Lulumahu Falls hike - Oahu - Intentional Travelers

05 Mar Lulumahu Falls hike – Oahu

The Lulumahu Falls hike, located just off the Pali Highway on Oahu, is relatively short – but it packs a punch. Lulumahu Falls hike, Oahu | Intentional Travelers

This hike, which in the end becomes more of a “scramble,” is not an official, registered trail. Consequently, the trail itself not maintained and there are no signs telling you where to go. But this is what makes the destination all the more adventuresome! Thanks to directions from Camille C on Yelp (which we’ve adapted and posted below) and advice from several different people we encountered on the way, we eventually found our way to the falls.

In a short distance, the scenery on this journey changes frequently. From bamboo forest to wide open, grassy hills; man-made resevoir to lush, jungly waterfall.

Tips for Happy Hiking

If you’re going to attempt this hike, be sure you have good footwear with traction and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. The way up to the falls requires you to cross a creek several times, climb over some boulders and fallen trees, and inevitably sludge through varying quantities of mud. We picked up a bamboo walking stick at the start of our trek, which was definitely helpful for keeping balance. We also made sure to spray ourselves with mosquito repellent before heading out.

Directions

This map is just to give you a general idea of the path

This map is just to give you a general sense of the route

The parking area is found where the Old Pali Road (Nuuanu) meets up with the Pali Highway, not far from the Kaniakapupu Ruins. If possible, park along the old road next to the Board of Water Supply gate, and enter through the large hole in the fence next to the gate.

(Many hikers, after parking, will automatically walk the opposite way towards the wooden sign and mailbox because there is an obvious trail entrance there.  You can definitely do that as well, but it will just take you into the bamboo forest, which is less direct.)

Walk through the opening by the gate and follow the wide path straight. Keep heading straight down the wide path until you reach another set of power lines with a path- take a left.  It will seem as if that left will lead you straight into the bamboo forest, but it’s another nice and easy path cutting right through.  Continue following that curvy path until you reach a large clearing with a nice and open grassy hill.Lulumahu Falls hike, Oahu | Intentional Travelers

Walk along the path and take the steps up the hill to the resevoir. Follow the gravel road along the resevoir towards the mountain until you see some concrete steps.  Lulumahu Falls hike, Oahu | Intentional Travelers

Go up the steps and the path will lead you towards this muddy fenced off area. Make your way around to the back of the fence where there’s an opening and small hill. Follow that path to the waterfall. 

Lulumahu Falls hike, Oahu | Intentional TravelersAlways keep close to the creek bed.  You’ll cross through the water over the rocks a few times and the closer you get to the waterfall, the more boulders you will have to hop over and climb.  Some reviews mention following the orange flagged markers, but they may not always be the easiest route.  If you stay close to the creek and intuit the way of least resistance, you won’t go astray.  

Lulumahu Falls hike, Oahu | Intentional Travelers

Lulumahu Falls hike, Oahu | Intentional Travelers

(Best of Oahu also has directions with pictures.)

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10 Comments
  • Stephanie Nicole
    Posted at 09:57h, 08 March

    Gorgeous pictures! On my to do list for the next time I’m in Hawaii!

    • IntentionalTravelers
      Posted at 11:55h, 08 March

      Thanks, Stephanie! It’s a fun one. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Nicole
    Posted at 21:43h, 28 March

    Thanks for the map showing the general route. There are many descriptions of this hike online but all make it sound so confusing. The map makes it so easy. Thanks again!!

    • IntentionalTravelers
      Posted at 01:40h, 29 March

      Glad you appreciate the map. It’s kind of confusing no matter what – the best thing we found was to just ask other hikers on the way. But it’s good to research a bit before you go, and we thought having a general idea of the layout from a birds-eye viewpoint would be helpful to people.

  • Myra
    Posted at 13:09h, 18 December

    THANK YOU for the GREAT directions! We followed them to the tee!

    • Michelle C
      Posted at 14:23h, 18 December

      We’re so glad they were helpful to you!

  • Rachel Kim
    Posted at 18:47h, 18 January

    My friend and I went to this trial a couple days ago, and after the bamboo trees, there’s was fork in the trail that divides between the right and the left side. The one on the right has the fenced abandoned water pipe where most people would go through to start the trail heading up to Lulumahu Falls. But we went on the trial on the left, where it lead us to crazy obstacles with tangled trees, deadly mosquitos and prickly fern grounds, that were marked with small orange ribbons tried to branches. We kept following the orange ribbons till it lead us to a grassy field in the middle of no where! I’m curious in finding out where the trial ends, and if you have any idea to what I’m talking about please let me know your insight!

    Also, great blog! Thanks!

    • Jedd
      Posted at 14:45h, 19 January

      Hey Rachel – Thanks for the comment (and compliment). It sounds like you had a memorable experience. Was the grassy area you ended up at nice? When we did this hike we didn’t encounter the separate trail you mentioned (which now makes me want to go back and see it). I do know that the orange ribbons are usually put there by the government workers that manage the trails or for their own purposes. Sometimes the ribbons are for trails that are not meant for the general public to use. We’ve been on several hikes on Oahu where sometimes the ribbons are extremely helpful and lead us to the place we want to go, and sometimes (like in Aina Haina valley) there are so many different trails with ribbons that you can easily get lost. Anyways, if you ever find out more about the trail you were on at Lulumahu please let us know.

  • LookIntoHawaii.com
    Posted at 09:48h, 07 September

    Great pics and write up! Love this hike, one of my favorites on Oahu.

  • Debbib
    Posted at 12:09h, 26 December

    We did this hike a few years ago and went through the bamboo forest and loved it an experience I will never forget. If I had to choose again I would do the bambo forest for the experience and fun. Adds only 10-15 min more to the hike. We came back the other way you refer to.

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