Trek to San Carlos Falls and Swimming Hole

San Carlos Falls Swimming Hole Guam

A dip in the refreshing water was more than enough to compensate for the long, hot hike to this remote oasis.

By Christy Sutton

We started out for San Carlos Falls with a small group of friends around noon on the last Saturday in March. A large part of the hike/walk was on paved or dirt roads/tracks. In some places, though, the trail was difficult to traverse due to steep terrain—even more difficult on a wet day.

The distance is only 3.2 miles round trip but we missed our turn off the paved road and had to backtrack. You’ll see a trail cut through the tall grass, follow the trail to a gravel/dirt road (.05 miles). Turn left, follow gravel/dirt road (.08 miles). Turn right, follow dirt tracks to paved road with a pipeline (.24 miles). Take a left, follow the road until you come to a fenced-in valve vault (.22 miles). Turn right, follow road to tower. To the right of tower is a trail that follows the ridge line to a forest of palms (.07 miles).

At the edge of the forest, you’ll drop down into a river valley. There are ropes along the trail to assist your descent. Hike downstream carefully. Some places are slick. You’ll reach the top of the waterfall first. There is a steep trail up the hillside that takes you down to a cool pool at the bottom.

To find the swimming hole, head down stream. When you come to the end of the stream, take a right and follow the river upstream to the swimming hole.


From Agana, head south on Marine Corp. Drive (Route 1) till you reach the village of Piti. Turn left by the Veteran’s Cemetery on to Spruance Drive (Route 6). You are now heading East and up Nimitz Hill. Travel 1.7 miles up Nimitz Hill. Next you turn Right onto Larson road. As soon as you turn onto Larson Road it will dead end. A closed gate will be on your left and a field will be in front of you. Park in the field. See map below.


Length: 3.2 miles
Elevation: 540 feet down and up
Time: allow 4 hours
Terrain: rough/wet/hot


Once on our way, we walked along a ridge line through the beautiful grass covered hills of Guam.


Before long we reached a forest of palm trees. Aided by ropes, we dropped down into the river valley. Down-river we came to the top of San Carlos Falls.


A steep trail on the other side of the river took us up the hillside and down to the bottom of the falls.



Our descent to the pool was made easier with ropes but was still challenging—a slip-up may have been dangerous.



A dip in the refreshing water was more than enough to compensate for the long, hot hike to this remote oasis.



After enjoying the falls, we walked downstream and then up another river to a swimming hole. The river was full of algae and slick to walk through but not far. I imagine this second pool would have been more beautiful if the river had been running a little heavier. It was lovely nonetheless—not to mention there is a rope swing.

We went back the way we came and ended our day at Mermaid Tavern & Grille. So, there was a cool, refreshing swim at the end of the first leg and a quenching, cold beer at the end of the second leg. Can’t beat that!


SOURCES: & The Best Tracks on Guam, A Guide to the Hiking Trails, Third Edition by Dave and Bev Lotz

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