Priest’s Pools: Seven Freshwater Pools with Waterfalls in the South of Guam
Difficulty: Very easy
Time: 5 – 10 minutes to the top of the pools, 5 minutes to the bottom pool, allow 30 minutes
Length: .6 of a mile
Elevation Gain: 40 feet staying within the first 5 pools, 120 feet all the way to the bottom (not mandatory)
Sight: Waterfalls, freshwater
Cool Stuff: Swimming, low cliff jumping, natural pools, good for sunsets, wildflowers
Overview + Views During the Dry Season
This very easy trail takes you along beautiful meadows of wildflowers, with views of the mountains and the ocean below. The sunsets here are fabulous. This is a nice place to relax in the freshwater and hang out underneath the waterfalls. There a couple pools that are even deep enough to jump into.
Tips: Explore these waterfalls and pools after a nice big rain when they are full of water!
From the North:
Take Marine Corps Drive south and turn left at the Naval Base Guam light (in Santa Rita).
Go straight for 25 minutes, passing Agat (Hågat), a large section of rolling hills, Umatac (Humåtak), and entering Merizo (Malesso’). After you see the “Welcome To Malesso” sailboat sign you will pass houses, the Merizo Pier on your right, C&J Burgers on your left, and then will see a beautiful white Catholic church (San Dimas).
Turn left up the hill just after the church. As you reach the top of the hill you will pass one street and playground on your left. Take the left after the playground (your second left).
Drive to the end of the street but DO NOT drive up the private driveway.
Park to the left, facing the beetle nut trees (trees with red, yellow, or green berry-looking clusters) & shrubs.
Begin your very short hike walking along the driveway, then going straight into the grass as the driveway veers to the right.
The Trail Guide
Follow the trail straight, to the left of the private driveway.
Just past the property, the trail will open up to a clearing. Keep going straight. The area to the left, directly behind the fence, is cleared to protect the homes from wildfires.
As the trail starts to veer to the right, you may walk through the grasses up to the large rocks on the hill to view the ocean and the valley below. Return to the trail and keep going to proceed to the pools.
Once you get to the fork, you may take any of the trails – they all go to the same place. Try the one that looks the most travelled. All the trails should start to the right, then veer to the left, down around the little hill, into a little valley.
Take a look at the beautiful plants in the meadows of this hike. During the wet season the grasses are tall and bright green. Other times of the year it can be blooming with orchids and wildflowers. Sometimes it’s a sea of white with plumes of foxtails. Sometimes it’s brown and barren after a wildfire.
When you enter the valley made between the side of a small mountain and the hill that you have just turned behind, listen quietly for the sounds of a river flowing. Keep walking on the path and after a few minutes you will discover a nice large natural pool. You may jump into this pool as long as you identify the submerged rocks to the left and jump right of them, as well as the rocks directly under the wall and jump over them into the middle of the pool. Climb in and swim around first to verify that you will be safe.
During the wet season after a large rain these waterfalls are much more active and the pools have more water. The second pool is quite small, but one can actually jump into it from the rock above. Be sure to jump straight down into the middle. If you jump too far forward, you could scrape your legs on the front rocks (especially to the left). Please climb in first to assess where to jump. This second pool is shown in the two photos below.
Please note that you cannot jump into all the pools, only the main and second pools.
You may choose to hike down, on the right side of the falls, to experience all of the pools, although the first pool is the largest. Be careful as the rock can be extremely slippery when wet.
To hike out, go back the way you came.
The church at the bottom of the hill from this hike (San Dimas Catholic Church), is on the foundation of the Spanish-era church that was built in 1672. Priests from this church took advantage of these cool, freshwater pools nearby and would use them to bathe – hence the name Priest Pools.