Distance: 2.5 miles
Length of time: roughly 2 hours
I’m oftentimes asked what my favorite hikes are on Oahu.
It’s a hard question to answer because there are sooooo many different hikes and each hike is unique in its own way! I usually reply by asking them what they are hoping to see. A waterfall? Perhaps a beautiful view?
But, either way, Lulumahu Falls always tops my list!
Lululmahu Falls is a great hike if you are looking for some adventure. You get a little bit of everything on this one-it really is a gem! Tucked away in the back of Nu’uanu Valley, you won’t be disappointed with this one!
The land is owned by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and passes by the Nu’unanu Reservoir. So, those wishing to hike this trail should obtain a permit first. It’s an easy process and can be obtained online here: Lulumahu Falls Hiking Permit
The trailhead of this hike is located at the end of the Old Pali Road. You will see a parking area where you can leave your vehicles (hide valuables and lock your doors). Be sure to leave your hiking permit visible in your dash and also bring a copy with you. I’ve never had anyone stop and ask me for my permit. But, for $2.50 I think it’s always worth having one with you because you just never know…much cheaper than a fine!
To start, you will look for an opening in the fence like this. This is where your adventure will begin!
If you are bigger than 35 lbs and can’t quite squeeze through this opening (or you just don’t want to make a dramatic entrance), you can choose to use an opening in the fence just to the left of this. The kids always find it fun to “sneak in.”
You will begin walking on a gravel path. Keep walking along this until you come across a section where the path turns left:
You will then continue on walking through a beautiful bamboo forest. The kids always enjoy picking out a bamboo walking stick along this section.
Before long, you will come up on a clearing. This is by far one of my favorite spots on the hike! It’s just so beautiful! You will turn right at this clearing. There is no particular way to go. You just need to eventually get to the top of the hill and head right. The kids saw the hill and immediately wanted to run up it.
If you want to save your climbing for later in the hike, you can just walk to the right instead. Keep an eye out for some stairs that will lead you to the top. I’m using a collection of pictures from different trips to the trail. You can tell the difference between this photo and the one above. These stairs may be harder to find depending on how recently it was mowed/maintained. It’s different each time we go. Sometimes, it’s been super muddy. Yesterday, it wasn’t muddy at all…just hit or miss really.
Once you reach the top, you will REALLY get a good view. It is here that you will find this tower from the Board of Water Supply:
Continue along this gravel road. You will eventually see this Lulumau landmark:
Directly across from this graffiti wall (which changes artwork as often as the wind changes it seems), you will see a set of stairs. Follow these stairs up and to the left.
You will now be following a trail until you come up to a fenced-in area looking like this:
My son is convinced this was a cage from Jurassic World and previously held a Raptor. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions 😉
You can completely by-pass this by not going into the fenced in area and going directly to this spot:
From here, the adventure REALLY begins! Take these steps up and onto the trail. You will follow this a short distance and then be surprised to find this:
Balance your way across this to the right. From there, you can follow the cement wall a bit further. You will see a path on the left of the river. You will want to make your way over to that and follow along the trail. You will notice, there are a few options on this trail. You can follow either side. But, you will be crossing the water several times (hiking sandals come in very handy on this hike! The rocks can become very slippery and I highly suggest you just skip them and walk in the water instead. Soggy shoes are much better than a cracked open head!
During this section of the trail, you will just be following the path. Keep in mind, it depends on how much rain there has been as to how high the water level will be. But, to give you an idea of what the stream crossings are like, here is one of them:
Eventually, you will find yourself at the 50′-60′ tiered waterfall!
We always like to take some time to enjoy ourselves at the waterfall. There is a nice swim area so we will typically, swim, eat a snack and just hang out until we are ready to head back.
Can you see why this is one of my favorites! I’d love to hear what you think! Have you hiked this before? Would you like to?
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Thanks for stopping by!