Check out the cool water and views at Pagat Cave

by Debbie Smith
Stripes Guam

Boonie stomping on Guam is a favorite pastime for folks who enjoy the outdoors. Known for its refreshing underground swimming hole, Pagat Cave should be on any hiker’s list of must-do accomplishments.

The most difficult part of the hike to Pagat Cave is finding the trailhead. Approximately 6.1 miles from Ladera Towers in Mangilao, the entrance is on the right with room for parking on the left. After carefully crossing the busy road, the trail passes what sadly has become a dumping ground of car parts and worn out appliances.

Shortly after the junkyard-like grounds, the trail clears as you start to descend the 400-yard slope under a blanket of trees. The trail changes dramatically at one point to a steep grade of limestone cliffs. The cave is on the left at the bottom of the cliffs. However, most hikers, choosing to save the best for last, continue on to the scenic coastline.

Along the way, keep your eye out for several “lusongs,” or ancient Chamorro grinding stones, as well as some latte ruins. The area is the site of a Chamorro village which is thought to date back to the 17th century. Once you reach the coastline, rest on the rocks and take in the awesome views of the Pacific waves crashing onshore. When the water is calm, some bold (or dumb) hikers will jump from the cliffs.

Anticipation of the cool waters of the cave mounts on the way back to Pagat Cave. Once inside, hikers descend a small hill to reach the first shallow pool. A short, narrow walk through waist-high water leads into a large, dark cave with refreshing, clear water. The middle is deep, but there is plenty of room to sit or stand on the rocks. Bring candles, lighters or flashlights to see in the dark.

Enjoy the cool oasis from the hot tropical sun for a while, but remember that there is another climb back up the cliff.

The trail is well marked by trees attached with pink ties. Hikers should expect a three-hour trek. Hiking guides rate the route as medium on the difficulty scale. Make sure you take along plenty of water, swimsuits, water shoes, sunscreen, and a hat. Gloves are also recommended for the hike. Then experience another testimony to the beauty of Guam.

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