Manoa Falls Trail, Oahu Hawaii

UPDATE: After closures due to improvements, the Manoa Falls trail reopens June 5, 2021 per a Hawaii DLNR post.

Manoa Falls

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.

base of manoa 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 Oahu additional information.

Manoa Falls TrailTo 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.

  1. OMG! Sheila, I had no idea it was so beautiful up there! I ran the slide show of all the pics. So beautiful and you caught one of the birds I never see too! Tell the GoVisitHawaii photographer that he deserves a raise. 🙂

    Yeah, yet another place I haven’t been to. Shame on me! Love it!

  2. @ Stefan – yes it is wonderful! Glad you’ve enjoyed the hike, too.

    @ Evelyn – hehe…I’ll tell the photographer. 🙂 The next time you have a couple hours free, maybe you could check out how pretty it is in person.

  3. We hiked this as well. It was a good little hike but you definately want to wear the proper shoes. I was wearing so old sneakers however my husband decided that his sandal’s would be ok to wear. That was a really bad idea because the bath was really muddy. There is rocks along the way and it was really slippery.

    I also wanted to comment that it was hard to get to. We got lost getting there and had to ask for directions. A couple of people didn’t know where it was at, even though they lived around the area.

    Oh yeah and take a walking stick – even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it’s helpful if it’s muddy so you don’t slip.

  4. @ Lindsay – we also got lost. That’s why I provide a nearby street address in case it helps others.

    Would you believe that we had our hiking poles with us… the truck of the car! Doh!! We really could have used those on this hike.

    Thanks for your comment!

  5. One thing I would add–this is definitely a hike where you get more enjoyment out of the hiking than the final destination. Take in all the forest has to offer on your way to the falls, which were somewhat disappointing on the day we were there (dry spell?). Certainly doable even for those who aren’t in shape as well.

    1. ALS – that’s too bad that the falls weren’t “on” We were recently on the Big Island visiting Rainbow Falls, which we’ve seen when it had a good flow. This last time it barely had a trickle.

      I agree with you that the journey on Monoa Falls trail is very enjoyable.

        1. We really don’t know. It’s not an overly difficult hike, but also not super easy either. If it’s muddy, you need to be careful with your footing.

    1. As best I can remember between two and three hours. It depends on how muddy the trail is and how many times you stop to look at the surroundings.

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