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Need to know


Manoa Falls


Manoa Falls is an easy hike through the jungle. The 150-foot waterfall at the end is beautiful, but the walk through the dense greenery with tropical fruits and flowers, giant ferns, and a bamboo forest is equally jaw dropping.


To be honest, it’s more of a walk than a hike and good for all ages and hiking levels. There’s a defined trail the whole way. This might be the most accessible waterfall hike in Oahu.


The lush forest is thanks to all the rain that the Manoa Valley gets year round. (FYI that also means it tends to be muddy.) The shade from the monkeypod tree canopy makes this a great hike on a hot day when you want to get out of the direct sun. 


When they reopened in June 2021, they’d added gravel to many parts of the trail, making it even easier to walk and a little less (but still a bit) muddy. 


Unsurprisingly, it’s a very popular hike that attracts a lot of visitors. If you’re looking for an intermediate / advanced (but less crowded) waterfall hike, try Ka’au Crater Trail. 



You can park for free at the Lyon Arboretum (5 min walk away) 

3860 Manoa Rd

Honolulu, HI 96822


Pay $5 to park at Paradise Park

3737 Manoa Rd,

Honolulu, HI 96822


  • Sunrise  ▭  Sundown

*They don’t recommend starting the hike after 5:30pm


Free - $

  • $5 parking fee at Paradise Park (or can park at Harold L. Lyon Arboretum for free and walk 5 minutes to the trailhead.




1.6 mi roundtrip

Time Estimate

1-2 hours depending on how much time you spend exploring all the plants and scenery. Definitely can be done in an hour.


  • Harold L. Lyon Arboretum — 5 min walk (2 min drive)

  • Off the Hook Poke — 10 min drive

  • Feast by Jon Matsubara — 10 min drive

  • Tantalus Lookout — 20 min drive

  • Waikiki — 21 min drive

Rainforest hike that winds through tropical plants, bamboo and huge palms. Takes you to a 150-foot waterfall. Just 20 min from Waikiki. Good for hikers of all levels.

Manoa Falls


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Good to know





  • Cash to pay the $5 for parking (unless you park for free at Lyon Arboretum).

  • Poncho or light rain jacket. It’s a rainforest afterall. (Although you’ll most likely find someone there selling them if you forget one.)

  • Sneakers or hiking shoes. Leave your flip flops at home (or in the car to change into afterwards). There are some slippery rocks to climb over and some slippery and muddy rocks and you don’t want to twist your ankle.

  • Wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy.

  • Change of shoes and clothes for after your hike (in case you get muddy).

  • Garbage bag to throw muddy shoes and clothes in after your hike to save your rental car deposit. 

  • Backpack or fanny pack so you can keep your hand free. The trail can be slippery at times. 



  • Restrooms near the entrance.

  • Parking: $5 to park at Paradise Park or free to park at Lyon Arboretum (a 5 min walk away).

  • Most of the trail is covered in gravel.

  • Benches along the trail.

  • Informational signs with environmental, geological and historical facts about Mānoa Valley.

  • Hoses to rinse mud off your shoes after the hike. 



  • Private Half-day Manoa Falls Hike and eBike Ride: To be honest, this hike is pretty straightforward so if you have a rental car, just go for it. If not, you may want to consider a tour that will cover transportation and then some. This one starts with an eBike ride from Waikiki through Manoa. Then you’ll hike Manoa Falls, followed by a ride through University of Hawaii’s campus and a stop at two favorite restaurants — Jon Matsubara and Off the Hook Poke Market. Your guide will give you a personalized tour along the way. 

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  • This is a rainforest, so no matter how dry or sunny it is in Honolulu, it’ll still be drizzly or raining in Manoa Valley. But, that also means there’s a good chance you’ll spot a rainbow. It’s not a bad idea to pack a poncho or at least leave a change of clothes and shoes in your car. 

  • Bug spray is a must. The rainy weather, streams, and ponds attract mosquitoes.

  • During the summer, go early to beat the heat and the crowds. 

  • If you don’t mind a 5 min walk, you can park for free at the Lyon Arboretum.

  • The tree canopy provides some shade. You can leave sunglasses and your hat behind if you like. 

  • The waterfall is beautiful year round, but more spectacular in the winter (Nov - Mar) or after a heavy rain.

  • Swimming in the falls is not allowed. In 2020 they even built a rock wall surrounding the waterfall viewing area. 

  • Not so fun fact: It’s not a good idea to swim in any freshwater Hawaiian ponds or streams because of the risk of leptospirosis. That includes the waterfall and the stream that runs along the path to Manoa Falls.

  • If you hike around noon, the sunlight comes through the canopy and casts beautiful shadows on the ground, which makes for pretty pictures. 

  • The trail gets muddy and slippery and so will your shoes. Expect uneven ground and some stairs. Leave the flip flops behind and leave a garbage bag in your car to throw all your muddy gear in for your ride back.  

  • The closer you get to the falls, the wetter the trail becomes. 

  • Some of the plants you might see include… giant ferns, bamboo forest, ginger plants, guava, wildflowers, awapuhi, hau trees (with heart shaped leaves and bright yellow flowers with dark red centers). The canopy is made up of guava, eucalyptus, and banyan trees. 

  • Don’t leave valuables in your car.

  • About 100 feet before you reach the falls, there’s a marked trail to the left — Aihualama Trail. It’s a moderately difficult hike that’s short but steep with an 800 foot elevation gain. If you take this trail, it’ll connect to the Pauoa Flats Trail. Take that for another ½ mile to the Pauoa Flats Lookout and bench on the Ko’olau summit and you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the Nu’uanu Valley below.



  • There’s a chance of falling rocks close to the falls.

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  • The path will take you first through a shipping container that acts like a short tunnel, on to a Eucalyptus robusta forest, then a hau tree forest, then the Banyan arch (that makes for a good photo op), then the bamboo forest, before climbing some stairs to the Manoa Falls viewing area. 

  • The bamboo forest is a detour after the Banyan arch. It’s a cool section and less muddy. Recommend taking that route, which then reconnects with the main trail to the waterfall. 

  • The last section is a little more challenging. It’s a little steep and you’ll have to climb over large, slippery boulders to get to the fall, but it’s still not too intense. 

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  • This is a toddler and kid friendly hike, but keep in mind that it’s muddy and slippery in places. 

  • It’s not stroller friendly, so bring a carrier for babies or toddlers.



  • Keep dogs on leash at all times. Hunting may be in progress nearby as part of an ongoing pig control and hunting dogs may be off-leash.



  • Pre pandemic, Manoa Falls averaged about 700 - 1000 visitors per day, or about 200,000 hikers per year. 

  • Scenes from Lost, Hawaii 5-0 and Jurassic Park were filmed here. In Jurassic World, it was used for the scene where the 2 young boys jump from the top of the falls to escape being eaten by an Indominus Rex. 

  • Hawaiian natives cleared this trail hundreds of years ago. They’d use this area to bathe, hunt, and gather wood. 

  • Keep your eyes peeled for groves of tangled hau trees. They’ve got heart-shaped leaves and their flowers are bright yellow with dark red centers. Early Hawaiians used the wood to build kites and canoe outriggers, the bark for sandals, and the sap as a laxative.

  • Manoa Falls is one of 18 trails that make up the Honolulu Makua Trail System, a series of connecting trails. Manoa Falls is the easiest of all of them. 

  • The Manoa Valley is considered a rainforest and is also known as the “Rainbow Valley” because of how often you see rainbows here. 

  • The trail reopened June 2021 after being closed for almost 2 years for safety improvements. They added the rock viewing wall near the falls and gravel to much of the path, which was widened for 2 way traffic. A fence was installed to catch falling rocks next to the falls, along with new steps leading to the waterfall viewing area. The also added new interpretive signs for education and benches along the trail. 

  • This trail is rumored to be haunted by a spectrum army known as the Night Marchers (or Phantom Marchers) — the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors. Ghost hunters from all over the country travel to the haunted Manoa Falls Trail, looking to catch a glimpse of them. They’re said to appear after dark, wearing heavy armor and carrying long pointed spears and torches. Some hikers report eerie, banshee-like screaming echoing through the forest. There’s also a story about a group of local teens who snuck out to the trail. They were drinking beers by the falls when they started hearing beating drums that grew louder and louder. When they heard the sound of a conch shell, they all started running back. They could then see the lights from the warriors’ torches and could make out the faint outline of human figures moving towards them. Locals say that if you come in contact with them, you should get down as low as you can on the ground, lay flat on your stomach, and do not make eye contact as they pass. If you play dead out of respect for the undead, they will leave you along and pass peacefully. Legend has it that the warriors are actually protectors of the island. 

Last Updated 10 / 22 / 21

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