UPDATE: The state is making improvements to the popular Manoa Falls Trail on Oahu. The trail will be closed on an intermittent basis. Per a DLNR Facebook post:
“Unless there’s a flash flood warning, the trail will remain open until Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.
Starting Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, it is anticipated that the trail will be closed weekdays only for up to three months.”
A hike to Manoa Falls is a tropical rainforest treat to see and hear. The trail wanders along a trickling brook through a thick green forest. It’s almost like hiking through a spa with the soothing sounds of the brook and birds. Then, as you approach the base of this majestic 100-foot waterfall, you hear the water cascading even before you see the falls.
The trail to Manoa Falls is only 0.8 miles long (1.6 miles round-trip) and has a gentle slope. Depending on the amount of rain, the trail can be muddy. I felt bad for the folks who were wearing new-looking white, shoes that were covered in muddy stains.
Here’s advice for hiking this trail:
- Wear proper hiking footwear as the trail can be slightly steep, rocky, and muddy at points. We saw a person hiking in flip flops who fell to the ground very hard.
- Wear mosquito repellant.
- Bring water.
- Note that it is not recommended that you swim or drink the water at the creek or waterfall pool as there is a danger for exposure to leptapirosis, a bacteria.
- Observe all trail signs and stay on the marked trail.
- I’d rate the trail difficulty somewhere between easy and intermediate.
- The flow of the waterfall depends upon rainfall. If you are visiting in July, August or September — which are months with some of the least rainfall — you might want to check to see how much rainfall has recently fallen before hitting the trail.
- Check the state of Hawaii’s trail website for additional information.
To get to the Manoa Falls trail head, drive to the end of Manoa Road. Note that Manoa Road splits into Manoa Road and East Manoa Road, stay to the left on Manoa Road at that split. On this Google map, you’ll see the end of Manoa Road. If you want to find and print online directions, then use the address of the nearby Lyon Arboretum at 3860 Manoa Road in Honolulu.
We chose to park our car in the parking lot just a few steps to the trail head The fee for parking there was $5. Please note that this fee may have changed. The attendant gave us a trail map and answered our questions about the hike. We did try to avoid this fee, but there were tons of no parking signs around.
The contrast from the busy streets of Honolulu to the relaxing, green path through a tropical rainforest is an amazing experience. We recommend this hike as part of our list of the top things to see and do on Oahu.
See all of our photos from this hike.