Koloa Gulch and Falls

What an adventure! Yesterday, I made a second trip to Koloa Gulch in Hau’ula Town with plans to explore the right fork of the stream. You see, Koloa Gulch splits towards the spine of the Ko’olau mountain range into two separate forks which are both fed by beautiful waterfalls. Previously, I had explored the left fork and its 100 + foot waterfall known as Kalo Falls. This time, I went the more popular route to the smaller Koloa Falls. Please enjoy my photowalk as I avoid hunting dogs, receive a matching scar, and arrive at one of the most scenic places I have seen on Oahu to date
Koloa Falls 1

Since I was returning to Koloa Gulch, there was no confusion this time. I parked at Laie Beach Park (Pounder’s Beach) and walked left down the road until I got to a massive white mansion with no trespassing signs everywhere. Across from that mansion, is a dirt road that you must take to start the trail.
Trail Head 1
At the end of the dirt road is this chain linked fence with ribbons attached. This is the start of the trail and it is on private property.

In order to hike Koloa Gulch legally, you must go into the Laie Town Shopping Center and sign a waiver with Hawaii Reserves Inc. I have a year long pass from them that I am certainly making use of. lol =p
Trail Head 2
The dirt road passes a memorial to a boy scout who died while in a flash flood and then hangs a right. Just before you reach a house, there will be this path on the left. Get ready to climb! ^^;
Gooooooood mooooorrning Laie!

Even though Koloa Gulch is considered one of the 4 main gulches of Hau’ula, it’s still right on the border with Laie Town. Don’t forget to turn around as you climb this long and steep ridge into the depths of the Ko’olaus. The view is extraordinary! (:
Koloa Ridge
I love the Koloa Gulch hike because it’s half ridge and half gulch. Sure it’s incredibly long and goes over 4 miles to the spine of the Ko’olaus but it offers a nice variety of views. (:
Trail Going Down
Eventually, the trail makes it’s way slowly down to the stream.
As I went down, I could hear the sound of the babbling stream down below. However, it wasn’t as loud as before. Even though it had just rained (and was still raining), it hasn’t rained a whole lot in the past couple days so the stream flow was average.
It was still an enjoyable trip though and with the slightly lower water levels it made the 25+ stream crossings much easier. Plus, the waterfalls at the end looked even better than in some of the pictures I have seen online. (:
The Koloa Gulch trail switches over and over and over between the stream banks. Sometimes the overgrown jungle is actually a short cut and speeds things up but other times it was actually faster to just hike in the stream due to the near invisible trail. ^^;
Mango Tree 2
Along the way, I passed a lot of areas that looked like former housing areas for ancient Hawaiians. You could see their mango trees and occasionally there would still be stone foundations along the stream banks.
Suddenly, while hiking through the mango trees, I turned a corner and saw two stray hunting dogs who looked as surprised as I did.

We both looked at each other until the dogs started growling and barking at me!
Suddenly, I turned around and went back the way I came, fell in the stream, and then grabbed a branch for self defense. Thankfully I did not have to fight these stray dogs and avoided them by staying in the stream (slipping the whole way). ^^;
Koloa Gulch
After avoiding the hunting dogs, I proceeded even deeper into the gulch while watching Tahitian prawns and translucent shrimp scurrying about.
This is the Tahitian prawn which was introduced to Hawaii in 1956, according to Nathan Yuen. These things got pretty big and they run at the speed of light! lol =p
Towards the end, there was a geocache with lots of odd things inside (elephant key chain?? ^^;). This find is called “President Truman’s Decision” and it has a log book that you can sign.

I signed it “Punynari was here 19May2012”. (:
Cross Roads
Shortly after the geocache, I arrived at the “crossroads”.

This is where Koloa Gulch splits into two separate forks. Today, I would be taking the more popular route to Koloa Falls. (:
Right Fork
The right fork was much wider and easier than the rarely traveled left fork so the going was easy.
As I walked, the skies threatened rain but thankfully I did not have a repeat of last time. I didn’t want to be caught in a flash flood down there. ^^;
Mini Kalo Falls
Along the right fork, there were many Kalo (Taro) plants. This patch I named the “mini kalo falls”. =p
Three Prong Pool
Just before you get to lower Koloa Falls, there was an extremely deep pool with a small “three pronged” waterfall.
The bright blue water looked so pure. I wanted to jump in right then and there but I would get my chance shortly….
Lower Koloa Falls in Sight
Just after that fall, the lower Koloa Falls and pool slowly came into view.
Climbing Up Lower Koloa Falls
The right fork ended at this blue swimming hole with a waterfall about 4 feet high. It was so pretty but I wasn’t about to stop there.

Just beyond the lower Koloa Falls is the upper one but you have to “earn” it. So, I stripped down, lost my backpack, went for a swim, and climbed up the rock wall using all of my arm strength. ^^;
Koloa Falls 2
Just around the corner was the 40 – 45 foot Koloa Falls.
It was much smaller than Kalo but it was just as gorgeous. I loved watching the water “break up” as it hit the mid point in the falls.

This is a small video I took of Koloa Falls. It gives you an idea of just how amazing this place was. I didn’t want to leave! (:

When I did eventually go, I smacked my right shin on some slippery rocks. Now I have matching scars.
One scar is from the left fork and the other from the right fork of Koloa Gulch. The circle is now complete. lol =p
Kahuku Farms Pizza and Salad
After the long and grueling 8+ mile hike, I was starving and made a quick “pit stop” at Kahuku Land Farms. They have a little cafe that is only open on Friday – Sunday.
I love their jam on my English muffins even though it’s no match for honey butter. (;

I had the vegetarian pizza with side salad and a mango smoothie. They make the best fruit smoothies here! (:
Kahuku Farms Banana Bread
The employees were very nice and even gave me a free banana bread for desert. It was so heavenly… Plus, I had my strength back (mostly). ^^;

Well, I hope you enjoyed my second adventure down in Koloa Gulch. While I do enjoy exploring Hau’ula’s streams, stream hiking is “arguably” much more dangerous than ridge hiking. I almost broke my leg on both of my ventures into the gulch so do be careful. I recommend wearing soccer shin pads if you go. That way, you don’t have to have matching scars like me. lol =p

Till next time….

4 comments on “Koloa Gulch and Falls

  1. Baron says:

    On your next waterfall/stream hiking adventure, wear spiked tabis from Hanapaa Fishing Supply in Kalihi or Microspikes.

  2. Keith Davis says:

    Impressive, I never had a chance or even knew of the gultch you took pictures of, but the gultch in Scofeild Barreks was equally interesting, thought I didnt explore enough of it to find any waterfalls as those you posted. It was so deep & massive your first though would remind you of the Grand Canyon on the mainland. Thanks for sharing! Mahalo!

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