You are the owner of this article.

Spots on The Rock

A river that runs straight to the heart

Tinago Falls: Guam's own Garden of Eden

  • 3 min to read

You know life is good when you're lying in the cool shade of a jungle canopy overhead. Peering through a tropical rooftop, clouds drifting and drawing you to sleep – it doesn't get any better than this!

Running along the Tinago River in an isolated Inarajan jungle valley, this series of stunning waterfalls has been a hidden treasure enjoyed by a lucky few.

Family friendly, and a great beginner's hike for kids and pets of all ages, anyone can explore this euphoric slice of paradise, carved out by Mother Nature herself.

Let's get started

To start, follow the nature trail into the jungle, dodging a few muddy dips on your way. Follow this beaten path for the next 10 minutes, up a short hill and across another semimuddy plain.

Entering a prairie-like plain area, and beyond the sea of sword grass, enjoy vibrant views of southern Guam and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Continue on the straightforward trail for a few minutes, but be on the lookout for a faint fork coming up. At the overgrown fork, the left path leads on level ground toward a tall tree in the near distance.

Turn right instead, and begin your ascent through a rustic clay mesa. Once you step onto red dirt, veer to the right and hop over a short hill, which will lead to a more defined path.

After regaining the trail, you'll trek through this scenic desert scene for another 10 minutes, winding around a few mesa mounds and across short slopes. Note that most social trails will often connect back to the main route.

If you've stuck to the well-traveled trail, you'll slowly descend a slight slope to what might appear to be another faint fork. If you don't notice the fork, don't worry; continue to follow the natural footpath.

If you do notice it, turn right and head farther downhill to the riveting Tinago River. If you'd like, check out the top of Tinago Falls by stepping into the shallow river, about 2 to 3 feet deep, and follow it downstream, to the right, for just a few seconds. You can try to skip along the riverbank to avoid the water.

From here you can see the vibrant river valley below, but watch your step along the slick and slippery surface.

Head back to the original path and cross the shallow river, to the other side to regain the path. Take a few steps forward and on your right, find the steep trail down to the valley, shaded by a gorgeous bamboo grove.

Striking beauty

With thoughtful steps, carefully climb down the short, steep hillside with the assistance of a sturdy rope. Midway down, the descent transitions into a literal rock climb, so find your footing on the way down.

Hopping onto the muddy jungle floor, follow the path to Guam's very own Garden of Eden.

Soak in the streaming sunlight as you emerge from the dim, dense jungle. You've made it! Carefully climb or scoot on your butt to get down to ground zero, utilizing any ropes or branches nearby.

The natural beauty of the verdant valley and pristine river runs straight to your heart from here. A serene secret kept hidden under your nose for who knows how long, the exotic beauty Tinago boasts is simply striking – a natural high, in my opinion.

Settle your stuff nearby and explore the exotic area as much as your heart desires. Head upstream to find a neat tree swing and the first level of waterfalls, a postcard-worthy photo op if there ever was one!

Farther upstream, reached by scurrying up and across the slick, shallow river, you'll find the main Tinago Falls – an impressive shower stream with a teensy pool, perfect for a quick cool-off.

We're just getting started

This picturesque slice of paradise is just the tip of the heavenly hike. While you'll probably spend most of your time here, head downstream to the initial entryway and take in what the entire valley has to offer.

In front of a handy hammock near the entrance, plunge into the deep pool below for a refreshing thrill and chill. This particular pool is deep enough to leap in from up high.

Beyond the immediate area, you'll see the largest swimming hole farther downstream.

You can get there in two ways:

Follow the river flow downstream and carefully climb down the sides, using a provided rope to get back up. This is harder, but shorter than its alternative.

You can hop behind the hammock area to find an overgrown jungle path to the bottom. The trail starts beside the tree, right behind the hammock, and travels down a semisteep hillside to reach the bottom, where the pool is located. This is easier, but longer.

Either way, the last pool is definitely worth checking out! Test your Tarzan skills climbing up ropes, leaping off big boulders and swinging from vines. You're the king of the jungle down here.

Even if you don't want to leave, you'll probably have to ... so when you're ready, bid adieu to the stunning views and retrace your footsteps back to your car.

Happy hiking!

Recommended for you