If you’re looking for a freshwater pool to swim in, then Waimano Falls has just that. Unfortunately, it’s far from Waikiki. But if you have a rental car or can finagle one from a friend, then consider taking the drive out to Pearl City. Not only because of the beautiful waterfall and pool but because of the hike. Unlike the ever-popular Diamond Head Hike, Waimano has managed to share its beauty with just several visitors at a time, making it one of the most peaceful hikes on the island.
A forest canopy makes this a cooler hike, with ropes to help you on the way back.
Starting at the end of a residential neighborhood, the trail takes you through a covered forest of native plants. But you still have about a mile to go before reaching the waterfall at the bottom of the valley. If you haven’t already put two and two together, then yes, you’ll be making a downhill trek to get there…by way of Cardiac Hill. It has been nicknamed as such for two reasons; one, because the tree roots that cover the hill resemble arteries, and two, because the climb back up really gets your heart pumping for a real cardio sesh. But really, if you’ve survived Koko Head, then this uphill will be cake.
It’s best to do this hike after a couple days of rain. While it may be a little muddier than usual, you’ll be glad to find a gushing waterfall and overflowed pool. I took some friends here in the dead of summer and felt so bad when we finally reached the “pool,” only to discover the falls trickling into a dried up puddle. When the falls are actually raging, the pools get so deep that you can’t touch bottom, and the water is freezing cold. But it’s definitely a welcomed kind of freezing after the adventurous hike downhill.
Save the front flips for the experts! Eek!
Most people jump off of the falls, which is about 20 feet high. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend children doing this, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend children swinging from the rope swing. Rope swings can be dangerous because you have to know exactly when to let go and where to position yourself so you don’t hit any rocks. The ropes provided on the way back out are helpful, however. Hikers use them as leverage when climbing up the steepest parts. Once you reach the top, you’ll be so glad you made the trek to Waimano Falls.
WAIMANO FALLS • Directions: From H-1, take Peal City-Waimalu (#10) and head north. Turn right on Moanalua, then right on Waimano Home Road. Left on Komo Mai Drive until you reach a dead end • 3-miles roundtrip • Difficulty: Medium • Hike with a buddy, water, snacks, cell phone & flashlight • Park in neighborhood but please don’t block driveways or mailboxes; only accessible by car, no bus