Kaipapau Falls

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A few years back, a group of Young & Reckless buddies of mine had taken me on a hike which pretty much changed my life.  It was called 7 falls, and was located on the Windward side of the island of Oahu.  The hike was probably one of the longest, scariest and by far the most dangerous hike I had ever done. But it was also a ton of fun. I have to say that that hike was a true turning point in my life, where I realized my potential as an “adventurer”.  I will keep the details of that hike for another post, because as it turns out, this was a different hike all together…

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The crazy bunch of people that took me to 7 falls were super cool and fun (we looked up to them a lot). So when I told my girlfriend that I was taking her on the same crazy hike they had taken me on (I had been telling people about 7 falls for years), she was super stoked to go.  The two hikes are pretty similarly at the beginning (as they are practically in the same neighborhood, just one valley apart from each other). The main difference, is that this hike only has one big waterfall and is a lot less dangerous, whereas 7 falls has a bunch of waterfalls of various sizes and is waaaayyyy more sketch.


You will follow a series of pink ribbons, which serve as trail markers as you snake your way through the valley. along your journey. The trail can be easily lost, as you have to cross the stream bed over 40 times along your journey, but if in doubt just continue following the water upstream.

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The scenery was like something out of a movie, but the company of this princess turned the day into a fantasy.


You will spend about 80% of your time crossing and walking through the river bed. For this reason I would really not recommend doing this hike during heavy rain, due to potential flash flooding, landslides, and shifting rocks which could crush you or jam your limbs in a tight spot.

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Be mindful of your knees and ankles as you will be rock hoping for hours and hours.  But do not be afraid to get your feet wet. It is better to embrace to cool water and walk through it, then to slip and fall trying to avoid it.

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The deeper we got into this valley, the greener everything seemed to become. These were the furriest trees I had ever seen…


Having been warned of the wetness, my girlfriend just wore her dive booties the entire time.  All those rocks behind her are the “trail”. Another good reason to avoid a rainy day is that all those rocks become extremely slippery when wet. The hike is already a long one, but slipping at every step would become quite frustrating (trust me, I’ve now done this hike in the rain and in the dark. Being patient for better conditions is worth it).


Smooth rock walls were obvious signs of rushing water. On a rainy day this valley fills up with dozens of waterfalls.


After 2.5hours we made it to the waterfall, and it was  beauty!


There was a big pool at the base which we jumped into to refresh ourselves. Great day!


I’m not sure how tall this waterfall was but it was worth every inch. I must warn you though, I’ve done this hike 3 times and on 1 occasion the waterfall was barely even trickling.  You really do have to find a balance with the rain. Maybe go a few days after a heavy rain, but not during or right be fore heavy showers are predicted.


We were able to celebrate this hike by picking a bunch of passion fruit and eating them on the drive home.  Life is better in Hawaii!!!Oahu Hawaii hiking map google earth satellite imagery Kaipapau Forest Reserve

Here is a simplified map of the stream you will be traveling along. In reality there are way more hairpin turns and zigzags, but this gives you the general idea.  The hike was 8 miles round trip, so make sure you start plenty early because hiking this joker in the dark suuuucks.  To begin the hike you will drive down Kawaipuna St. and park in the neighborhood. Be courteous of the locals and try not to draw attention to yourself.  I’m not too sure of the legality of this trail as we did pass a few signs which claimed the area was private property.  At the end of the road, you should noticed a paved path that continues, it is sometimes chained off. To the left of the path is a residence which has had loose guard dogs on a few occasion (another reason to be discrete).  Pack plenty of snacks and water to keep morale high and don’t forget to invite your favorite adventure buddy when you go.

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