Mo’ole and Waipuhia Falls

by kenji SAITO on April 14, 2013

Hiking Mo'ole and Waipuhia Falls

Taking a break from ridge hiking, I joined Nate, J, Tom and Glenn for some waterfall hiking in Nuuanu today.

I know that marker

I know that marker

We parked at the Pali Hunter’s Check-In Station and crossed the Pali Highway to enter an un-locked gate that took us into the lush forest. As we started on the trail, I recognized dirt ninja aka Chris’s tag tied on a tree, we eventually caught up with him before the irrigation tunnel.

Irrigation Tunnel

Irrigation Tunnel

Soon we found ourselves at the entrance to the irrigation tunnel. Time to break out the head lamps, if you’re claustrophobic and don’t like stooping a lot, this tunnel is not for you. I heard there is a contour trail that goes around and above the tunnel.

Headlamps lead the way

Headlamps lead the way

Walking through the tunnel, we could feel the moisture above our heads and muddy puddles underneath our feet. This was a good sign. If the tunnel is bone dry, might as well turn around.

In Mo'ole Valley

In Mo’ole Valley

After about 5 minutes, we emerged out of the tunnel and into Mo’ole Valley or Hillebrand Glen.

Waterfall #1

Waterfall #1

The first waterfall.

Tom the Swinger

Tom the Swinger

Tom swinging on some tree roots.

Waterfall #2

Waterfall #2

The second waterfall is the largest and most impressive of the waterfalls to be found in Mo’ole Valley.

Waterfall #3

Waterfall #3

We had to backtrack a bit from the second waterfall and climbed down a trail to see the third waterfall.

Waterfall #4

Waterfall #4

The fourth waterfall had a lot of tree branches obscuring the view. A short while later, we came upon the fifth waterfall which was a footnote compared to the others.

Waterfall #6

Waterfall #6

The sixth waterfall.

A little climbing

A little climbing

We contoured and climbed to the right to continue to the next waterfall.

Going upstream

Going upstream

Walking upstream on sometimes slippery rocks. If you’re not sure-footed, it would be good to invest in a pair of tabi’s or reef walkers that provide a solid grip on wet rocks.

Waterfall #7

Waterfall #7

The seventh waterfall. I heard that there was an eight waterfall further ahead, but it was mentioned that it was nothing to look at. If one is feeling more adventurous, you can actually climb all the way to Lanihuli. Not today.

Back into the tunnel

Back into the tunnel

Going back into the tunnel and coming out on the other side, we met Chris again who had stopped at the second waterfall before turning back.

GPS tracks of Mo'ole Falls

GPS tracks of Mo’ole Falls

The entire hike was a little over 3 miles that was done in 3 hours.

Off the Pali Drive

Off the Pali Drive

We were not done yet! Still had another waterfall to explore – Waipuhia Falls. Armed with GPS tracks and information, since none of us had ever done this hike, we drove up to the Pali Lookout and parked on the road going to town.

Back in the forest

Back in the forest

We followed the trail deep into the forest.

Today is Sunday

Today is Sunday

A leftover from this past Easter? I don’t know if somebody was trying to drag this huge cross to the falls, gave up and left it here?

Under trees, over trees

Under trees, over trees

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Waipuhia Falls

Waipuhia Falls

We arrived at the barely moist Waipuhia Falls or Upside Down Falls. It would have been something to see, if the falls were flowing and the wind was catching it and tossing it back upwards. Not today.

Going up...

Going up…

We climbed up the hill to our right to check out more of the scenery.

...Going down

…Going down

It’s always neat to see the contrast in terrain, the hill we had just gone up was carpeted with grass and low lying plants. The other side of the hill going down was mostly barren of grass but heavily forested with trees.

Upside down falls ... not today

Upside down falls … not today

Being in the company of extreme hikers, the talk naturally turned into ” Is climbing up these waterfalls doable?”

What's for dinner tonight?

What’s for dinner tonight?

Coming back, Tom under the expert advice of Nate, picked some wild mushrooms from the forest for his stir-fry dinner later tonight.

GPS tracks of Waipuhia Falls

GPS tracks of Waipuhia Falls

The entire hike was under a mile and took us a little over an hour to complete. We had Thai for lunch and was going to cap the day with a short hike up the Pali Notches. Mother Nature decided otherwise as rain started falling on us as we parked at the Pali Lookout. It was still a good day.

Leave a Comment

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ani August 8, 2015 at 5:01 am

Wow….amazing falls. May I please have directions for the 2 hikes especially upside down fall. Thank you very much.

Reply

kenji SAITO August 8, 2015 at 6:26 am

Aloha Ani,
Okay will send you the tracks shortly. The only really difficult one to find is the upside down falls, the mo’ole falls is for the most part pretty easy to find.
Mahalo

Reply

Lydia October 18, 2015 at 10:14 am

Aloha,

Thank you for sharing your pictures and information on the Mo’ole and Waipuhia Falls- I would appreciate the directions or tracks! Can you send them to me?

Reply

kenji SAITO October 19, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Aloha Lydia,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ll email some info, but keep in mind that tracks and directions are not set in stone as the terrain constantly changes. Stay safe and have fun.
Mahalo

Reply

Yiana Burton January 2, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Hi Kenji! Have you been back here recently?
Was interested in going later this week. Wonder how much the trail has changed.
Do you mind emailing me some directions and tips?
Thank you!!

Reply

kenji SAITO January 3, 2017 at 6:01 am

Aloha Yiana,
I have not done this hike , especially Waipuhia falls, since this posting. I heard that Mo’ole Falls was swept by heavy winds recently and the trail is a mess. I can send you the tracks for the Waipuhia Falls. Be safe and have fun.
Mahalo

Reply

Yiana Burton January 3, 2017 at 8:54 am

That would be great! Thank you for your response. I’ll look out for your email. Mahalo

Reply

Joy February 3, 2017 at 8:36 am

Happy Aloha Friday! Would you mind sending me directions and tracks for the Waipuhia Falls hike? I’m planning this for tomorrow if possible. Also, would you rate it “easy, moderate, or hard”? I’m assuming easy but would like to take my 8 year old and wanted to verify. Mahalo!!

Reply

Mike Smola July 27, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Aloha Kenji. Big fan of your blog and posts on Facebook. Would you please (like everyone else) share your info and tips for waipuhia falls. Mahalo in advance.

Reply

kenji SAITO July 30, 2017 at 11:12 pm

Aloha Mike,
Thanks. I will email you the track and info to your email shortly. Stay safe and have fun.
Mahalo

Reply

Jessica September 27, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Mike, id really like to try the hike. Can you drop me the track.
Gracias
Jessica

Reply

Mike Smola September 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Please email me at boister100@gmail.com. I’ll help you having just done it the other day

Reply

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: