Lulumahu Falls Hike

Lulumahu Falls

Summer isn’t over for Oahu yet! In fact she seems to be squeezing out every bit of sunshine—and heat, possible before the next season. This month we are venturing just outside the bustle of Honolulu to the beautiful and refreshing, Lulumahu Falls located just off the Pali Highway. This lush hike has a persuasive magical feeling throughout and you can’t help but smile the entire time. Easy to get to, about a 15 to 20 minute drive from the Island Mana Wines shop—you won’t be disappointed by this luscious Hawaiian treasure.

Before You Go

Make sure to bring plenty of water, nutritious snacks or lunch, bugs spray if the mosquitoes seem to favor your blood, really good hiking shoes and a hiking buddy with you. The hike goes through rain forest and a stream to get to the falls and gets muddy, yet we guarantee it is fun and absolutely worth it. Pro tip: bring waterproof case for your phone (it’s going to be wet), a garbage bag and a clean pair of slippahs (flip flops) to take care of muddy shoes and feet before getting back in the car.

Getting There

From Island Mana Wines take Ala Moana Blvd out of Waikiki heading towards Ala Moana Shopping Center. Turn left when you get to Piikoi (easy to find as it is the last corner road of the Ala Moana Center). Take Piikoi until you get to the H-1, turn left under the pass to proceed to the freeway. Merge right on to the Pali Hwy not long after entering the H-1. The entrance to the hike is located right off the Pali close to Nuuanu Pali Drive. You’ll most likely see a row of cars perhaps 20 or so long in an unpaved parking area along a fence. Pull over and park here, there are two points of entry in the fencing one is a very large hole that you can walk through or a little further to the left there is another entrance way and either one is fine.

The Hike

This hike is enchanting; you may actually begin looking for tiny Polynesian fairies and gnomes because a happy and mystical energy is definitely present. The journey to the falls has three sections; the bamboo forest, the grassy hills along the Nu’uanu Reservoir and the last section through the rain forest that travels up the stream until you reach the falls.

Once you walk through the fence you will be greeted by the bamboo forest that will kiss you playfully as you make your way through it. The entire hike can feel like a maze that is nature’s playful design, and this is certainly true for the old hunting trails that run through the bamboo journey of the trek. There is even a path to a sacred area known as the Kaniakapupu Ruins or King Kamehameha III’s summer home. If you stumble this way be sure to treat the area with the utmost respect as you take in the mighty history and beauty there.

No matter which way you get through the forest, soon you will be let out in to a majestic field of rolling hills lined with the exalted Ko’olau Mountain Range which began erupting from the ocean floor more than 2.5 million years ago. Looking outward, you will see a restricted bridge leading out to the reservoir; you want to walk on the dirt pathway towards the mountains to the right where the rain forest begins. There is a large wall with artful graffiti colorfully painted on it. You can see steps leading up just across from the wall, go up them. As you make your way forward through the trees, there will be a squared out area lined with barbed fence on the right or a big yet well-travelled path going to the left. Don’t go to the left, instead make your way into the fenced area and you will see an opening with tiny white stone steps leading upward. Go up them and stay on the trail until you get to the stream. This is the start of last portion of the hike that will take you to the falls.

There is a tiny teaser waterfall flowing over a miniature dam, from this point you have a few options. You may choose to travel to the right, left or through the stream. All paths will take you to the falls but if you choose a path to the right or the left be aware that there are side trails leading to different places. Always stay as close to the water as possible to be sure you’re headed the right way. As long as you stay close or in the water, you’ll be fine. There are plenty of branches, boulders and mud on the way to the falls, but you’ll find most people laughing with delight as they make their way through the forest.

Experiences you can have here can be so unique and special to each individual if they take notice and let happen. For me there was intoxicating notes of Frankincense, nutmeg, eucalyptus, allspice and seductive Hawaiian White Ginger. Another traveler made their acquaintance with a wild Jackson Chameleon. Take your time and enjoy it as you feel your way towards the quenching falls. We certainly won’t mind if you tell us mahalo later! Cheers!  

Approximate Activity Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

Wine to Pair with: Island Mana Marechal Foch       

Written with Aloha by Jawni Visionaire