Maunawili Falls Hike

Five bug bites, 3.5 hours, muddy shoes and shins, sweat dripping down my pits….that is how I would sum up this hike. This past weekend I decided to do this hike with a friend. I had done all the requisite research….or so I thought. Everyone says it’s muddy, bring bug spray, wear clothes/shoes you can get dirty, yada yada. So I felt like I was prepared. Boy was I wrong.

The hike ended up taking WAY longer than I had imagined. Granted I think I was going slower than most people, but I think it still was longer than I expected. The main thing is you can’t go super fast because the mud makes everything so slippery, unless you succumb to the fact that you’ll fall one way or another, or that your shoes will sink into mud at some point. But me, I was not going to let either of those things happen, so I went slow. My shoes and legs still got muddy (there’s no way around that), but I was able to get across the river without dipping my feet into the water. My hiking-mate….not so lucky.

But I, like many others on yelp, cannot stress enough that you will need BUG SPRAY. And I don’t mean one coat. I must have reapplied two or three times while on the trail. One bug even bit me through my yoga pants! So don’t just spray your skin, spray your clothes too. I’m sure I’ll probably get cancer later for inhaling all that deet, but I think I would’ve been insanely miserable if I got bit more than the five times.

I wouldn’t recommend bringing small kids unless you’re sure they are up for the long hike, and you’re prepared to battle some whining. There was a couple with their kids….probably around 5 years old…and well, let’s just say I did not wish I was them.

The day that we went was pretty overcast but it didn’t rain. It had been raining in the days before though. I think that’s the best because A. hiking in the rain on that trail would suck but B. you want the waterfall to be full and awesome to make the trip worthwhile. I wouldn’t worry too much about sunscreen since you’re in the woods the whole time…maybe one coat before you start.

We got kind of got lost driving to the trailhead. So if you’re going down Pali Hwy from town, you want to take the SECOND Auloa Road on the right. The road will quickly forks and you want to go left onto Maunawili Road. Take this road all the way to the very end (it will turn into a very narrow road) until it dead ends and forces you to turn right into the neighborhood. The trail begins at the gate on the left. Turn right and park in the neighborhood. Make sure you read the parking signs.

You’ll walk past the gate on paved road for maybe 200 or so feet, and then there will be signs on the road for no trespassing, and the trail heads into the woods on the right. The trail is pretty easy to follow for awhile and not too difficult. After 20 minutes or so it gets even muddier. It does get rockier which makes it easier. The trail mainly runs along the stream/river, so you should be able to hear the water the whole time. After about 40 minutes the trail will make you cross the river. On the other side you may get confused but take the trail behind the sign. After some more time you’ll reach some stairs that lead to a clearing with some nice views. Then it’s back into the woods where you’ll hit a fork with stairs leading down on the left and a trail continuing straight. Take the stairs leading down. At the bottom of the stairs there will be a trail that leads across the river and one that goes right. Cross the river here. The trail will again lead you back across the river. And just a little bit more and you’ll reach the waterfall.

Wear your swimsuit if you want to swim, just don’t drink the water. People also climb the rocks and jump off of them. There is also another waterfall if you climb up the rocks, but I didn’t do this.

When we reached the end there really weren’t too many people there. Nobody was actually swimming in the water at first. But from what I’ve heard from friends, it can get really crowded.

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