Information about the Manoa Waterfall in Honolulu,
including a description of the falls, where it
is located, how to drive there, the trail to
the falls, and potential dangers in that area.
About the Manoa Falls
The Manoa Falls are located in the Manoa Valley
at the base of the Koolau Mountains on the Honolulu
side. The waterfall has two water drops, and
different reports say it is anywhere from 90 to
150 feet tall.
About the Trail ot the Manoa Falls
The Manoa Falls trail is less then a mile in length
and the hike typically takes about two hours round trip. It
is a point to point trail so after you reach the falls you will
turn around and hike back on the same way.
The trail to the falls winds through a tropical rainforest full of
giant ferns, wild ginger, guava trees, and bamboo groves.
This hike is often muddy and slippery because the Manoa Valley
gets a lot of rain. It is not a difficult hike, but on
some parts of the trail you will be walking on
boulders and tree roots, so wear shoes with firm soles and
take care not to slip in those areas. Much of the trail is uphill
when you are hiking toward the falls.
The trail runs along a stream the entire time, so keep that
in mind if you are not sure in which direction to walk.
The stream will always be on your right. The Manoa Falls are
are the end of the trail.
The size and power of the flow varies
depending on the rain conditions.
How to Get There
From Waikiki, take Ala Wai Boulevard to McCully, to
Metcalf Street, to University Avenue. Turn left onto
University Avenue. Drive past the University of Hawaii.
(somehow from here you want to get to Manoa Road).
Walk to the end of the road and follow the path
to the right that leads over a small footbridge. This
area is the trailhead for three different trails
The Manoa Falls Trail, the Luaalaea Trail,
and the Aihualama Trail.
Where to Park
You can usually park on the street at the end of Manoa Valley Drive
but some people don't recommend it, because while the Manoa Valley
is a very safe area, any parking lot frequented by tourists is a
target for people looking for cars to break into. If you don't want
to park at the dead end area, you can pay a small amount to park
in the Lyon Aboretum lot (ask at their gift shop), or you can park
farther away in the neighborhood and walk to the trail.
You use to be able to park in the lot for the now closed Paradise
Park, but I don't think that is an option any more.
What to Bring
Bug repellant, sunscreen lotion, drinking water,
and shoes with firm, non-slippery soles that are
suitable for hiking. Also bring a light rain pancho if
you are concerned about getting wet if it rains
(it rains frequently in the Manoa Valley).
When you are viewing the falls, be on the lookout for
rocks and boulders falling from above, especially after
a heavy rain. It's best to avoid hiking this trail immediately
after a hard rain, because of falling rocks and because
the trail footing can be muddy and slippery when wet and
the stream can get very full after a hard rain.
On the other hand, the waterfall is most impressive
after a hard rain. Get advice from local experts
before you decide to hike to the Manoa Falls when it's
raining or after a hard rain. The area can be hot and
humid so bring plenty of water.
Can You Swim Under the Falls?
Some travel guides recommend swimming in the
cold and refreshing pool at the bottom of the the falls
but some say the water in the stream and in the pool
under the waterfall is infected with the
leptospirosis bacteria. Again, ask the local experts
if it is OK to swim under the falls. If you do decide
to swim, keep a lookout for boulders falling from above.
The Trail Was in a Jurrasic Park Movie
The Manoa Valley Trail was featured in the Steven
The Lost World: Jurrasic Park".
The Stream Along the Trail
Some articles about this trail refer to it
as the Manoa Stream, some call it the Waihi Stream,
and some call it the Aihualama Stream, so I am not
sure which name is the most correct.
From Other Web Sites
Article About the Manoa Falls - by Jenny Lee
Tour Firm Faces Fine for Manoa Falls Hike
Hawaii Web - Manoa Falls
Local Hikes - Manoa Falls
Backyard Oahu - Manoa Falls Trail
The Manoa Valley
Activities on Oahu
Oahu Island - Main Menu
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors