Five family-friendly hiking spots on Guam
Finding adventurous things to do on Guam involving the entire family can be a challenge, but if you’re willing to get the heart pumping faster with a nice nature walk up and down minor hills, which may or may not get some mud in your shoes, then try hiking some relatively short but scenic trails. Guam has many hidden treasures that aren’t so deep and far into the jungle as many have dreaded. Here are some top spots that you can hike to which won’t take up the whole day, but a couple of hours or more. The average time it takes to get to these hiking spots ranges from 10 to 30 minutes.
1. FONTE DAM
Built in 1910 to supply water to the capitol city of Hagatna. It is a picturesque sight when the water streams down the red brick wall. And the rope that runs down the length of the dam provides an added activity. You and your kids can choose to negotiate the rope going down or up. Shallow waters do not give much swimming room, but wading in the water can help cool you off on a hot humid day.
- Location: Nimitz Hill Historical Trail across ComNavMarianas bldg.
- Duration: (2 hours ) 30-40 minutes to dam
- Level of Ease: Easy, but may be slippery during rainy season
- Driving Directions: Heading southbound, to Asan, turn left across the intersection of the Governor’s Complex at Adelup and drive uphill towards Nimitz Hill. Keep driving until you pass the Fonte Plateau on your right, and you may park your car on the parking lot outside the Comnavmarianas gates, and head towards the sign that says Historical Trail across the road, or you can drive down the hill following the power poles until you reach two chain posts and you can park on the side.
- Hiking Directions: Follow a series of power poles that run down and through a valley.
After a couple hundred yards or more, look to your left to find a small carved stone where the words “Fonte Dam” is engraved.
The stone marks the entrance to the beaten path that will take you to the dam. After a few yards, the path diverges into two. You may choose either one, since it will merge into one again.
Follow fluorescent ribbons tied to branches that help you stay on the right path. Hold on to branches as you descend down the gullies to avoid slipping, but be careful not to let twigs and branches snap or fling back at hikers behind you.
Use the rope and watch your footing as you tread down the slippery banks. You know you are almost there when you can hear the rushing sound of water.
- Best Time to Go: During the rainy season months from June to January or after hard rain, the river water level will be higher and you will be able to see a waterfall streaming down the red brick wall of the dam.
2. 1001 STEPS
Flights of stairs were built to allow access to the bottom of the cliff where another marked path takes you towards rocky shores boasting a beautiful view of the eastern clifflines of Guam and the Pacific Ocean. The trail is not one long stair case, but a series of paths and stairs.
- Location: Back road to Anderson, Taguan Vista, adjacent to Mangilao Golf Course
- Duration: (2 hours) 20-30 minutes to the bottom of the steps
- Level of Ease: Medium for steep steps.
- Driving Directions: If heading southbound in Mangilao on the back road of Anderson, make a left turn on the road right before the fence of the Mangilao Golf Course. Follow paved road straight down. Continue on to the dirt road at the end of paved road, and it will take you to a paved parking lot area for Taguan Point.
- Hiking Directions: Follow the perimeter of the fence until you see railings.
Take the stairs down and follow the dirt path as the flight of stairs end.
Observe the limestone forest all around, wild coffee bean plants and coconut crab traps.
Observe the remains of cycad trees locally known as Fadang. These ancient plants are on the brink of extinction on Guam as 90% of its population has been attacked by beetles that dig deep into the plant. Once flourishing all over the jungles of Guam, today, it is rare to see one unharmed, and alive in the wild.
As you reach the bottom of the last flight of stairs, head straight towards the rocky shore path marked by a ribbon on a local pine tree branch. Carefully walk on top of the limestone corals.
- Best Time to Go: Around 9 a.m to 11:00 a.m. there have been sightings of dolphins swimming by. The trees provide a nice canopy that protects you from the heat, but should it rain have a firmer grip on the railings as the stairs are steep.
3. MASSO RESERVOIR
First used by the Navy as their main water supply but was shut down after sedimentation became a recurring problem. Major efforts have been taken to preserve the reservoir, which is an actual watershed that feeds into nearby river outlets. About 3,000 native and acacia trees were planted around the hillside areas to prevent mud caused by erosion from flowing out to the rivers and smothering coral reefs. Rock perch fish from a nearby estuary and tilapia were animal populations added into this flourishing ecosystem. Families can come and fish on a floating platform, or go on a nature trail that is well marked. You can make fishing poles with Bamboo reeds found growing alongside the nature trail.
- Location: Piti, across Jose Rios Middle School, adjacent to the Veteran’s Cemetery
- Duration: (1 hour) 10-15 minute nature trail. Add time for fishing.
- Level of Ease: Easy
- Driving Directions: Head southbound on Marine Corps. Drive to Piti. Turn left at the stoplight in front of the Veteran’s cemetery. Turn right at the end of the Cemetery fence, and take the dirt road in. Park on the left side clearing where you can see the floating platform/deck.
- Hiking Directions: As you exit the fishing platform take a left to the wide path. After several feet you will see a trail to the left. Continue on past the small bridge.
A trail leading to the left will take you to the back edge of the reservoir and the trail leading to the right will take you uphill.
- Best Time to Go: Any time of the day. The fish are always biting. If you keep the noise down, look out into the backside of the reservoir, you may see the Guam Moorhen, a rare native bird that looks like a miniature hen with a bright yellow beak and red crown, swimming around with her chicks.
4. SPANISH STEPS (Military Base Access)
Remnants of stairs, built during the Spanish era on Guam, guide you down the cliff. You will also be able to see a Spanish Well. The trail diverges into two paths as you reach the bottom. The trail on the left will lead you to a lagoon, which is a beautiful place to snorkel and see an abundance of fish life and live coral. The trail on the right will lead you to a beach overlooking Apra Harbor.
- Location: Orote Point, Sumay, Naval Station
- Duration: (3 hours) 30 minutes to the lagoon and beach, add time if snorkeling. Must leave site by 5:00 p.m.
- Level of Ease: Easy
- Driving Directions: After checking-in at the main gate, take the main road all the way down. Turn left at the end of the road after passing the site indicating remnants of the Guadalupe church. You will reach an elbow on the road that will lead into a long stretch. Continue driving until you see the sign on the right, Orote Point Lookout. Turn right and park in the clearing.
- Use the rope to help you traverse the steep and rocky descent
- The path will eventually have level ground.
- As you reach the bottom, walk a little further out, you will see the Spanish Well.
- Follow the trail to the right to the beach
- Along the trail you may see fallen coconut leave branches teeming with large hermit crabs.
- Depending on the tide, you can walk to the lagoon beach side, or you can return to the trail that will lead you to the lagoon.
- Best Time to Go: If you have military base access or you are sponsored in, you can do this hike as long as the area is not closed off. Call the Naval Station MWR office at 333-2249 for more information about the site.
5. DEVIL'S PUNCH BOWL
A sinkhole hidden in plain sight right in Tumon. Described as a fishbowl-like hole with an opening of about 20 meters wide and about 30 meters deep. A fence borders the front perimeter of the site, but take extreme care when walking towards the enormous sinkhole. The only protection from falling into the hole are the tantangan trees grown along the edge.
- Location: Tumon, adjacent to the entrance of Hilton hotel.
- Duration: (30 minutes) 10-15 minutes to the site.
- Level of Ease: Easy
- Driving Directions: Park at Ypao Beach parking lot closest to Hilton hotel.
- Follow the sidewalk that takes you uphill on the right side heading out of Hilton hotel.
- As you walk uphill, look for the stairs on the right.
- At the end of the stairs, you will see a gate. If unlocked, you may enter.
- There will be a clear path heading straight for the sinkhole
Parents or adults should carefully check area first and bring a rope to use as a safety barrier from getting too close to the hole.
After leaving the site, spend the rest of the day swimming at Ypao beach.
- Best Time to Go: During the day time, and when there is no rain. Wet conditions will make the site extremely hazardous.
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