Sometime in the middle of last year, I went on a little field trip with the Sierra Club of Hawaii – Oahu Chapter to visit Lulumahu Falls, Kaniakapupu, and Luakaha Falls. You can check out the Kaniakapupu post here, but for some reason, I never got around to sharing photos from Lulumahu Falls. Oddly enough, when this blog first started in 2011, Lulumahu Falls was one of the most requested posts from readers. We never got around to making a post, despite a memorable experience trying to find it.
Before I continue, please take the time to watch this video about the surrounding area and its cultural significance.
Fast forward to four years later. Still no Lulumahu Falls post on Exploration: Hawaii. By now, Lulumahu Falls had become a popular open secret. It’s off limits, yes. And so when the opportunity to hike the trail with the Sierra Club popped up…I said, why not. After all, they had the necessary permits to hike the trail.
On the day of the hike, though, the first thing that I noticed was the stream of people zipping to the trailhead and beyond. At one point, we passed a group of 50+ people, who looked like a tourists, just as they were leaving the falls. So much for waiting to hike this trail with a permit.
Apparently, it’s been a problem for a while now. Check out this report from earlier this year from KITV:
Regardless of the crowd, we forged on, permit in hand.
The falls in all its Nuuanu glory.
The Sierra Club, just after the large crowd of 50+ people left.
Random person enjoying Lulumahu Falls.
After Lulumahu Falls, we looped back toward the Nuuanu Reservoir. From there, we headed to Kaniakapupu and then to Luakaha Falls. Interestingly enough, Luakaha Falls is located on private land, therefore, Sierra Club only viewed it from the top of the falls. Not ideal, of course…but I’ll take it.
This is Clyde. He led the hike. I remember him telling us a story at the start of the hike about the unpredictability of hiking, no matter the difficulty. He had hiked the trail to Lulumahu Falls many years ago, and witnessed a member of the group have a major heart attack and not survive.
Here’s the view from the top of Luakaha Falls. I’ve read multiple accounts about unleashed wild dogs that roam the private grounds below. The owner, understandably, doesn’t like people gawking at the falls from his lawn.