Hiking the Maunawili Falls Trail

During my trip to Hawaii in May, My friend Jenni and I wanted to explore more of the island but didn’t know too much of the area. Luckily a girl I used to play rugby with in college had just gotten married and moved out to Hawaii since her husband was stationed there. She said she lived near Kailua – which was somewhere I wanted to go to – and said there was a beautiful hiking trail right next to the neighborhood she lived in that was called Maunawili Falls. Jenni and I thought it sounded awesome and decided to take the bus up to Kailua and were dropped off at a stop that was a short walk down a road to the trailhead entrance.



We got there pretty early, in hopes to beat the late morning heat, and we were glad we did – not only because of the heat, but also because on our way back from the falls we started passing a lot of people. This hike was probably the most beautiful hike I have ever been on. It felt like you were walking in a fairytale because the scenary and vegetation just made it all seem so magical. The trail was pretty easy to follow for the most part too, but Jenni and I did get lost a few times due to people graffiti’ing some of the trail signs so much that it was hard to tell what direction you were actually supposed to go.

During the hike there were two different areas where you had to cross the river that came from the falls. At the first crossing we didn’t realize we had to cross, but luckily a couple of other hikers were just coming back at that same time and told us we had to cross the river in order to get to the Falls. Crossing wasn’t too bad because there were plenty of rocks sticking up out of the water to jump onto to get across. After that crossing we ascended for awhile before we got to the peak of the hill we were climbing, which then lead to a path with built in metal stairs to descend the hill since it was pretty steep to go down. All of these stairs lead to the second river crossing, which we didn’t realize we were supposed to cross, so we continued up what looked like a path on that same side of the river – only to come to basically a dead end of just walking through bushes. So we turned around and crossed the river, and then went to the left – which we also found out was the wrong way – but we were able to see some really cool trees from going this way. Finally we walked to the right of the river and came upon the Falls, and they truly were beautiful, the pictures don’t even give the Falls justice.

This hike was probably one of my favorite memories from my trip to Hawaii, and was probably considered a moderate/semi difficult hike – more so depending on how the weather is. The trail is made up of clay, so if it has been raining recently the trail is really muddy and slippery. The day we went it wasn’t raining and hadn’t rained in the past couple days there, and the trail was still really slippery and muddy, so I can’t even imagine what this trail would be like if it had just rained. Either way, if you are ever on the Oahu island in Hawaii, you should definitely make the trip to Kailua to hike the Maunawili Falls Trail – and as a bonus afterwards you can go to the Kailua/Lanikai Beach area to see the beaches, which are ranked in the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world!

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