The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Jan 13, 2020


  • Things To Do in Manoa Falls
  • Best Time to Hike
  • Tips Before Going
  • Key Information
  • How to Get to the Manoa Falls?
  • Attractions Nearby
  • Conclusion
The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Standing as tall as 150-feet, Manoa Falls is situated in Manoa Falls Trail in the Honolulu area in Oahu, Hawaii. The waterfall and the area surrounding it are incredibly beautiful and attract many people who visit Honolulu. Nestled snugly in the Koolau mountains, it is surrounded by a tropical rainforest that houses many rare species of plants. The grounds surrounding the waterfall are often muddy and damp as the area experiences heavy rainfall.

The Manoa Falls trail is pretty walkable, so for those who are not too keen on a challenging hike, don’t feel discouraged. Almost anyone can make this journey. If you are visiting with the kids, rest assured in knowing that they will be able to hike along these paths with ease.

Due to the beauty of the tropical rainforest, walking along the trail will make you feel like you are in a completely different world. It is a great way to leave the hustle and bustle of daily urban life behind for a little while and get back into nature. Feel the earthy vibes and enjoy the simple pleasures of the natural world by taking the time out to visit Manoa Falls.

The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Things To Do in Manoa Falls

1. Take the Manoa Falls trail

Beginning at the top of Manoa Road, the Manoa Falls trail is one of the well-maintained mountain trails in Oahu. Tourist buses would once bring visitors here to stop for lunch and get in a bit of bird watching. There is a sign that signifies the start of the trail and leads to a bridge. Once you have crossed over, you will start your slow hike along the scenic sides of the rainforest valley.

2. Go hiking

Although reaching Manoa Falls themselves is sure to be on your mind, it is always a good idea to enjoy the journey along the way. You will find several interesting things on this jungle-like trail. It is one of the best trails to start your hiking adventures on. The debris that usually forms in areas like this has been cleared away to ensure better hiking experiences.

3. Enjoy the scenery

With tall trees providing shade from the hot Hawaiian sun, you will be able to bask in the scent and sight of eucalyptus trees at the beginning of the trail. A little further along on the trail, you will also be able to see old banyan trees with their gnarly roots and branches spreading out over an expanse. Banyan trees are not native to Hawaii but were imported to the Islands from India as a gift. You will also see many tropical flowers growing in the area that are extremely beautiful. You can also enjoy the sight of a bamboo grove further along the trail.

The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Photo: instagram@frankduenasduenas

The iconic scenes you encounter on this trail may seem familiar to some. So breathtakingly beautiful and otherworldly does it seem that the makers of Jurassic Park felt that it would make the perfect spot to film their Jurassic Island scenes. Even the show Lost could not resist filming at this location. Once you begin the hike that goes uphill, you will be met with a panoramic view of the lush green Manoa Valley that is covered in a blanket of mist. It is no wonder that filmmakers choose this spot to take you to another place and time.

When you finally reach the Manoa Falls, you will be amazed at how beautiful it is. The falls seem so much higher than the 150 feet that it is. Looking up at it will give you the impression that it is endless, and you can’t help but be mesmerized by the cascading water falling from a great height, flowing down over the rocks.

The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Best Time to Hike

Whenever you visit a place, it is always important to know the weather conditions so that you can get the most out of your trip. Hawaii is a great place to visit if you want a relaxing time, but it is also a great pick for some adventures. While surfing and having a few beach days is great, you should not leave hiking out of your holiday itinerary. Manoa Falls is a mere 15 minutes from Waikiki, but it offers up one of the most beautiful hiking trails around. When visiting a waterfall, the best time to visit is always during the summer months. The waterfalls are not quite as full as they during the monsoons at this time, but they are safer to be around.

The best time to go hiking around Manoa Falls is from June to November. The trails are much safer at this time as the area is prone to landslides during the rainy season. There will always be warning signs available if there is anything to worry about, but visiting the falls during the proper season is essential if you want to have a safe trip to the falls and back.

Weekdays are a better choice for you if you want to avoid large crowds of people making the hike. You should also try to go either during the early hours of the day or the late afternoon.Click and check the discounted ticket.

The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Tips Before Going

As with most waterfalls, the trails around the area tend to be muddy. Manoa Valley is known for receiving the most rainfall in the entire region of Oahu. It is best to have a waterproof jacket while hiking on this trail.

Since its Hawaii, most people prefer to walk around in flip flops or a pair of beach sandals. Manoa Falls is pretty different from the sand and surf that most people associate with Hawaii. You can carry your beach-worthy footwear in a bag, but when going along the actual hiking trail, you should wear shoes meant for hiking or anything that is closed and has good grip.

Tropical areas often come with the bane of many mosquitoes. Manoa Falls is surrounded by tropical rainforest, and there are plenty of mosquitoes in the area. Carry a mosquito repellent to avoid getting bit.

Bottled water is important, so make sure to carry some with you as well.

Considering the beauty of Manoa Falls and the fact that the famous Jurassic Park and TV series, Lost, was filmed in the area, you are most likely going to want to take a lot of pictures. Since it can get pretty wet in the area, you should make sure to carry a waterproof camera case to keep your camera safe from getting drenched during the times you aren’t using it.

Bring a pair of comfortable flip flops or sandals and a bag to put your muddy clothes and shoes into once the hike is done. You can even pack a towel in case you end up getting too close to the falls and need to dry off.

While swimming was once allowed in the pool beneath the falls, but swimming has been discouraged since a rock slide that took place in 2002 has made the waters pretty treacherous. Not only that, but there is a threat of contracting Leptospirosis since there are bacteria in the water.

The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Key Information

Manoa Falls is located at the top of Manoa Road, off the H-1 freeway. It is open from eight in the morning to seven in the evening, and there is no entry fee to go hiking at Manoa Falls. If you want to book a guided tour, however, you may have to pay a fee. There are different tours available, some even including pick up and drop so you won’t need to worry about travel charges or getting lost on the way.

Tours are sometimes preferable if you want to enjoy the sights without the worry of losing your way. You can also learn a lot about the tropical plants since the guides are often well knowledgeable about the various plants that grow in the area.

How to Get to the Manoa Falls?

If you have rented a vehicle, you will be able to reach the Manoa Falls trail pretty easily as it is only 15 minutes away from Waikiki. You will need to get out of Waikiki by taking McCully Street and then make a left turn at University Avenue. University Avenue will turn onto Oahu Avenue, so follow that route.

There will be a five-point intersection, at which you will need to keep to your right and turn onto Manoa Road. Once you pass Waakaua Street, you will be able to find free parking if you park along the residential street. You will have to do a bit of walking to reach the spot. If you would prefer to park closer to the falls, you can find a parking lot where you will need to pay a parking fee of $5 — Head towards the road that leads towards the mountain and then take a right turn. You will find a fence with signs marking the beginning of the trail.

If you don’t have your vehicle, you can take bus no. 5 from Ala Moana Shopping Centre and get off at the last stop. You can even opt for traveling by uber or taxi.

Attractions Nearby

If hiking along Manoa Falls is not enough activity for you for a day, you can also make sure to check out some of the other attractions that are close by. You can drop by the Ala Moana Beach Park as it has many different kinds of activities that will suit every different type of need. This particular beach is covered in beautiful, soft white sand. There are lovely trees that offer you shade and picnic tables to enjoy a meal in this calm environment. It is a lovely spot to picnic at to rest after having expended some of your energy on the Manoa Falls trail. After having rested, you can enjoy the grass in the parking area, and try out the tennis court if you know how to play.

If you have come with children, the Magic Island’s crescent beach has some lovely calm waters that you can take a quick dip into with the family. While there are no drop-offs, you should still keep a close eye on the young ones.

The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls

Iolani Palace is another place that is great to stop by after you have completed your hike around Manoa Falls. It is a place filled with the history of the Hawaiian royalty and holds history of good times and the bad. At the palace, you will get to walk through the very same halls that the kings and queens once walked through themselves. Hawaiian culture is rich, and the grand balls that were once held there were a thing of beauty. The memories of these still echo throughout the palace.

You will even be able to see the very bedroom that Queen Liliuokalani was imprisoned in after an unsuccessful attempt was made by her to restore the power to the royal family. She was tried in the very throne room that she and her family once ruled from.

The Best Trail in Honolulu: Manoa Falls


Manoa Falls is one of the most famous falls to visit when in the Waikiki area due to its proximity. Despite Hawaii’s worldwide association with beaches, this area is surrounded by dense tropical rainforest. Visiting will make you feel like you have somehow stepped into a completely different world. It won’t feel much like Hawaii but rather gives off the vibes of a faraway jungle. This made it perfect for filming movies and TV shows that require the setting to seem like it is somewhere far away from the rest of civilization.

The hiking trail is pretty easy and is not as strenuous as many of the other hiking trails available in Hawaii. There are no life-threatening drop-offs to worry about, so if you want to give your kids a good hiking experience, this would be the place to bring them along. Even those who suffer from ailments, such as weak knees will be able to make this hike without too many problems.

Although the rainforest setting provides you ample photo opportunities and the chance to see rare tropical plants in their natural habitat, you should keep in mind that you will need to wear the right clothes and shoes to be able to make this hike with ease. Also, carry some mosquito repellent and water.

If you are a fan of ghost stories, it may interest you to know that this area is said to be the place where Night Marchers often make their journey. Night Marchers are said to be the spirits of Hawaiian warriors of old. Some even claim to have heard the scream of a banshee along these paths.

Manoa Falls has something to interest everyone, so clear out a few hours in a day to make this trip. You won’t regret getting the opportunity to spend some time in one of the most filmed rainforest settings in America.

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