Manoa Falls is one of Oahu’s most loved and trafficked hikes. The relatively short trail takes visitors up roughly three quarters of a mile to a stunning 150-foot waterfall.
While the destination is certainly stunning, the journey is also worthwhile. The Manoa Falls trail takes hikers through a lush rainforest that truly feels like another world. This rainforest is only possible though because of frequent showers. Be prepared for the possibility of a light drizzle or heavy rain. It might be muddy and slippery. Wear solid hiking boots and possibly bring a light rain poncho.
The Manoa Falls hike itself is usually rated as “easy,” though it’s only recommended for able-bodied people who are comfortable hiking uphill for at least 45 minutes. There are built-in stairs for steeper sections and these can be slick in wet conditions. Some sections of trail have tree roots that can create stumbling blocks so be sure to watch your footing
At the falls, do not cross marked boundaries to swim under the waterfall. There may be falling rocks and the waterfall itself is prone to surges in intensity. It may seem like a peaceful swim, but in reality, it can be very dangerous.
This family-friendly trail is great for kids and pets to join, as long as proper safety precautions are met, and all parties stay on the marked trail.
- Bring Water
- Wear proper hiking footwear as the trail can be slightly steep and rocky.
- Wear mosquito repellent.
- Observe all trail signs and stay on the marked trail.
- Check the state of Hawaii’s trail website for additional information.
- Trail is 1.6 miles round trip
Directions: Take McCully Street out of Waikiki and turn right onto Kapiolani Boulevard. Turn left at University Avenue. Follow University Avenue as it turns into Oahu Avenue. At a five-point intersection, veer right onto Manoa Road. After passing Waakaua Street, find free parking along the final residential stretch of the street. It’s a .4 mile walk to the trailhead. Otherwise, continue driving along Manoa Road and follow the signs for $5 parking on the right hand side. After parking, continue following the road toward the mountain. At a fork, veer right toward a fence with signs marking the Manoa Falls trailhead.
Photos and text by Julie Yaste