Maunawili Falls

Total Distance: 3.11miles

Terrain- rocks, roots, mud- be ready to get messy!

Difficulty: easy for an adult

Hazards: footing

Total Time: 3.5 hours including a stop at the top to jump from the waterfall. 

I dragged the family out today.  I have been wanting to this one for a while but didn’t want to go alone, and I thought the boys would enjoy the swimming hole.  It felt like 5 miles up and it felt like you were never going to get there because if was a treacherous walk.  Lots of slippery rocks and roots.  You definately can’t be afraid to get your feet muddy. 

The hike to the top takes you through a dense forest and you can see lots of native plants and you can hear lots of native birds.  You’re unlikely to be alone on this trail though.  It’s a pretty popular tourist destination and is popular with the locals as well. 

As with all roots and rocks here in Hawaii, once they get coated in dirt and that dirt gets what they are “slicker than snot” as my husband would say.  So take it easy and watch your footing. 

After what feels like forever navigating tangled roots and slippery rocks you reach the summit.  There are some nice views from up there into the valley. 

After you reach the summit you hike along the ridge a bit and then you come to the stairs going down to where the falls is.  Beware this is slippery.  When you reach the bottom of stairs you have to start getting wet, at least you feet, in order to get to the falls itself.  Here is where the climb over rocks and through ankle deep water starts and you’re so close you can taste it.

Once you reach the edge of the falls there are several rocks to set things on or sit on.  The pool gets gradually deeper and then eventually drops off sharply.  The falls itself is about 15ft, but people were jumping from as high as 40 ft about the falls and not touching the bottom.  The pool is pretty cold but it’s awesome to be able to jump into a deep pool right next to a waterfall!

This is the ultimate in romantic places to take your sweetheart with only one problem.  The secret is out so it’s not as intimate as you might like.   I climbed up the side and despite being scare of hitting a rock or something I jumped.  Besides there isn’t really any climbing back down.  After the first jump, Aidan wanted to go.  I looked at John and asked him if he was ok with it.  I was very suprised and I think John was too to an extent.  But the little guy did it.  My 5 1/2 year old jumped off the side of a waterfall!  We climbed up a second time and at the top was a girl who was having second thoughts.  So I teased her “you want my 5 year old to show you how it’s done?”  and much to my suprise she said yes. 

Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time to linger at the top because we had to hike back down so we could get some dinner.  I could see myself spending half a day there easily.  It’s in a shaded area and it’s just a beautiful setting.  Next time I’m going on a weekday. 

But I really do want to stress that people need to carry out what they carry in.  I saw some trash laying around and it just ruins things for everyone.  So respect the Aina and clean up after yourself!!

My 5 year old did this on his own the three year old, not so much.  He hung off daddy a lot.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jenkakio
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 22:10:46

    I love Maunawili and haven’t been there in ages. After seeing your pictures, I forgot all about the awesome waterfall at the top. Now I really want to go back. I’m afraid of slipping tho. I am so clumsy. I’m sure I will trip on a root or something. HAHA.


    • hikinginparadise
      Oct 11, 2011 @ 09:32:34

      I slipped several times on the trail and so did the kids. Hubby didn’t even get in. But it was a blast! I would love to find a waterfall like it that is less touristy because there were a lot of people


  2. LisaG
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 07:32:20

    Next time, climb up to the “second waterfall” … there will be almost NOBODY up there, very serene and prettier than the first. Just continue climbing up the rock face (much easier than it looks) and in just 2 minutes you’ll have the solitude you were craving for this one.


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