Merizo Priest Pools Hike - Best Hikes in Guam USA
The Priest Pools in Merizo
The Priest Pools are a local treasure in Merizo, and the trail leading to them is probably the easiest hike in all of Guam. Named for the Spanish colonial priests that used to bathe in the cool waters, the pools are still a refreshing spot today. Less than 15 minutes of walking with surprisingly nice views and the chance to indulge in a little swim make the Priest Pools a great hike if you're looking to escape Guam's commercial areas for the afternoon.
Finding the Priest Pools
The Priest Pools hike is a little out of the way, down along the southern loop of the island. It is easy to find, but you may very well think you're in the wrong place once you arrive! Just trust that you got the directions right and remember that Guam is not as structured and up tight as the mainland USA. Yes, you have to park in someone's neighborhood, but that's ok.
Have you visited the Priest Pools?
Directions to the Priest Pools
To get to the Priest Pools hike, follow 4 down the southern loop towards Ulmatec. The pools are actually in the next village south, Merizo. The Priest Pools should be on your tourist map, and the Merizo bell tower most certainly will be! If you're coming south on 4, you'll see the bell tower on your right, a small religious-looking park just after the tower, and a big white church on the left. This church is San Dimas and is shown on the map below. There is a road leading up the hill/past the church to the left. All of these landmarks are shown in the photos below the map!
Take 4 South and take a left up the hill next to San Dimas Church
Take the left at the church and then take the second available left that is a street and not a driveway. If you pass the school and library, you've gone a little bit too far and need to turn around. This second road will basically dead end. There isn't a culdesac, but the road is a little wider at the end, suggesting some sort of parking area. Park here, make sure your valuables are secured out of sight, and you're ready to get hiking! The picture below shows this parking area.
Basically, you just walk between two residential properties in order to begin the trail. The trail should be fairly clear and easy to spot. Just check out my photos below to see what I mean.
The Priest Pools Hike
here are a couple of different ways to get to the pools, but I advise skipping the area that opens up to your right and taking the second right down the hill, instead. Within 10-15 minutes, you should arrive the Priest Pools. Make sure to stick to the path if you want to avoid being cut by sword grass.
The pools are far more full after a rain, but I understand that they fill up quickly and can become treacherous in a few minutes, so make sure to keep on eye on the weather! The top most pool wasn't that impressive the day these photos were taken, but the lower pools are much deeper. They are also a lot deeper after a rain, and the water gushes instead of trickles - these photos are from the middle of the dry season. The rocks in the pools are both slippery and sharp, so you may want to wear water shoes, but the water is surprisingly crisp and clear. There are beautiful views and flowers along the way, too!
Try some toe shoes - you know you're tempted! Flexible shoes like this are perfect for hikes that will involve water because they are flexible, durable, and have great traction. Besides, they're just plain fun.
This hike is short and not very steep, which makes it perfect for a family outing. The trail is cut through fields of very tall grass that manage to block the wind but offer no protection from the sun, so make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and bring along a couple bottles of water. You may also want to bring your camera - your car trip up the hill will give you some pretty nice views of the area!
Because it is a little out of the way, you might want to pair a Priest Pools hike with a visit to nearby Fort Soledad or a neighboring beach park to make the trip worth your while. Nothing on Guam is physically very far away from anything else, but the southern roads are definitely island roads with sharper turns, lower speed limits, and even a couple of one lane bridges!
Because many tourists do not venture so far afield, a trip south is a great way to experience Guam without the overwhelming bussloads of Japanese tourists. If you decide to make the Priest Pools hike, I'm confident you'll enjoy yourself and rate it as time well spent. If you have any questions about locating the trailhead, please let me know and I'll be glad to help!