The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources recently reached out to me with a link to the video above. Many of our long time readers know that we had directions to Sacred Falls here. Key word: had. I took down the directions, not because the DLNR asked me to (they didn’t), but because I watched the video and realized that I should. So I did. If you’re thinking of hiking Sacred Falls, there are many good reasons why you should reconsider:
- It’s illegal.
- In 1999, 8 people were killed at Sacred Falls, and 50 more were injured.
- Since then, many more people have gotten injured or lost on the trail.
- The signs indicating No Entry is not just there for liability; they are enforced.
- Police and DLNR officials do patrol the trail and cite those that disregard the warning signs.
- The trail is not maintained and can be very dangerous and unsafe.
- The state has a zero tolerance policy, and if you are caught on the trail then you will be cited.
- It is culturally disrespectful to hike Sacred Falls.
According to this Star Advertiser article from 2014, “entry into Sacred Falls State Park is a petty misdemeanor, punishable in court with fines of a minimum $100 for a first offense; $200 for a second offense; and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. The Board of Land and Natural Resources may also pursue civil administrative penalties of up to $2,500 for a first violation; $5,000 for a second violation; and $10,000 for a third or subsequent violation, according to the DLNR.”
“When somebody gets hurt, who do they call…they call 911….just to get in here with the chopper (helicopter) you can’t do it. The ropes are not long enough to take our basket in here to get people out.” – Michael Chung, Honolulu Fire Department
“They just simply don’t know enough to be respectful. They don’t know Kaliuwaa. That is one of our issues. That is one of our problems. If they knew…if they realized that its like climbing the walls of a temple…perhaps we’d have better control. I feel it is hurtful to us to see something that we think is so magnificent and so important to our culture being abused.” – Hawaii Resident
For a listing of over 40 state-maintained trails that you can do on Hawaii, check out the Na Ala Hele website. There are a ton of great hikes in the state that you can do legally, that are just as fun and beautiful.