Ko'loa Falls


"One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching."

Updated: March 25, 2017

Location: Located between Pounder's Beach and Kokololio Beach Park in Hauula. This hike requires a permit.

Type: Forest/Waterfall hike

Hike Difficulty: Advanced

Total Time: 8 hours round trip

Distance: ~ 8 miles (+1 mile if you are doing both forks)

Elevation: ~1000 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: no
  • Pet Friendly: no
  • This hike has two forks leading to two different waterfalls. Kalo Falls on the left, and Ko'loa Falls on the right.
  • Rock hopping is no joke. It becomes very tiring hopping over rock after rock for hours. Bring lots of water and snacks.
  • Do not do this hike during a flash flood! Hauula is the wettest part of the island and within minutes the stream level could rise dangerously.
  • There are some minor rope sections to climb towards the end of the hike to get to the second falls.
  • The stream crossing section is for 2 to 3 miles, with over 30 stream crossings. Pace is very slow here.
  • This hike requires a permit to access and you can get one from the Laie Shopping Center.
  • Start early! This hike will take you all day and you do not want to be trying to get out of the stream in the dark.
  • There is a slight descent to the stream in the beginning of the hike, so hiking back up can be extremely tiring especially after rock hopping for a couple of hours.

Your hiking backpack

  • 3 to 4 Liters of water
  • Snacks/lunch
  • Tubbies/reef shoes
  • GoPro camera
  • Extra clothes
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Headlamp
  • GPS tracker if needed


Take the H-3 towards Laie side of the island. Continue on Kamehameha Hwy and park at Pounder's Beach a.k.a. La'ie Beach Park. We parked on the Eastern most part of the parking lot.

Our Journey

We planned to start this hike really early. We wanted to start at 8am, but time wasn't on our side and we ended up starting closer to 9:30am. Make sure you get a permit for this hike from the Laie Shopping Center. We headed East on the road and turned right into a dirt road. We passed some Banana Trees and eventually came to the Ko'loa Gulch Hike sign. We continued on the pretty obvious trail and into the forest. The views opened up into a dirt clearing. We took some pictures here and heading back into the forest and started descending to the stream. The hike to the stream was maybe about a mile or mile and a half. The rest of the hike would include rock hopping! It was fun at first and we were trying to count how many times we crossed the stream. The after a couple of hours, it got monotonous and we were wondering how many more rocks we had to hop until we got to the falls. The fun got tiring really fast. And once you stop to take a break, the mosquitoes just swarm around you. They are happy you are taking a break! We ventured on and finally came to the fork. I read that the right fork was nicer and not as hard as the left fork, so right fork it is! Within half a mile from the fork, we came to the lower pool. We used the rope to contour around the left side and finally reached the falls! What an amazing view and accomplishment! We couldn't stay too long though because there was a flash flood advisory around 4pm that day so we had to head back. Too bad we weren't able to check out Kalo Falls on the left. We will definitely come back another day for that one. We worked our way back down stream and finally got to the exit up to the trail. The hill was extremely tiring especially after all that rock hopping. Our pace was slow, but luckily it was only drizzling here and there and no real rain came. Once we got out of the trail and as we were walking back to our cars, it started down pouring like crazy! We took cover at the Mexican food place and decided to eat there and wait out the rain. What an amazing adventure! We were definitely lucky that the rain didn't come any sooner or we would have been stuck there until the rain died down. Epic hike for sure!



























We parked at Pounder's Beach and headed East back on the road.




























We took a right onto the dirt road.




























We passed a bunch of banana trees.




























A chain link fence and into the forest.




























We reached the Ko'loa Gulch Hike sign within about 10 minutes.




























This has some information about the hike and it's history.




























Following a pretty obvious trail.




























This was the easy part.




























Gradual inclines, but nothing too strenuous.




























The forest opened up for a bit and this was the view from the clearing!




























This part looked like a Hawaii Kai hike.




























The ground was becoming loose dirt.




























Heading into another clearing with a nice view!




























The amazing view looking back towards civilization!




























What kind of shoes do you use on your hikes? I prefer Vibrams!




























And the long descent to the stream.




























Memorize this spot because it is hard to find the way back on the return trip.

Put a ribbon or a marker.




























Now the fun part. Rock hopping and stream crossing!




























You can see how high the stream gets from the vegetation line.

You do not want to be here during a flash flood!




























Making our way upstream.




























The stream was flowing, but it was manageable. Nice pools here and there.




























Moving at such a slow pace...




























We seen a lot of crawfish in the stream.




























After a couple hours, we knew we were close to the fork in the stream.




























An interesting rock face.




























The small rocks turn into boulders as you get closer and closer to the falls.




























Alas! We reached the fork. We took the right path to Ko'loa Falls.



























A beautiful mini waterfall and pond!




























Within half a mile, we reached the falls! This was the lower one.




























We climbed up on the left side.




























Ko'loa Falls in all its beauty!




























We took a group selfie, but had to hurry back to avoid the rain that was coming.




























It started raining a little on the way back and the rocks got slippery.




























Hopping over wet boulders. Fun!




























Some beautiful flowers reminding us how pretty nature can be.




























The way back up. We made it out just before it started pouring! We were lucky or we would've been stranded on the stream. We will do the left fork to Kalo Falls next time!

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