Take the Pali Highway, Route 61, out of Honolulu towards the town of Kailua to get to this bamboo-lined trail. Take a slight right onto Nu’uanu Pali Drive and continue until the road is just about to rejoin with the Pali Highway. You’ll see a parking lot inside of a turnout on the right. Parking here is free.
There are two trailheads at this turnout. The track leading to the left is for hunters, so make sure to take a right when the trail forks at the outset. You’ll know you’re on the right path when you see the forest of bamboo lining the track. There’s a map at the trailhead if you get lost at all.
This easy, out-and-back trail is only 2.2 miles roundtrip. It’s perfect for the entire family, and you don’t need to be in top physical shape to enjoy the waterfall. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of a beautiful lake as you traverse a bamboo forest into the beginnings of a valley where you’ll find Lulumahu Falls.
The beginning of the trail will take you through a forest until it meets up with a power line trail. You’ll hike underneath these power lines until you meet up with the Nuuanu Reservoir inside the valley of the same name. This area of Oahu is famous for rainfall which is why it’s so green, but lots of rain means a lot of muck. Make sure you wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Very dirty.
You’ll reach a reservoir crossing that is fenced-in and covered in barbed wire. It’s very displeasing to the eye in such a beautiful place, but aspiring YouTube stars have drowned jumping off the bridge. After you pass the unsightly bridge, you’ll take a left on an access road alongside a colorful concrete wall of graffiti out in the middle of the wilderness.
It’s important to stick to the access road that loops around past a weathered, illegible sign. Do not take the many hunter’s trails off this loop road. Stay on the road as it loops around to a fenced-in concrete area that used to be a pumphouse. Find the concrete foundation of the pumphouse, follow it left and take a staircase in the muck leading up a hill.
You’re on Easy Street once up the staircase. The trail will follow a stream to the waterfall at the back of the valley. The stream will create a few smaller waterfalls as you meander to the main event. Lulumahu Falls cascades down multiple drops out of the forest along a steep rock face, and it’s tucked pretty well into the wilderness.
This hike is much less popular than the nearby Manoa Falls hike, so you might be lucky enough to have the falls to yourself for a while. And, if you’re even luckier, you’ll make friends with a feral chicken that will follow you to the falls along the way. You can choose whether or not to feed your new friend as you sit at the falls enjoying the view.