Sacred Falls

Kaluanui State Park / near Laie (Oahu Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 4     Difficulty: 1
Sacred Falls
In my mind Sacred Falls (or Kaliuwa'a Falls from what I am able to decipher from the topo) is hands down the most beautiful waterfall on O'ahu.

The bottom 80ft drop of this 1100ft waterfall was once accessible along a trail leading to a swimming pool at the base of the falls where the last 80ft of the falls could be seen. Unfortunately, a landslide at the terminus of the trail that killed several people and injured many others on Mother's Day in 1999 pretty much resulted in law suits that forced the state to close access to this trail indefinitely (probably a permanent closure as it has been over 10 years now). We've never been down there and it's not looking like we ever will.

So the only way we could see the falls was by taking to the air on a helicopter tour. However, I wasn't very impressed with the overall chopper experience on O'ahu, especially since the tour I was on with Paradise Helicopters hardly spent time in the Ko'olau Mountain Range where I think most of the scenic action would be. If this is indicative of a typical chopper experience on this island, then I would think chopper tours here are mostly a waste of money and fuel.

Now that I think about it, I recalled they did have a Sacred Falls only tour, and in hindsight, I probably would've been better off just doing that (though I don't think it would've saved that much money). Anyways, unless you absolutely have to see Sacred Falls from the air (a decision that's made harder by the fact that it made our Top 10 Hawaiian Waterfalls List), it's a tough call to determine whether it's worth a couple hundred dollars to see this jewel of O'ahu as it's a pretty steep price to pay.

Directions: Since I went with Paradise Helicopters to see this waterfall, I'll give you the directions to their helipad location based on my visit.

Basically, I just drove along the North Shore on Hwy 83 until I reached Kuilima Drive. Then, I headed towards the Turtle Bay Resort on Kuilima Drive, which was flanked by a golf course I recalled. I followed Kuilima Drive until I reached a big car park. The helipad was hidden away on the east side of this car park.




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PHOTO JOURNAL
I really wished our heli tour spent more time in the Ko'olau Range because I felt this was where the action was
Leaving the Turtle Bay area at the start of the flightLeaving the Turtle Bay area at the start of the flight

Our young pilot spent a lot of time following the coastlinesOur young pilot spent a lot of time following the coastlines

Still more coastlines and urban junglesStill more coastlines and urban jungles

Sorry seats yielded sorry viewsSorry seats (or bad flying route) made for crummy views; especially since I was in the back seat on the opposite side of where the pilot was circling

Finally the pilot let me get a view of the falls, but then instead of banking towards the falls, he banked away from it so the helicopter foot was always in the way!Finally the pilot let me get a view of the falls, but then instead of banking towards the falls, he banked away from it so the helicopter foot was always in the way!

Notice the uppermost tiers of Sacred FallsAs we were about to leave the falls, I noticed there were more tiers above the main section of Sacred Falls


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS



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MAP OF THE FALLS

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TRIP REPORTS
For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES



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NEARBY WATERFALLS


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Beautiful Falls (Sacred Falls) 
My husband and I were in Hawaii 1952-1954. He was stationed at Hickham AFB. We hiked to the falls with friends. Over streams and up and down hills …

Mountain Apples 
I was stationed at Schofield Barracks from 1980-1983. I was introduced to Sacred Falls by some locals at my church. My fondest memory was climbing …

The Tragedy of Sacred Falls, the most beautiful Park on the Island of Oahu 
Prior to the Mothers day landslide that killed 8 people and injured 50 others, on Mothers Day of 1999, Sacred Falls State Park was my favorite hike on …

Sacred Falls Regrets Not rated yet
I lived in Hawaii from 1983-86 when my ex-husband was stationed there with the Navy. My kids and I routinely hiked to Sacred Falls . I will never forget …

Sacred Falls before the rockslide Not rated yet
Thanks to DavidBobby for this lovely photo of Sacred Falls before the 1999 Mother's disaster. B. Davis

Sacred Falls is truly sacred . Not rated yet
I will never forget that day it was in 1973. I was 11 years old, and me and my sisters and a bunch of our cousin's, we started up the trail. There …

Truly a 'Sacred' Place Not rated yet
My first time hiking the trail to Sacred Falls was in 1994. The trail is through the rain forest of Oahu , or at least that's what it felt like. …

Sacred Falls Mother's Day 1999 Not rated yet
On this beautiful Hawaiian Spring Day some friends and I hiked the short trail to the base of the waterfall where we began swimming. The water was …

Sacred Falls 1980 Not rated yet
I am 52 to years old, and I still get emotional seeing pictures and videos of Sacred Falls . I was stationed on Oahu between 1979 and 1981, while …

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The Tragedy of Sacred Falls
Prior to the Mothers day landslide that killed 8 people and injured 50 others, on Mothers Day of 1999, Sacred Falls State Park was my favorite hike on this Island...[more]


Gigantic Waterfall Hole
Ahoy! On or about June 1975, on an afternoon helicopter ride with Jack Harter, out of the Kauai Surf Hotel, Na'wili'wili, we were flying west of Kapa'a...[more]


Memories of Likeke Falls
I was stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station 1970 to 1972 and frequented the Likeke water falls (Oahu). Back then there was a trail off...[more]


Papalaua Falls
I am extremely familiar with Papalaua Falls. I used to run kayak trips down Koolau Moloka'i and will again someday. I also made two documentaries including the falls...[more]


Wailua Falls, Kauai
I loved Wailua Falls. We hiked to the bottom and swam in the gigantic pool. We got such beautiful pictures of our family. The hike was not well marked and very steep....[more]


Mountain Apples
I was stationed at Schofield Barracks from 1980-1983. I was introduced to Sacred Falls by some locals at my church. My fondest memory was climbing the hillsides on the trail...[more]


Likeke Falls - Easier path
I am a professional photographer and was turned onto this waterfall by a local tour company which took hikers up to Likeke waterfall on a daily basis...[more]