One of the most popular hiking spots on Oahu is closed until further notice.
Emergency crews rushed to Manoa Friday afternoon after a landslide was discovered along the popular Manoa Falls Trail.
Firefighters came across the landslide after someone called 911. They estimate it to be about 100 feet long.
“Roughly roughly four or five large size rocks had fallen on the Ahuilama trail and didn’t quite make it to the Manoa Falls trail, but it does merit that we have a further inspection done by a professional company,” said Aaron Lowe, the DLNR Trai and Access Specialist.
The Ahuilama trail is on the left near the base of Manoa Falls. It leads to the upper pools of the waterfall but it has been closed for years.
At first, there was some concern that hikers may have been injured.
“Our crews did come across some hikers, but we didn’t find any injuries. They investigated the base of the pool where the debris field was left behind, a small debris field of large rocks and some trees and some dirt,” said Battalion Chief Debbie Eleneki, Honolulu Fire Department. “Whenever we have a lot of rainfall, as we have experienced over the past weeks or months, there’s always that potential of loosening of the ground.”
Even though signs clearly state the trail was closed at the trail head, it didn’t stop visitors from hiking.
“We got to the top of the trail…there was some guy and he was just standing there stating that some of the rocks were coming down..it is very slippery once you get to the top so its a good idea to close it down,” said Reggie Reed who is visiting with his family.
DLNR said they plan to post a DOCARE officer at the Manoa Falls gate entrance to prevent people from going on the trail while it’s closed.
“Until we can assess the situation, we close the trail…once we have the opportunity we have a contractor who will inspect the area usually by rope. So they repel down to the area, look at it to see if there’s any further risk or hazard. Then we’ll make a determination if we should open the trail if there’s any further danger,” Lowe explained.
“Is there a general timeline, how long does that usually take?” asked KHON.
“Sacred falls is still closed. So there’s your timeline,” Lowe said.
The tragic landslide at Sacred Falls killed eight people and injured 50 others in may of 1999. Sacred Falls remains closed.
Though DLNR officials don’t know for sure what caused the rock slide at Manoa Falls, there was an even larger landslide on the other side of the valley.
Lowe said that landslide is one of the largest to affect a trail he’s ever seen. It’s roughly the size of a football field.
“We are currently assessing that. It did affect our Kolowalu Trail quite extensively. Probably going to be looking at closing that trail. The thing that was different about that trail and this trail is the use,” Lowe said.
The good news is it did not affect any homes.
No one was injured in either situation.
DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife closed the trail for three days last month to conduct a rockfall mitigation survey, to assess and document potential hazards within the falls viewing area.
If you are ticketed for hiking a closed trail the fine is anywhere from $50 to $500. It is a criminal summons. Offenders are required to go to court and the judge imposes the fine.