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Hikes on Guam: The Korean Airlines Flight 801 Memorial

Basic Information

  • What: Korean Airlines Flight 801 Memorial
  • Where, Guam, USA
  • Distance: 5.5 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 413 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • More Information: Guam Guide

kal 801 map

Narrative

After finishing my hike down to the Fonte Dam which is located in central Guam, I hiked back to the main power line trail to continue my hike over to the Korean Airlines Flight 801 Memorial.  The crash of KAL 801 happened on August 6, 1997 due to a pilot error that led to the aircraft flying into Nimitz Hill killing 228 people.  The trailhead for this hike is very easy 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 parking lot it is just a matter of crossing the road and following the powerline trail down the hill:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

At some sections along the trail reddish dirt can be seen which is testament to the volcanic origins of Guam:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

As I continued to down the trail I actually started to jog a bit because of how well defined the path is.  I then noticed that XTERRA Guam race signs were visible:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

This means that this route was part of the long distance trail race that had recently taken place on the island.  The first part of the trail is all down hill as it passes the turn off to the Fonte Dam.  At the bottom of the hill there is a creek that is crossed by this small bridge:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

After crossing the bridge the trail then begins a steady ascent up the other side of the valley:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

I next came to an intersection where I took a left which led away from the powerline trail:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

After a short distance I then came to a road that paralleled an oil pipeline used by the Navy:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

In fact all this land that this hike is on is Navy land that they allow the public to access.  So need to worry about trespassing on federal property and being arrested.  Now that I was on an actual road I had a good jog going on as I headed east towards the memorial:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

Along the pipeline road I saw plenty of sugarcane that was growing which led me to believe that this area at one time was a sugar plantation:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

I eventually came to another intersection where I made a left that leads to the memorial:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

Strangely there are no signs of any kind to designate where this memorial is located at.  Because of this I recommend doing a good Google Earth recon before heading out on this hike.  After making the left I then found myself in a large parking lot with the memorial visible on its far end:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

The memorial is a very large black obelisk with a retaining wall around it:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

In front of this memorial is this dedication plaque in honor of the victims and survivors of KAL Flight 801:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

In front of the obelisk there is a small table:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

On the table there is a soju bottle and cup:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

Pouring a drink for the deceased is customary way that the dead are commemorated in Korea.  On the front of the obelisk there is a poem dedicated to the victims of this tragedy:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

On the back of the obelisk there is a list of the victim’s names as well as those of the 26 people who miraculously survived the crash:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

There was one survivor with an English name, Barry Small who was a New Zealander who worked on Guam.  Above the site of the memorial there is a hilltop which I walked back up the road to check out.  On top of the hill I found an Federal Aviation Administration facility:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

From the top of the hill I had a great view looking down towards Guam’s capital of Hagatna:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

Here is a panorama picture of the view from the hill above the memorial looking towards the north:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

Looking towards the south I could see the 1,007 foot Mt. Alutom & the 1,014 foot Mt. Chachao:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

My previous hike up these peaks can be read about at the below link:

I spent about 30 minutes checking out the memorial and the views before jogging back down the pipeline road to the powerline trail:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

As I jogged down the powerline trail I could see the ridgeline across from me which is where the pipeline road traverses to the KAL Flight 801 memorial located on the far left of the picture:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

Ahead of me I could see the powerline trail ascending up the hill towards the Joint Region Marianas Headquarters where the trailhead is located:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

I jogged most of the way back to the trailhead, but ended up walking up the final stretch of the uphill section to the trailhead:

Picture from Hike to the KAL Flight 801 Memorial

Conclusion

Overall I had a good day hiking down to the Fonte Dam followed by checking out the Korean Airline Flight 801 Memorial.  The hike to the memorial to include stopping at the dam was 5.5 miles.  However, it is possible to do this hike as a loop via the Fonte Dam, but I had to backtrack due to the aggressive wasps along the trail near the dam. As a loop this hike would probably be about 4 miles.  Since I jogged most of this hike the route to the KAL memorial can also be used as a trail run for those interested in getting a work out in.  Whether hiking or running this is a pretty cool area of Guam to check out combined with paying respects to the deceased of the tragic KAL Flight 801 crash.

Click here to find more hikes at the Guam Regional Trail Finder

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