Hawaii’s hottest trail is Mañana – it has everything — waterfalls, crunters (crazed hunters), cardiac arrest patients, mud people, rope burn victims and graffiti trail markers. Okay, now that I’m done with my little homage to Stefon from Saturday Night Live, let’s get down to the business of the trail.
The entrance to Mañana Trail is located at the end of Komo Mai Drive in the Pacific Palisades region. It’s part of the Ewa Forest Reserve, and yes, hunting is allowed. We didn’t actually see any hunters the day we were there, but guidebooks advise you to wear bright coloured clothing, just in case.
There are two trails here – the longer one (6 miles) takes you to up to a ridge, and the shorter one (3 miles round-trip) takes you to the waterfalls and pool. The Waimano Pool hike is not what I would call a typical walk in the park. It’s classified as intermediate and you should allow about 45 minutes to one hour each way.
The first challenge is what is known as Cardiac Hill (or Cardiac Arrest Hill as some guides call it). It’s a steep natural tree-root staircase that’s often slick and slippery after the rain. Sandals are definitely not recommended.
Once you maneuver your way through the root jungle, the path narrows considerably, and you face the next challenge – mud. And there is plenty of it to contend with. In some sections the mud can be ankle-deep, and slips and falls are common. Wear shoes (and clothes) that you don’t mind getting dirty. And bring a bag to put them in after the hike – you don’t want to get mud all over your car, or track it all through your bus.
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The final challenge is the easiest — navigating the ropes. There are three ropes to assist you along the trail – one on the trail itself in a particularly steep section, and one into each of the two pools at the bottom.
The first pool has a small waterfall, but is deep and has a great jumping spot (top left in the above photo).
The second pool has the larger waterfall, and the water is refreshingly cool.
Thankfully free from crowds, the trail does put you to the test physically, but the reward awaiting at the bottom was well worth it. I could have done without the trek back up Cardiac Hill though.
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