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Best Hikes On Oahu: The Hamama Falls Trail

Basic Information

  • Name: Hamama Falls
  • Where: Oahu
  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 686 feet
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

Picture from Hamama Falls

Google Earth Image of Hamama Falls Trail

Hamama Falls Google Earth Image

Narrative

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii is not one you will find in a guidebook.  I only found out about this hike to Hamama Falls from a long time local who happened to live in the neighborhood near where this hike begins:

Picture from Hamama Falls

My friend gave me directions to the trailhead and on a recent weekend I drove over to the neighborhood and found a place to park along the street.  I then walked up the road towards where the trailhead begins:

Picture from Hamama Falls

The trailhead is a locked fence because the land is owned by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply:

Picture from Hamama Falls

My friend told me that this is a popular hiking course for people in the area even though it is technically trespassing.  The day I did this hike I saw multiple families and joggers heading up the trail.  From what my friend told me, he said that the Honolulu Board of Water Supply does not want this hike to turn into another Manoa Falls Trail that would bring massive amounts of tourists and the accompanying overcrowding, parking, noise and littering problems that come with them.  I think the Board of Water Supply is approaching this correctly.  This is a quiet neighborhood that would be forever changed if the beautiful waterfall became a major tourist attraction.  That is why I am not going to publish directions to the trailhead.  If you live in Oahu you can eventually figure out how to get here by asking around.

At the gate there is a well worn path that leads around the fence and onto the trail:

Picture from Hamama Falls

The trail for this hike is actually a well maintained dirt road:

Picture from Hamama Falls

I made quick progress up the valley towards the waterfall because of the great shape the road is in:

Picture from Hamama Falls

As the road ascends up the valley it follows a really beautiful creek:

Picture from Hamama Falls

The trail then eventually comes to a big open clearing with a weather station:

Picture from Hamama Falls

At the clearing is where a large concrete gate is at that looks like something straight out of Jurassic Park:

Picture from Hamama Falls

The gate had water flowing out of it so I think it serves as some kind of dam:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Across the grass clearing there is a foot trail that can be followed that continues the hike up the valley:

Picture from Hamama Falls

The foot trail is a shortcut to get back onto the dirt road that leads to the waterfall:

Picture from Hamama Falls

The road for most of the hike makes a very gradual ascent up the valley, however after the clearing the road becomes much steeper and muddier:

Picture from Hamama Falls

The road was very slippery in some spots which caused me to really be careful with my footing:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Something cool I noticed while walking on this section of the trail was that there was a plant growing along the side of the road that move when touched:

Picture from Hamama Falls

When the plant was touched its petals would curl up:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Here is another interesting plant I saw as I hiked up the trail:

Picture from Hamama Falls

During this section of the hike more views of the rugged Ko’olau Range above the trail could be seen:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Despite the clouds and occasional drizzle of rain the scenery was still outstanding to take in:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Everything was just covered in a deep green:

Picture from Hamama Falls

There was one area along the trail that actually provided a view looking back down the valley all the way to the ocean:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Near the waterfall the road ends and turns into a foot trail:

Picture from Hamama Falls

After a short walk on the foot trail the pipes in front of the waterfall came into view:

Picture from Hamama Falls

From the pipes I had an outstanding view of this beautiful waterfall:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Hamama Falls is about half the size of Manoa Falls, but it has a distinctive triangle shape:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Here is a picture of the creek that flows below the falls:

Picture from Hamama Falls

I stayed at the falls for about 15 minutes taking pictures before it began to heavily down pour.  I decided it was time to head back down the trail.  Here is a final panorama picture I took of the falls before leaving:

Picture from Hamama Falls

It rained on me off and on as I walked back down the trail.  However, I did the enjoy the views of the cloud covered Ko’olau Range despite the rain:

Picture from Hamama Falls

Picture from Hamama Falls

Conclusion

My Garmin Fenix GPS  measured the hike as being an easy 3.7 miles long with 686 feet of elevation gain.  The elevation gain may seem a bit high, but it is well spread out across the hike to where it is not that difficult.  As beautiful as Hamama Falls were the surrounding Ko’olau Range was just as beautiful.  It was another great day out in beautiful Oahu.

Note: Many more great trails on Oahu can be found by checking out my Oahu Regional Trail Finder at the link.

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