The hike to the Fonte Dam is very easy and family friendly. However, be prepared for mud and mosquitoes. Additionally for those thinking of swimming in the water just consider the dangers of leptospirosis before jumping in.
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- What: Fonte Dam
- Where, Guam, USA
- Distance: 1.6 miles round-trip
- Elevation Gain: 400 feet
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time: 1 hour
- More Information: The Best Tracks on Guam
Map of the HIke
On a recent weekend I decided to complete another hike in the guidebook “The Best Tracks on Guam: A Guide to the Hiking Trails“. The hike was to swimming hole located at the base of Fonte Dam below Nimitz Hill. This is one of the shorter trails in the guidebook so I decided to combine it with a trail run to the Korean Airlines Flight 801 crash memorial. The trailhead to Fonte Dam is easy enough to find. It is located by taking Route 6 off of Marine Corps Drive and following it until it reaches the US military’s Joint Region Marianas Headquarters. There is a large parking lot in front of the headquarters that anyone can park at:
From the lot it is just a matter of crossing the road and following the Historical Trail sign:
The historical trail leads past this substation before following a power line trail:
Once passed the substation the trail descended steeply down a hill:
Towards the bottom of the hill I noticed this small marker on the ground pointing the way to Fonte Dam:
The trail is overgrown with vegetation, but still easy to follow as it descends down into the surrounding jungle:
The trail does eventually get quite muddy which made me glad I was wearing my waterproof hiking boots for this hike:
In less than a mile and about 25 minutes later I found myself standing on top of the Fonte Dam:
Here is a panorama view from the top of the dam of the Fonte River and the surrounding jungle:
From the top of the dam I continued to descend down the trail to the river below. It was quite slippery here, but there was plenty of trees to grab on to, to help me down the trail:
Here is a view of Fonte Dam from down below:
The Fonte Dam was built in 1910 to supply water to the capitol city of Hagatna.The walls of the dam are supposed to have been constructed with red bricks, but I could not really tell since it was covered in mud and grime. The swimming hole at the base of the dam is supposed to be a popular swimming location for locals, but considering how muddy the water looked I did not want to jump in it. My biggest fear being contracting leptospirosis which hikers catch from the fresh water on Guam. The bacteria is caused by fecal matter from wild pigs getting in to the water. Hikers have even contracted the disease from having mud splashed on their legs and having it come into contact with an open scratch. Considering how sick the leptospirosis can make people I made sure to skip doing any swimming. Instead I just took plenty of pictures:
From the dam the Fonte River continues to pleasantly flow down this heavily vegetated valley:
I actually considered taking a more direct trail to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial which was this trail on the other side of the creek:
However, the amount of aggressive wasps buzzing around the trail discouraged me from continuing. So instead I hung out and took a few more pictures before heading back to the main trail.
The hike to the Fonte Dam is very easy and family friendly. However, like I said before people need to make their own decision on whether they want to risk being exposed to leptospirosis by swimming in the water. I also recommend wearing boots and pants due to the mud which can also spread the bacteria on open scratches. If proper precautions are taken there is little chance of catching the bacteria which makes enjoying Guam’s trails that much better.
Get The Best Tracks on Guam for more trail information: