The last time I was in this area was over a year ago when I did the Hauula Loop Trail with Joel and Marvin. Since then, I’ve done many trails throughout the island, but never had the chance to return to do the second half of what Stuart Ball calls the Hauula-Papali Loop Trail. I finally found the time to finish the larger portion of Ball’s double loop, but unlike last time, I would be doing the hike solo.
Update: Significant edits have been made to this post. Please watch the video above for reasons why you should not do this hike. Mahalo.
Note: Sacred Falls Park and Sacred Falls trail has been closed since May 1999. The State of Hawaii has no plans to re-open the park. 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.
Before the tragedy of 1999, Sacred Falls was one of the top tourist attractions for those visiting the island of Oahu. This all changed on Mother’s Day 1999, when eight people were killed and 50 more were injured from a massive landslide. At its height, the popular trail and waterfall received up to 55,000 visitors annually. Since 1999, the park and the waterfall trail has been closed to visitors and hopeful waterfall seekers. In 2003, the State of Hawaii reached an $8.56 million settlement with those injured and the families of the victims.
Koloa Gulch is an 8 mile roundtrip waterfall hike that leads to a massive waterfall (or 2 if you have time) in back of this Hauula valley on the windward side of the island. While long, the hike is not difficult as there are no strenuous inclines or declines save for the very beginning of the trail. Caution is warranted as flash floods would be extremely dangerous at certain portions of the hike and one must be careful of falling rocks as well. It is still a fairly tiring hike but delivers an excellent waterfall for those who make it to the end.
The single most limiting factor (in my opinion) when it comes to hiking in Hawaii is the weather. More specifically, rain. And if you know me then you know that I am not a fan of rain. Despite recent lofty plans to complete some epic hikes, Team Exploration: Hawaii had to modify their schedule in order to cooperate with the cloudy skies and occasional showers that Oahu has been experiencing over the last couple of days. With that said, our planned hikes that involved multiple summits on the Ko’olau range as well as an attempt at completing the treacherous Kalena had to be scrapped.