Hailey Minton

Writer. Photographer. Explorer.

January 22, 2018 · 3 min read

Hike the mile to Makaua Falls

Hikers must watch the weather to make sure the falls are flowing when they go.

The best time to hike to Makaua Falls is after a big rain storm.  When we hiked, it had rained off and on over the four previous days and there was a small trickle flowing down the 250 ft. chute. The flow depends heavily on the amount of rain. I strongly caution hikers who go on rainy days. Part of the trail is above the stream bed and part of the trail is in the stream bed. The narrow parts of the canyon in the stream bed add risk to hikers getting caught in a flash flood. It is 1.1 miles to the falls from the trailhead.

There was no water flowing at all near the beginning of the trail when we hiked. We found pools of water as we hiked further up the canyon and it eventually turned into a small trickling stream.


 There is a small waterfall that is close to the final waterfall. Hikers will have to do a little basic rock climbing to get up. There are ropes set up at the top we used to help us climb. As a climber, it goes against my nature to rely on a deteriorated rope to keep me safe. I read reviews on alltrails and someone mentioned how one of the ropes broke as they climbed.

As of January 21, 2018, there were three ropes. The red one is the most worn out. The green one is the newest and most reliable, and a black one is somewhere in between the two. We were all very careful to watch where we placed our feet and hands when climbing. The rocks looked slippery but no one had any major slips when we climbed up. It added an exciting challenge to the hike.


The Makaua waterfall

It looked  as if the waterfall faded away into the mist high above us. The waterfall fed a pool at it’s base. It was small, filled with sticks, and there wasn’t much to swim in. If you are eager to take a dip, there is a little pool back at the waterfall we climbed. The ridge trail leads to the top of this waterfall before it continues to the crouching lion hike. 

Look out for falling pigs

Perhaps this wild boar tried to clear the canyon gap Evil Kenivil style and didn’t make it. We came up to this guy in the stream bed right before the waterfall we had to climb. His back legs looked broken so we assumed he fell from one of the ledges above us. Several hikers on their way back told us to look out for it since it blended in pretty well with the rocks. Several people said they almost stepped on it. It was a good reminder to not drink stream water even if it looks clean. We were glad we didn’t jump into a pool we passed on the trail up. 

Trailhead and parking

The trailhead is on the same street as the Ka’a’awa firestation. The hike starts at the end of the cul de sac on the right side of a rock wall. It used to be marked with a white sign with “Trail” painted on it. There are a few parking spaces next to a hedge on the street, but this time we parked across the street from the Shell gas station at the park.

Not long after you begin the hike, you will come to a fork. The left trail, pictured below leads to an intense ridge hike. The trail to the right leads to Makaua Falls. If you pass the cross on the left, turn around and look for the other trail.



The cross is on the left of the trail. You can see it covered in red flowers. Photo by Hailey Minton