likelike Highway and drive toward the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Kaneohe. You’ll then pass the historic Hygienic Store (Founded in 1907) near the intersection of Kahekili and Kamehameha Highway. Just past the Hygienic Store will be Waihe’e Road, turn left here. The road ends at a metal gate. This is the trailhead. You’ll park in the neighborhood.

Enjoy the casual walk, take in the Koolau Range and her sheer cliffs in the not-so-distant background, and then sit and get swept away by Hamama Falls.

Don’t try to enter this tunnel, there’s a surveillance camera watching you. Follow a dirt trail just to the right of this structure and it will lead you back to the gravel road on toward the falls.

Next to the LOST looking wall with the security camera will be this little shack and flower field.

Hiking up towards the falls.

Snapping a photo of a banyan tree marking the Waihee Falls junction.

To the right of the gravel trail you’ll be greeted by Hamama Falls and the distracting metal pipes that lie directly in front of it.

It’s hard to ignore those metal pipes, but if you can, then you’ll be able to appreciate this beautiful waterfall.

Someone left a baseball near the falls.

An unobstructed view of Hamama Falls.

Minimal hiking footwear.

It’s a small pool beneath the falls.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii, Blogger, Hiker, Foodie, Apple Aficionado, T-Shirt Enthusiast, Psychologist, and Rogue Scientist.

5 comments

  1. Love Hamama, though when I went it was a little dryer than what I’ve seen in these photos and others. Maybe I’ll go back after a good rain as there’s still another waterfall to see off the main trail called Waihee Falls. It’s supposed to be pretty as well.

    Aloha and thanks again for sharing these wonderful photos.

    • Hey Punynari, yup, we were actually supposed to go looking for Waihee Falls too on the way back from Hamama. We found the junction one the way up and then when we were coming down from Hamama we forgot all about the second falls! Oh well, gives another reason to go back!

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