What you need to know to keep your family safe when hiking Hawaii’s trails

A 13-year-old boy is recovering from his injuries after falling 30-feet from a popular hiking trail.

This happened Sunday afternoon at Manoa Falls Trail.

The Honolulu Fire Department said the boy was with family when he fell to the base of the waterfall.

He was airlifted out and taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Manoa Falls is considered a family friendly hike, but can still be dangerous.

The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club is a group of hiking enthusiasts — and the club has been around for over 100 years.

They help all different types of families those who live here and others who just moved to Hawaii.

But the club wants more to be done for tourists to bring awareness about the dangers of hiking.

Fire officials tell us the boy who fell at Manoa Falls Sunday recently moved to Hawaii because his family is in the military.

Hiking expert and Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club member Barbara Bruno said normally they do outreach for military families.

“Sometimes we send them education, recently we had a club member called Jim Yuen long time club member went to make an in-person presentation, sometimes they have outreach events that they invite us to,” Bruno explained.

What the club wants to do more of is to educate tourists.

“I’m 61 and thought it would be a good choice for me, but it’s near the top. Real rocky and steep, no handrails. Thank God he was there to help me down. It was worse coming down,” said Jan McGowan, who is visiting from Texas.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials did not give us an on-camera interview, but the state’s website (HawaiiTrails.org) said Manoa Falls Trail is considered suitable for most novice hikers. However, it also notes that, “conditions can change when it rains. Trail can become very muddy and slippery in many areas”

“Often times when a trail is relatively easy we can get over confident,” said Bruno. “We would love it if the hotel industry got involved in sharing information about hiking tips with tourists.”

Bruno said safe practices include bringing water, food, and a first aid kit. Tell someone about your hiking plans and don’t hike alone. Most importantly know your limits.

“It’s very easy if you have experience hiking on the mainland to think I’m an intermediate or advanced hiker. But I would say anyone new to Hawaii should start with the beginning novice trails and build up their experience and confidence level,” said Bruno. “Hikes in Hawaii, even some of the easy ones, have very steep drop offs so it’s very easy to get hurt.”

Fire officials said the most rescues they do are at popular trails like Manoa Falls, Makapuu Lighthouse and Diamond Head. These trails are popular so they have the largest volume of hikers. HFD says that while the trails are not necessarily difficult or dangerous, a large number rescues involve hikers who were ill prepared and underestimated the effects hiking in Hawaii’s warm humid environment.

HFD also says they have responded to hikers in distress who have become disoriented due to unfamiliarity, poor weather, or darkness.

HFD Mountain Rescues:

Manoa Falls

  • 2016 – 12
  • 2017 – 2 (As of 4/16/2017)


  • 2016 – 66
  • 2017 – 18 (As of 4/16/2017)


  • 2016 – 260
  • 2017 – 63 (As of 4/16/2017)

The HFD recommends that hikers following basic safety tips (H.I.K.E. S.A.F.E.):

  • Hike with a partner or a group and have a plan. Each member of the group should carry a cell phone, water and flashlight in case the party becomes separated. The group should establish where to meet if the members become separated.
  • Inform someone of where you’re going and when you plan to return.
  • Keep a cell phone, flashlight and whistle with you on every hike, even short day hikes.
  • Eat well, stay hydrated: carry plenty of water. Recommended: 2 liters of water per person, per day.
  • Stay on the trail. Abide by all posted signs and do not hike in closed or dangerous areas.
  • Ask for help early; do not delay. A minor/moderate health or medical issues can be easily exacerbated by hiking up steep trails—know your limits and pay attention to how you’re feeling.
  • Familiarize yourself with the area, use a map and consult government sponsored websites.
  • Expect changes in the weather and terrain; bring appropriate footwear and clothing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s