O‘ahu Hike of the Month: Judd Trail

This short Nu‘uanu jaunt will take you to an enchanting 10-foot waterfall and swimming hole.


Editor’s Note: We love hiking! Fortunately, O‘ahu is full of great hikes. In this web series, we bring you our favorite O‘ahu trails once a month.


Judd Trail

Photos: Lorin Eleni Gill


TRAIL NAME: Judd Trail to Jackass Ginger Pool


LENGTH: 1 mile round trip

FEE: None

WHERE: 4022 Nu‘uanu Pali Drive



Hiking can be dangerous, and not every trail is a good idea for every person. Keep your personal fitness and skill level in mind, and always take proper precautions when venturing off road. Heed “no trespassing” and other warning signs. Pig hunting is permitted on Wednesdays and Sundays, so hikers with dogs should avoid those days. Check hawaiitrails.org for updates. Also, swimmers risk contracting leptospirosis, so enter the water at your own discretion.


judd trail guava grove




Judd Trail is easy to spot from Nu‘uanu Pali Drive. Heading mauka, you’ll see it on the right side of the road. Shortly after passing the Judd trailhead marker, you’ll cross a rambling stream. At the next trail marker, turn right and stay close to the water while walking downstream. In less than a half-mile, you’ll hear the waterfall and see a clearing on your right. Tread down the hill carefully and you’ll find the enchanting swimming hole—said to have once been popular among Hawaiian royals. Set in a serene woodland area, it’s a fun escape for all ages. If you continue along the Judd Trail loop, you’ll pass through groves of pine, eucalyptus, guava and bamboo trees.


Judd trail stream

The stream you must cross to continue along the trail.



Jackass Ginger Pool is about 8 feet deep, but check before you jump as its depth can vary depending on rainfall. If you’re not a jumper, try the natural mossy rock slide to slip into the pool.


Judd trail jackass ginger pool



Take the Pali Highway and turn right onto Nu‘uanu Pali Drive. The road will soon split; keep right and the trailhead will be on your right after another half-mile.




  • Bring lots of mosquito repellent to avoid bug bites. Remember to reapply after you swim in the pool.

  • Parking along the road will be limited. Park in the residential area and walk to the trailhead to avoid car break-ins.

  • Wear water-friendly shoes that allow you to cross a stream and slippery rocks.

  • Nu‘uanu Stream will be stronger after heavy rain, so plan accordingly.

  • To avoid leptospirosis, be careful not to swallow the pond water, put your head underwater or swim with cuts.  


Click here for more Oʻahu hikes.


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Honolulu Magazine December 2017
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