Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls

Yona / Santa Rita / Mt Alutom, Guam, Micronesia

About Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls


Hiking Distance: at least 2 miles round trip (our-and-back) or 3-mile loop; requires steep rope-aided slopes
Suggested Time: allow at least 3 hours

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

Waterfall Latitude: 13.42802
Waterfall Longitude: 144.71243

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls are a pair of waterfalls on the Sigua River beneath the steep south-facing slope of Mt Alutom.

Of the two waterfalls, the Upper Sigua Falls was an impressive pair of cascades dropping a cumulative total of a reported 60ft (each drop roughly equivalent in height).

Alutom_Loop_092_11202022 - Upper Sigua Falls
Upper Sigua Falls

Meanwhile, the Alutom Falls was a quaint waterfall with a plunge pool (it looks deep but it’s only good for wading) just a short distance upstream from the Upper Sigua Falls.

As the name suggests, there’s actually a Lower Sigua Falls, which had an impressive 75ft plunge, but the rugged terrain made it so that short of a very difficult river scramble, it was not practical to combine these Sigua River Waterfalls in one excursion.

Therefore, for the purposes of this write-up, we’ll just focus on the Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls, which can be done on a steep out-and-back half-day excursion.

It’s worth noting that if you’re ambitious, it is possible to combine this excursion with the Maguagua Falls in a longer loop hike.

Alutom_Loop_059_11202022 - The quaint Alutom Falls, which is just upstream from the Upper Sigua Falls
The quaint Alutom Falls, which is just upstream from the Upper Sigua Falls

Nevertheless, even though the Upper Sigua and Alutom Falls combo wasn’t a long hike (my GPS logs suggested that it was 2.5 miles out-and-back), it wasn’t an easy hike either.

The reason for this is that there’s a steep and slippery descent beneath Mt Alutom as well as a dicey rope-aided descent alongside the Upper Sigua Falls.

In one instance, I actually took a fairly nasty spill bruising my right elbow and side when my foot slipped out from under me as I was holding tightly onto rope trying to get to the very bottom of the Upper Sigua Falls.

And while descending the steep and slippery slope was difficult, I found going back up even more challenging because in some cases footholds were non-existent, especially where I essentially had to do a pull-up in the absence of using footholds for leverage.

Alutom_Loop_087_11202022 - Looking towards the upper section of the main drop of Upper Sigua Falls
Looking towards the upper section of the main drop of Upper Sigua Falls

Even higher up the return route, climbing back up Mt Alutom was tiring though it was considerably easier going up the exposed hill as opposed to going down the loose gravel surface.

Overall, it took us around 90 minutes to experience both Alutom Falls and the bottom of Upper Sigua Falls, and thus, it would probably take 3 hours in total to complete this as an out-and-back upside-down excursion.

Trail Description – Hiking To Mt Alutom & The Sigua Valley Overlook

From our starting point near some residences at the end of Turner Road (see directions below), we walked up a rough 4wd track forking off to the left of the road’s end.

After about 400ft, we kept to the left at a fork in the road (the path coming in from the right actually was the route for Maguagua Falls), and we continued another 1/2-mile along the muddy 4wd track towards the communications towers atop Mt Alutom.

Alutom_Loop_024_11202022 - Looking towards the Leo Palace across the Sigua Valley from the overlook beneath Mt Alutom
Looking towards the Leo Palace across the Sigua Valley from the overlook beneath Mt Alutom

Then, we kept left at an unmarked fork (except for a “Private Property” sign) to avoid going up to the cell towers and following this faint track towards an outcrop that I presume was the Sigua Valley Overlook.

At this vantage point, we could look to our left towards the Leo Palace and its golf courses, straight ahead towards the forested ravine of the Sigua River, to the right at the ocean off Guam’s west coast, and behind us at Mt Alutom itself.

While we knew that the waterfalls were in the ravine somewhere, it was hard to tell exactly where since they weren’t visible from this spot.

Trail Description – Descending To Alutom Falls

Continuing with the hike, we then descended essentially a gully on some eroded slopes (with loose gravel acting as ball bearings conspiring to make us slip and fall) between grassy terrain (some of which was the ubiquitous swordgrass).

Alutom_Loop_026_11202022 - Looking down from the Sigua Valley Overlook towards the gully we'd have to descend towards the forested ravine in the distance
Looking down from the Sigua Valley Overlook towards the gully we’d have to descend towards the forested ravine in the distance

This descent went for about 1/4-mile, which took us nearly 30 minutes to complete as we had to be very careful with our steps.

Like with other rough hikes in Guam, it was a good idea to be wearing gloves as well as leveraging trekking poles on this descent.

The further down we went, the more vegetation was around us, and that’s where things could start to get confusing.

Once the descent flattened out nearby the Sigua River, we then followed some faint use-trails upstream to the secluded Alutom Falls.

Alutom_Loop_056_11202022 - Chris near the bottom of the descent from Mt Alutom and working through the swordgrass upstream to the Alutom Falls
Chris near the bottom of the descent from Mt Alutom and working through the swordgrass upstream to the Alutom Falls

As inviting as this waterfall was for a dip, there were a handful of mosquitoes conspiring to keep things uncomfortable (and unpalatable to become sitting ducks for them).

Trail Description – Descending Alongside Upper Sigua Falls

After having our fill of the Alutom Falls, we then followed some trampled swordgrass and faint use-trails downstream before descending to the very brink of the Upper Alutom Falls.

The water level of the Sigua River was low enough to comfortably get across this precarious spot without getting wet, but it could be very dicey if the river ran high and covered up the bedrock that we had relied upon for this traverse.

Anyways, we then followed a pretty steep and muddy descent alongside the Upper Sigua Falls, where we utilized rope that was tied to trees.

Alutom_Loop_065_11202022 - Chris crossing the brink of the Upper Sigua Falls, which was pretty straightforward given the relatively low water level of the Sigua River during our excursion, but it could be problematic in a flash flood or if the river ran higher
Chris crossing the brink of the Upper Sigua Falls, which was pretty straightforward given the relatively low water level of the Sigua River during our excursion, but it could be problematic in a flash flood or if the river ran higher

The slope was quite at an angle that I swore was greater than 45 degrees (though in reality it might not be that severe), and we went slowly down this path.

The views of Upper Sigua Falls went from partial profile perspectives near the waterfall’s brink to mostly overgrown partial views the lower down the slope we went.

Eventually, we got down to the base of the upper section of the main drop of Upper Sigua Falls, where we then made an awkward scramble to some rocks for some rest.

There was a partial view of the twisting waterfall (because the uppermost sections were out-of-sight from this vantage point), which let a lot to be desired.

Alutom_Loop_078_11202022 - Even with a hiker as experienced as Chris, there are moments when he can slip and fall, which attests to how sketchy the footing can be as we descended alongside the Upper Sigua Falls
Even with a hiker as experienced as Chris, there are moments when he can slip and fall, which attests to how sketchy the footing can be as we descended alongside the Upper Sigua Falls

Nevertheless, after having our fill of this “half-way” point of the falls, my guide Chris showed me an even steeper rope-aided descent to the very bottom of the falls.

The very bottom part of this descent was very muddy and slippery (causing me to lose my footing and bruising my right side of my body after slamming onto the rocky surface I was descending).

Once down there, I managed to get an upstream look back at the Upper Sigua Falls, where there was a lower waterfall fronting a partial view of the twisting upper waterfall.

This was the end of the line as far as experiencing the Upper Sigua Falls, and now it was time to make our way out of this ravine.

Trail Description – Options On The Return Hike

Alutom_Loop_099_11202022 - Overlooking the Upper Sigua Falls and Mt Alutom as seen from the opposite side of the ravine above the Sigua River
Overlooking the Upper Sigua Falls and Mt Alutom as seen from the opposite side of the ravine above the Sigua River

We had options on how we’d want to leave the base of the Upper Sigua Falls.

The shortest and more straightforward option would be to go back up the way we came, but that meant going back up the challenging rope-aided slope, and then going back up the southern slope of Mt Alutom.

Another option was to go up a similarly steep trail through a gully and then through swordgrass to get up to a 4wd road above the ravine opposite Mt Alutom.

From this 4wd track, we could then hike a loop back to our starting point, which would be about 1.6 miles in length (or 0.4-mile longer than the first option).

Alutom_Loop_056_iPhone_11212022 - Returning from the Upper Sigua Falls (and Maguagua Falls) via a series of eroded 4wd tracks
Returning from the Upper Sigua Falls (and Maguagua Falls) via a series of eroded 4wd tracks

However, given the relatively close proximity of Maguagua Falls to this 4wd track that looped back, it was reasonable to combine that waterfall with the waterfalls in this write-up.

In fact, that was exactly what my guide Chris and I did though it made for a rather long half-day excursion that took us about 4 hours in total (or 60-90 minutes longer than the out-and-back hike described in the first option).

I’ll leave the details of the Maguagua Falls part for its own write-up since it could also be done on its own.

Authorities

Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls reside near Mt Alutom in the villages of Yona or Santa Rita 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_001_11202022 - Looking back at the Turner Road that we took to get up to the trailhead
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_005_11202022 - Hiking past a junction where the 4wd track coming on the right was actually for the Maguagua Falls
Alutom_Loop_007_11202022 - Approaching a mine field of muddy puddles and muddy patches on the 4wd track between the swordgrass
Alutom_Loop_010_11202022 - Getting closer to the peak of Mt Alutom where there were communications, cell, and/or transmission antennae
Alutom_Loop_011_11202022 - Chris going into the swordgrass instead of wading through the mud puddle covering the 4wd track
Alutom_Loop_012_11202022 - Getting closer to the Mt Alutom
Alutom_Loop_014_11202022 - Getting off the 4wd track and taking this narrower track past the Private Property sign on the way to the Sigua Valley Lookout beneath the top of Mt Alutom
Alutom_Loop_015_11202022 - Chris now getting around another muddy puddle on the track leading to the Sigua Valley Overlook
Alutom_Loop_017_11202022 - Looking back at some tagged platform fronting some communications infrastructure atop Mt Alutom
Alutom_Loop_019_11202022 - Chris wading through some of the mild swordgrass towards the Sigua Valley Overlook
Alutom_Loop_020_11202022 - Making it out to the Sigua Valley Overlook
Alutom_Loop_025_11202022 - Looking down at a couple of hikers who were making their way back up from the Sigua River just as we were about to go down in the opposite direction
Alutom_Loop_027_11202022 - Looking to the west (right) from the Sigua Valley Overlook towards the west coast of Guam
Alutom_Loop_031_11202022 - Looking to the east (left) from the Sigua Valley Overlook towards the Leo Palace
Alutom_Loop_034_11202022 - Looking back at Mt Alutom from the Sigua Valley Overlook
Alutom_Loop_005_iPhone_11212022 - The couple making it back up to the top of their climb just as we were about to make our way down into the ravine from the Sigua Valley Overlook
Alutom_Loop_036_11202022 - Chris going down the steep dirt track on the southern slopes of Mt Alutom
Alutom_Loop_038_11202022 - Chris staying on the ridge as we followed a faint use trail continuing down towards the Sigua River on the southern slopes of Mt Alutom
Alutom_Loop_042_11202022 - Chris descending deeper into thicker vegetation on our way down Mt Alutom towards the Sigua River
Alutom_Loop_043_11202022 - Chris continuing the descent deeper into the Sigua River ravine as we still had a bit more to go
Alutom_Loop_052_11202022 - Looking back up towards Mt Alutom just to show how far we had descended to this point
Alutom_Loop_054_11202022 - Chris still descending the steep terrain leading us closer to the Sigua River and the targeted waterfalls
Alutom_Loop_057_11202022 - The descent petering out as we went upstream towards the Alutom Falls hidden in the vegetation ahead
Alutom_Loop_058_11202022 - First look at the secluded Alutom Falls
Alutom_Loop_061_11202022 - Direct look at the secluded Alutom Falls, where the plunge pool looked deep, but Chris said it was not deep enough for swimming
Alutom_Loop_064_11202022 - Chris now going in the downstream direction towards the Upper Sigua Falls after having had our fill of the Alutom Falls
Alutom_Loop_069_11202022 - NO CAPTION
Alutom_Loop_074_11202022 - Looking across the brink of the Upper Sigua Falls with the tiny trees in the distance (beetlenut?) making it apparent that we were pretty high up and now have to do a steep descent to get down to that level
Alutom_Loop_076_11202022 - Profile view of the Upper Sigua Falls while making the steep descent towards its base
Alutom_Loop_007_iPhone_11212022 - Looking back up towards the brink of Upper Sigua Falls early on in the very steep descent to this waterfall's base
Alutom_Loop_081_11202022 - Partial look back towards the upper section of the Upper Sigua Falls as we were making the steep descent along its drop
Alutom_Loop_085_11202022 - Angled look at the Upper Sigua Falls when we got to the bottom of this section of the falls
Alutom_Loop_086_11202022 - Partial look at the bottom of Upper Sigua Falls from our little rest and recovery spot after the initial steep descent down the waterfall
Alutom_Loop_089_11202022 - It was hard to get a clean look at the entirety of the upper drop of the Upper Sigua Falls due to the thick vegetation everywhere
Alutom_Loop_094_11202022 - Direct look at the remainder of the drop of Upper Sigua Falls backed by a partial view of its main drop
Alutom_Loop_095_11202022 - Last look at the overall drop of Upper Sigua Falls before making the tricky and steep ascent back up
Alutom_Loop_012_iPhone_11212022 - After the grueling ascent from the Upper Sigua Falls, we finally got up to the 4wd track (as we opted not to go back the way we came), which happened during a rain squall so we got wet at this point
Alutom_Loop_013_iPhone_11212022 - Following the 4wd track in the rain as we made our way out of Upper Sigua Falls
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_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_062_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_066_iPhone_11212022 - Making it back to the van to end our excursion


The Upper Sigua Falls and Alutom Falls can be accessed on the same excursion that begins 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_003_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_002_11202022 - Another look at the context of where we parked before going on our excursion to the Alutom and Upper Sigua Falls
Another look at the context of where we parked before going on our excursion to the Alutom and Upper Sigua Falls

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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Checking out Alutom Falls from a couple of different positions


Sweep checking out the brink of the Upper Sigua Falls


Up and down sweep of the front of the upper drop of Upper Sigua Falls


Up and down sweep from the very bottom of the Upper Sigua Falls


Looking down across the ravine towards Upper Sigua Falls as well as the towers above Mt Alutom

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Tagged with: yona, santa rita, guam, alutom falls, mt alutom, sigua river, swordgrass, neti, rope, muddy, waterfall, hike



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