Carved into the island's captivating northeast coast, a cute little cove is as charming as they come. This weekend, let Fadi'an Cove consume you.
One of the lesser known hikes on Guam, the trek to Fadi'an Cove is tough and trying, but rewards the lion-hearted with stellar views of an isolated island spot, and treats the tired to a scenic snorkeler's sojourn.
Due to the hiking path's tremendous transformation, and its less-traveled trail, it's recommended that you do this hike with someone familiar with the area.
Looking ahead, we're climbing down a super-steep cliffside path over loose dirt and trekking over limestone boulders through dense jungle to land at a rocky beach with possibly hazardous surf. It's not at all safe for pets, kids or those with health conditions.
But don't be discouraged! The payoff for just about half a mile of hiking, with stunning sights all the while, is an extremely isolated island paradise that few can cross off their bucket lists. The wailing and weariness is well worth its weight in gold.
With the construction of the Gloria B. Nelson Public Service Building (Guam Power Authority/Guam Waterworks Authority headquarters) in Mangilao a few years ago, the trailhead of the original hiking path is lost.
That being the case, hikers will need to skirt the chain-link fence along the left side of the building, and even this comes with its challenges.
"Boonie stomping" on Guam means forging your own path, often through dense jungle, to reach your destination. That's precisely what can be expected for the majority of the hike.
Leave the parking area behind and walk down Ignacio Road. At the bottom of the short hill, you'll see the fence nearby, to your right.
Tiptoeing around a small pigpen, make your way into the invasive tangantångan jungle beside the fence and trace the outskirts until it reconnects with an old, paved road.
Once you reach the abandoned road, near some dumpsters on the other side of the fence, the path will be more defined for a short while.
Follow the concrete path farther into the jungle, passing patches of whimsical wildflowers and something with less natural beauty, but all the more eye-catching – a gargantuan illegal dumping ground.
Continue to follow the littered trail as it transitions into a less beaten path. Avoid any meandering trails that look like they lead to nowhere. Stay on paths that lead left, toward a small hill.
Winding through a short jungle juncture, you'll reach the base of a semi-steep hill. Ascend the hill using any handholds available to reach the top.
After reaching the rocky summit, behold one of the island's most majestic million-dollar views: a lavish green-and-blue landscape that colors the northeast coast.
In the distance, you can see the Hawaiian Rock Products quarry and Onward Mangilao Golf Club range. Below the jungle-draped cliffs, Fadi'an Cove pleasantly pops into sight with its tantalizing turquoise waters contrasting the pacifying blues of the Pacific Ocean.
The trying trek will test you
While the cove seems but a hop, skip and a jump away, its warm, welcoming water won't come without a trying trek that tests physical ability and your navigational skills.
Move on to the next trial by finding the incredibly steep, loose dirt path that descends the cliff nearby, to your left.
With great attention and care, make your way down the tormenting trail. Use nearby branches and jutting rocks to assist your descent. Scoot down on your butt when necessary!
Once you've accomplished the treacherous trek, take a breather and enter the eerie limestone jungle ahead. This leg of the hike will be confusing, and you'll need to lean on your instinctive navigational skills to make it through.
The cove is less than 20 minutes away from this point, but you'll have to boonie stomp your way there. Do not rely on the countless colorful markers tied to trees. There's too many that often lead in conflicting directions.
Carefully hop across the limestone boulders in the direction of the ocean. From there, find sensible paths that head in that same direction. Closer to the bottom, the trail will become narrow.
A final set of colored flags, which you can trust, will lead the way to the cove through a tight jungle trail. With the sound of waves crashing nearby and sunlight breaking through the treetops, you're almost there!
You'll fight a few branches guarding the cove before you finally make it, but eventually you will emerge triumphant at Fadi'an Cove.
You're here! What now?
There's not much of a beach at the rocky cove, so settle down under any of the few shaded trees nearby. Scour the shoreline for seashells and pretty pebbles.
Afterward, get your snorkeling gear and wade into the water for a unique swimming experience in an underwater utopia.
Observe weather and surf conditions in the area before you do, however. Feel free to proceed if tides are calm with no storm in sight. The northeast coast is notorious for claiming lives. It's delightful waters can also be dangerous and deadly.
Snorkeling within the perimeter of the cove still provides priceless finds, including colorful coral kingdoms and zipping sea life.
If the surf is especially calm, and tide is low, consider venturing out to the reef bench by the edge of the cove. Swim out to the mouth of the cove along the left side.
Carefully climb onto the låmasa (reef table) and extend your exciting exploration along the robust, rocky coastline.
In the area are seas of seaweed, crawling reef critters, geological wonders and scenic sights of the dramatic ocean. Keep track of the time, as well as tide conditions. Be sure to head back to the cove before evening.
With another worthwhile hike wrapped up, soaking in all the sea, salt and sun the weekend has to offer, retrace your steps back up the cliff to get to your vehicle.