Maguagua Falls

Piti / Yona / Mt Alutom, Guam, Micronesia

About Maguagua Falls


Hiking Distance: about 2 miles out-and-back
Suggested Time: allow at least 3 hours

Date first visited: 2022-11-21
Date last visited: 2022-11-21

Waterfall Latitude: 13.42531
Waterfall Longitude: 144.70649

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Maguagua Falls (or Maguagua’ Falls) was another precipitous waterfall that we had to go on a steep descent to get in front of in a bit of an upside-down hike (seemed like most waterfalls in Guam exhibited this kind of elevation profile).

According to my topo map, I estimate that the full height of the falls was probably on the order of 60ft or so, but we were only able to witness perhaps the uppermost 40ft of it as we were content to stop part way down.

Alutom_Loop_102_11202022 - Maguagua Falls
Maguagua Falls

Since it was situated near Mt Alutom, it was actually possible to do a hike that combines this waterfall with the Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls, and that was actually how I visited the Maguagua Falls as sort of a “throw-in waterfall”.

Nevertheless, Maguagua Falls can easily be done as its own excursion, and that’s how I’ll treat it in this write-up.

Maguagua Falls As An Out-And-Back Hike

From the end of Turner Road, which was the same trailhead as that of the Upper Sigua Falls (see directions below), we had a couple of options to take.

First, we could take the 4wd track south towards Mt Alifan, or we could follow a rough 4wd track forking off to the left of the road’s end for 400-500ft towards another fork in the road, and then we’d descend to the right to continue going south.

Alutom_Loop_005_11202022 - If we don't opt to head south on the 4wd track to Mt Alifan, then we'd take the Mt Alutom Road for about 400-500ft and then head downhill to the right at this fork
If we don’t opt to head south on the 4wd track to Mt Alifan, then we’d take the Mt Alutom Road for about 400-500ft and then head downhill to the right at this fork

In either case, we’d generally head downhill on a series of eroded red-dirt 4wd tracks, where the two approaches would converge after about 0.4-mile.

In another 1/2-mile, we’d then reach another trail junction marked by a handful of rock cairns as well as some creatively-placed rocks arranged in patterns (one in a circular symbol and another in an arrow pointing the way to Maguagua Falls).

So following the arrow at this point, the trail then continued its southward trajectory before descending steeply towards the brink of Maguagua Falls.

In one stretch, the decline was steep enough to make use of rope that was tied to some broken pipes (that may or may not be there).

Alutom_Loop_051_iPhone_11212022 - Rock cairns at a clearing at the end of a 4wd track where the Maguagua Falls course continued to the south of here
Rock cairns at a clearing at the end of a 4wd track where the Maguagua Falls course continued to the south of here

Anyways, once we got down to the brink of Maguagua Falls, we had to make sure that we picked up an easy-to-miss trail after crossing its stream.

If that trail is missed, then we’d find ourselves right at the brink of the waterfall with no safe way down given the sheer cliffs.

Once on that easy-to-miss trail, we then had to pass through some swordgrass and then descending another steep rope-aided slope.

This tricky 60-80ft or so descent ultimately deposited us onto a rocky ledge between the two drops making up the Maguagua Falls, which was the end of the line as far as our excursion was concerned.

Alutom_Loop_035_iPhone_11212022 - Looking over the brink of Maguagua Falls as the trail to continue going to the base was actually a little upstream from here.  You definitely don't want to scale the sheer cliffs down below from this point
Looking over the brink of Maguagua Falls as the trail to continue going to the base was actually a little upstream from here. You definitely don’t want to scale the sheer cliffs down below from this point

At this ledge, we enjoyed the views in both directions (up to the upper drop as well as over the brink of the lower drop) and the ambient sounds by the sounds of the waterfall with the odd splashing sounds made by a freshwater shrimp or possibly an eel.

According to the “The Best Tracks on Guam” book, it was possible to carefully rock scramble to the very bottom of the waterfall, but that was something we didn’t attempt.

Going back the way we came, the overall hiking distance was on the order of about 2.5 miles, and it would take on the order of 3 hours according to my trip logs.

The Option To Combine Upper Sigua Falls, Alutom Falls, and Maguagua Falls

As mentioned earlier, we managed to include the Maguagua Falls as part of a longer loop hike encompassing Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls.

Alutom_Loop_037_iPhone_11212022 - The steep rope-aided descent to get closer to the bottom of Maguagua Falls
The steep rope-aided descent to get closer to the bottom of Maguagua Falls

The early part of the loop is described in the write-up for Alutom and Upper Sigua Falls.

Then, we’d continue a very steep and challenging climb out of the base of the Upper Sigua Falls towards a 4wd track above the opposite side of the ravine from Mt Alutom.

Next, we’d follow the 4wd track west for about 0.2-mile before deviating from it and following faint use trails for about 0.3-mile to a large clearing at the end of a 4wd track containing rock cairns and rocks arranged in patterns.

From there, we’d do an out-and-back deviation south to the Maguagua Falls as described above (covering about 1/2-mile round-trip) before heading north for the remaining mile back to the trailhead at the end of Turner Road.

Alutom_Loop_101_11202022 - Looking up at the upper 40ft of Maguagua Falls from the ledge between its upper and lower drops
Looking up at the upper 40ft of Maguagua Falls from the ledge between its upper and lower drops

In doing this extended excursion, it took Chris and I about 4 hours (or about an hour more than just the out-and-back excursion).

Authorities

Maguagua Falls reside near Mt Alutom in the villages of Yona or Piti in Guam. It may be administered by the Guam Department of Agriculture. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.

Alutom_Loop_002_11202022 - Getting started on the hike to Maguagua Falls (as well as Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls since we combined them in one excursion)
Alutom_Loop_003_11202022 - Chris going up a 4wd track between swordgrass as we left the residences and continued on a 4wd track towards Mt Alutom
Alutom_Loop_099_11202022 - Looking back towards Upper Sigua Falls and Mt Alutom as we had climbed out of the steep ravine and onto a 4wd track en route to Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_012_iPhone_11212022 - Chris going up the 4wd track under a rain squall that overtook us when we were making our way between Upper Sigua Falls and Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_013_iPhone_11212022 - Continuing on the 4wd track as we made our way between Upper Sigua Falls and Maguagua Falls under a clearing rain squall
Alutom_Loop_015_iPhone_11212022 - Looking in the distance towards the Leo Palace from the 4wd track somewhere between Upper Sigua Falls and Maguagua Falls under a clearing rain squall
Alutom_Loop_016_iPhone_11212022 - Looking in the direction of the ravine containing the Maguagua Falls as we were about to leave the 4wd track we were on to cut across to the Maguagua Falls route
Alutom_Loop_017_iPhone_11212022 - Looking in the other direction towards Mt Alutom as we were somewhere between Upper Sigua Falls and Maguagua Falls under a clearing rain squall
Alutom_Loop_018_iPhone_11212022 - Chris leaving the 4wd track to cut across towards the clearing by the Maguagua Falls track
Alutom_Loop_019_iPhone_11212022 - Chris following an interestingly-arranged series of rocks essentially defining the trail through this patch of red dirt en route to Maguagua Falls from Upper Sigua Falls
Alutom_Loop_020_iPhone_11212022 - Context of Chris about to cut through some grassy terrain en route to the track leading down to Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_021_iPhone_11212022 - Chris now cutting through some grassy trail on the way to the track leading us down to the Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_022_iPhone_11212022 - Chris back on a wider 4wd track en route to the track leading us closer to the Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_023_iPhone_11212022 - Chris approaching the clearing with the rock cairns and rock arrangements at the start of the deviation for Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_025_iPhone_11212022 - One of the interesting rock arrangements in a pattern at the clearing by the deviation for the Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_026_iPhone_11212022 - Chris following an arrow formed by a creative arrangement of rocks, which marked the way down to the Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_027_iPhone_11212022 - Initially, the Maguagua Falls deviation was benign as it passed through mostly flat terrain on a well-used trail between the low-lying grass
Alutom_Loop_029_iPhone_11212022 - However, it didn't take long before the Maguagua Falls trail descended pretty quickly as we got towards the ravine
Alutom_Loop_030_iPhone_11212022 - Chris descending on the increasingly declined trail leading us to Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_031_iPhone_11212022 - Chris continuing the steepening descent towards the brink of Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_032_iPhone_11212022 - Chris holding onto rope that he had tied to a broken pipe that he introduced to help with leverage on this steep part of the descent to Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_034_iPhone_11212022 - Making it down to the brink of Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_036_iPhone_11212022 - Now going down the steep rope-aided slope to get towards the bottom of Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_038_iPhone_11212022 - Continuing the steep rope-aided descent on the way down to the base of Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_108_11202022 - Looking up at the upper drop of the Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_104_11202022 - Looking over the brink of the lower lip of Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_110_11202022 - Closeup look at a fairl large freshwater shrimp residing in the plunge pool between the pair of drops making up Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_039_iPhone_11212022 - Looking up at the very steep terrain we had to ascend with the aid of rope on the way back up from Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_041_iPhone_11212022 - Still more steep and slippery rope-aided ascending from Maguagua Falls on the return hike
Alutom_Loop_042_iPhone_11212022 - Another look up at Chris who was leading the way back up from Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_043_iPhone_11212022 - Looking up at a very tricky and vertical part of the ascent up from Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_046_iPhone_11212022 - After the initial steep climb up from Maguagua Falls, we now had the next climb to look forward to
Alutom_Loop_048_iPhone_11212022 - Making it back up the brink of Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_050_iPhone_11212022 - After getting past the worst of the climbing from Maguagua Falls, we now went past the familiar clearing with rock cairns and onto 4wd tracks heading north towards the trailhead
Alutom_Loop_054_iPhone_11212022 - Continuing our march back to the trailhead with Mt Alutom in the distance
Alutom_Loop_055_iPhone_11212022 - Chris navigating through a faint track as we made our way back towards the trailhead with Mt Alutom in the distance
Alutom_Loop_056_iPhone_11212022 - Making our way back up eroded 4wd tracks where water continued to cut deeper gullies into them as seen on the way back to the trailhead from Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_057_iPhone_11212022 - Chris traversing a field of red dirt as we made our way back towards the trailhead with Mt Alutom in the distance
Alutom_Loop_059_iPhone_11212022 - Still following the well-defined 4wd track on our way back to the trailhead from Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_061_iPhone_11212022 - Chris navigating through more mazes of criss-crossing red dirt 4wd tracks on the way back from Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_063_iPhone_11212022 - Finally making it back to the road we had walked initially on the way to Mt Alutom, but now we're almost concluding our hike
Alutom_Loop_064_iPhone_11212022 - Descending to the Turner Road and the residences near where we had parked the van


The trailhead for Maguagua Falls is essentially the same as that for the Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls, which can be accessed from some residences near the summit of Mt Alutom.

The way we’d make the drive from Tumon Bay would be to head south on Marine Corps. Drive towards the junction with Hwy 6 (about 9km).

Alutom_Loop_066_iPhone_11212022 - Context of the private residences and where we parked at the end of Turner Road
Context of the private residences and where we parked at the end of Turner Road

Then, we’d turn left onto Hwy 6 and drive for 5km (going past Nimitz Hill) before turning left onto a connector road towards Turner Road.

Next, we’d turn right onto Turner Road and follow it to the end a little over 2km later, where there was some grassy pullouts opposite the residences.

Overall, this drive would take us about a half-hour.

One thing I want to mention about this hike is that it involved quite a few hazards and easy-to-lose paths so I did feel the need to hire a guide who was familiar with this excursion.

Alutom_Loop_071_iPhone_11212022 - Looking back at the context of Turner Road with civilization in the distance as we were getting closer to Mt Alutom
Looking back at the context of Turner Road with civilization in the distance as we were getting closer to Mt Alutom

The person I hired was named Chris Choi who runs the Guam Trekking Tour, which also doubles as a Korean trekking group.

Finally, for geographical context, Yona was about 18km (under 30 minutes drive) north of Inarajan, about 19km (under 30 minutes drive) south of Tamuning, and 20km (about 30 minutes drive) south of Tumon Bay.

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Deliberate up and down sweep of the upper drop of Maguagua Falls before panning over to the brink of its next drop

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Tagged with: piti, yona, guam, mt alutom, waterfall, hike, rope, swordgrass, neti, muddy



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