Waterfall in Honolulu

Manoa Falls

Explore the accessible Manoa Falls trail through Oahu's lush rainforest, discover native plants and birds, and learn the valley's history.

Manoa Falls is a scenic waterfall nestled in the lush Manoa Valley on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Surrounded by a dense rainforest, the trail to the falls provides hikers with an accessible adventure through a tropical landscape, complete with bamboo groves and native plant species. The 150-foot waterfall ends in a small pool and is a popular spot for visitors looking to experience the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Just a short drive from downtown Honolulu, Manoa Falls offers an easy escape to one of Oahu’s charming natural attractions.

Hiking to Manoa Falls

Trail Information

The journey to Manoa Falls is primarily taken via a well-maintained 1.6-mile round trip trail, starting at the end of Manoa Road. Appropriate for most ages and skill levels, the hike is considered moderate due to occasional muddy patches and uneven terrain. Hikers are advised to wear proper footwear and be cautious, especially during or after rain.

Flora and Fauna

The path winds through a vibrant rainforest, home to a variety of native Hawaiian plant species and towering eucalyptus trees. Birdwatchers may spot endemic birds such as the Apapane or the Amakihi along the trail. The ecosystem here is delicate, so visitors are encouraged to stay on marked paths to protect the wildlife and plant life.

The History of Manoa Valley

Cultural Significance

Long before it became a nature-lover's retreat, Manoa Valley held significant agricultural and spiritual value for Native Hawaiians. Ancient Hawaiians cultivated taro in the fertile lands of the valley and considered the area sacred. Informational signs along the trail provide insight into the traditional uses of various plants and the historical importance of the valley.

Visitor Guidelines and Safety

Environmental Impact and Respect

Maintaining the integrity of Manoa Falls and its surroundings is crucial. Visitors should refrain from swimming in the pool at the waterfall's base, as it may contain leptospirosis bacteria. Additionally, visitors need to carry out what they bring in, leaving no trace behind to preserve the site for future generations.

Trailhead Amenities

Near the beginning of the trail, there are restrooms and a small concession stand where hikers can purchase refreshments or rent umbrellas. There is also a parking lot with an attendant; however, parking comes with a fee, so having cash on hand is wise.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Weather Considerations

Manoa Valley is known for its frequent rain showers that contribute to the lush environment but can make the trail to Manoa Falls slippery. The wettest months are November through March, while April through October provides drier conditions, making it an ideal time for a visit. Regardless of the season, it is advised to check the weather before embarking on your hike.

Impact of Tourism

Sustainable Visitation

The popularity of Manoa Falls has led to concerns about over-tourism. Efforts are in place to limit environmental degradation, including regulated trail access and ongoing conservation projects. Visitors play a role in these efforts by respecting restricted areas and following the guidelines for responsible visitation.

Nearby Attractions and Activities

Lyon Arboretum

Just a short walk from the trailhead to Manoa Falls, Lyon Arboretum offers another opportunity for nature enthusiasts to explore Hawaiian flora. This research facility and garden showcases tropical plants in a serene setting and provides additional walking trails.

Manoa Heritage Center

For those interested in cultural history, the nearby Manoa Heritage Center features a preserved ancient Hawaiian heiau (stone temple) and a historic home, offering guided tours that enrich knowledge of Hawaii's past.

Getting Around

The easiest way to reach Manoa Falls is via car from Honolulu; however, public transport options are also available. TheBus offers routes that stop near the entrance to the Manoa Falls trail. Parking space is limited at the site, so arriving early or using public transportation can be advantageous.

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