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Spots on The Rock

Two waterfalls, twice the adventure

Alutom and Upper Sigua Falls flow in an isolated island valley

  • 3 min to read

Atop the alluring hills of Mount Alutom, adventures as far as the eye can see await in the vast, vibrant jungles and mesmerizing clay mesas of central Guam.

Trek to a tropical slice of paradise hidden in the humble foothills beyond Nimitz Hill by descending the rocky hillside with breathtaking views all around.

Alutom Falls and Upper Sigua Falls, our two dreamy destinations, are a couple of wonderful waterfalls flowing along the Sigua River, feeding a lush, isolated island valley.

Proceed with caution

Before you begin, there are three cautionary items to consider:

1. The residential area you will drive past and park near is a quiet, private community in Nimitz Hill. Please keep the peace and respect landowners and their property.

2. The area you will briefly trek through is shared between off-roaders and firearms enthusiasts. The gunfire, which is legal in this area if the shooter is carrying a firearms ID, is a potential hazard for hikers. Proceed with caution and at your own risk.

3. This particular hike is upgraded to a rating of difficult, instead of medium, in the event of rainfall. The majority of the trail crosses over loose ground and red dirt, which becomes extremely slippery when wet.

Alutom's allure

To start, make your way back to the gravel road on the left, across nearby residences. Follow the ascending dirt path as it wends past walls of sword grass, a lone water tank and views of the island to your left and right.

Continue this short, initial walk until you reach the peak of Mount Alutom – signified by its tall radio towers and fence. Head straight past the fence line, up another short slope.

Then, traverse a muddy path lined with sword grass to your left. This trail will slowly ascend to the actual trailhead, with stunning sights to see all around. Once you've reached the top, a little to the left, jutting out is a remarkable slab of volcanic rock we fondly refer to as "the runway."

Enjoy the airy atmosphere with sweeping views of the island before heading downhill.

Beside the runway, to your right, find the narrow, beaten path that descends through the valley. Proceed downhill with caution, carefully choosing your steps over the loose ground.

Note, this singular trail will, for the most part, lead hikers all the way to the two waterfalls. Continue on the straightforward path as it travels up and down a couple of hills.

There will be a few meandering social paths along the way, but each should lead to the same point. In any case, look out for the few faded tags adorning tree branches that show the way.

About 20 minutes into the hike, and after descending multiple hills, you will come to a fork just before descending one last hill. Carefully climb down the steep trail to your left, and follow the paths from there.

Cooling off at Alutom Falls

Nearing the jungle kingdom that was once a far sight, you'll breeze through a brief patch of thick brush before coming between another fork with a grove of pandanus trees in front. You should be able to hear the waterfalls crashing nearby.

Head to Alutom Falls first by taking a right, which requires scrambling up a narrow path directly under a pandanus tree. Abruptly turn right, ascending a short, steep slope. From there, a prickly path through jungle ferns will lead to Alutom Falls. You made it!

Alutom Falls is relatively small at roughly 20 feet, and is but a trickle during the dry season. However, compared to the next waterfall, this waterfall has a decent swimming pool you can use to cool down, and is about 6 feet at its deepest.

Just a couple of minutes downstream flows the more impressive Upper Sigua Falls. To get there, retrace your steps to the pandanus tree fork, and this time, turn left and traverse another overgrown bed of ferns.

Be careful not to venture too far, and look for the not-so-noticeable path to your right, which will lead to the top of the falls.

A long way down

Once you stumble upon the summit, give your best Tarzan yodel and yahoo as you gaze over the majestic coconut palm paradise ahead, a glowing gem with rolling green hills and tropical groves galore.

The small trickling stream at your feet feeds the rushing falls below. So, how to get to the bottom? It's a long way down. If traveling with children and pets, keep them in tow, especially on this descent.

Take a breather before heading down. When you're ready, cross the top of the falls to the other side, and find the faint trail that heads toward the jungle.

From here, follow the narrow, steep path down the hillside, and be sure to avail of the provided rope and nearby tree trunks as handholds. Be careful not to slip and slide, as the ground can get slick and slippery.

About midway down the steep slope is where some hikers might notice an old path that leads left into brush. Do not go there.

Continue straight away, and in a minute, you should be at the base of Upper Sigua Falls. You made it! Again!

Refresh and recalibrate

Cross the rocky stream and settle down near the falls. Take a relaxing shower underneath the rushing water, and cool down in the convenient shade behind it.

There isn't much of a pool to swim in here, let alone to take a dip, but the rain-like drop of the falls is more than enough to refresh and recalibrate after your trying jungle journey.

If you're feeling extra adventurous, check out the pools downstream by following the Sigua River as far as your heart desires. But if you're beat and blue, call it a day and bid your wonderful waterfall paradise adieu.

To return to your car, simply retrace your steps up the jungle valley, and then up the mountain.

Happy hiking!

Reporter

The Scoop coordinator, Spots on The Rock columnist and Life documenter. Email: tihu@postguam.com. Follow Tihu on Twitter and Instagram at @tihualujan.

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