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 [insert applicable disorder, disease, or physical impairment] don’t even think about it yo.” Also, consider these tips on Hiking Safely In Hawaii. Mahalo.
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.
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!
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.