Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Oahu's Maunawili Falls: Mini-adventure to the Heart of Darkness


Lace up the mud shoes at a trailhead in a suburban neighborhood near Kailua on Oahu's Windward Coast and spend a half day on a jungle outing to a swimming hole with a waterfall. Maunawili Falls is pocketed into the east side of the Ko'olau Mountains, only three miles, round-trip, but wth a healthy 425 feet of up-and-down. About four stream crossings are required. The footing is dicey over rocks and roots, and flora makes a tunnel out of portions of the trail. The route has a junction with the 10-mile Maunawili Trail—a ragged contour route along the base of the Ko'olaus—providing an opportunity for a longer trek. Pleasant weekend days attract lots of hikers, so you may seek an alternative if solitude is high on the agenda. Oahu Trailblazer has several nearby options.