John Muir once said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
Muir, known as the "patron saint of American wilderness," wrote those words in 1901. They remain just as true today.
The goal of Friday’s “Spots on the Rock” is not only to provide decent descriptions and directions of Guam hikes, but to also motivate our community to further explore our own slice of paradise.
I encourage you to release your inner adventurer and explorer; and to free your natural spirit in communion with the waterfalls, swimming holes, mountains, coasts, cliff lines, bays, coves and beaches Guam offers right in our backyards.
I invite you to come home.
Our inaugural hike starts with the quintessential family and beginners trek to Tarzan Falls, one of Guam’s most notable waterfalls located in a valley along the border of Yona and Santa Rita.
Refer to the map to get to the parking spot, which will be alongside Cross Island Road (Rt. 17) just before entering Santa Rita, under the iconic power line adorned with dilapidated athletic shoes tossed by hikers who have braved the Tarzan Valley area, known for its mud and red dirt.
The hike starts beside a chained barricade with signs marked “Forestry Project” and “Tarzan Falls.”
Note that the trail's start has changed dramatically due to last year’s construction of GPA’s 233-foot wind turbine, and that hiking in the rain, or after it has rained, will be over extremely muddy and slippery terrain.
Begin the hike by entering to the left of the barricade, past the signs and into the jungle.
Immediately, you will come to a fork. Take the left path, which travels parallel to the fence of the new wind turbine.
At the end of that path, you should see a bent sign that points left in the direction of the wind turbine. Follow the path alongside the turbine’s back fence to connect with the original trail en route to the falls.
Following that path, you’ll soon be descending down a few moderately steep hills. Some hills will break off into two or three different pathways; choose any path as they all go to the same place. However, the trails on the right side will be less steep.
Note that as you make your descent, you will likely hear the waterfall before you see it.
At the base of this downhill walk, you will reach a river that runs over flat, stone ground. This is the top of Tarzan Falls.
Keep going straight across the river to find the trail to get to the bottom of the falls and be cautious of the slippery moss-covered rocks. Look for the colorful markers among the trees to your right and follow them down another short hill to get to the base of the falls.
When you reach the bottom, take the path to your right toward the sound of the falls, which leads you to a big flat stone, which sits beneath the falls.
Congratulations, you made it!
Please note that you cannot dive into the pool below – it is only 2 to 3 feet deep. But sitting under or against the falls, or on one of the many ledges will cool you off nicely.
You may continue this hike by walking downstream either on the trail alongside the left of the river or by trekking through the water. By venturing downstream, you will run into a few smaller waterfalls, all unique in formation and size.
To return to the trailhead, retrace your footsteps back along the same path you took in.