Great Hikes: Manoa Falls

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The Manoa Falls hike is exactly what you imagine when you hear “rainforest hike in Hawaii.” I was fortunate enough to go on a picture perfect day, on a guided tour with Oahu Nature Tours. This has instantly become one of my favorite hikes on the island, as it’s convenient, easy to find, absolutely GORGEOUS and fun!


Trail Length: 1.6 mi (round trip)
Estimated Time to Complete: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 800 ft


The trail is well-marked and very easy to follow. You’re surrounded by a lush rainforest, full of beautiful foliage and the sounds of tropical birds chirping. At one point, you’ll enter a serene bamboo forest, which will continue pretty much until you hit the waterfall at the end. Be careful along the path – it is fairly eroded at certain parts, and if it’s been raining recently (which is almost always in this valley) it gets extremely slippery. Manoa Falls is a 150-foot waterfall that cascades down an almost vertical cliff into a small pool. You cannot swim in it, and due to the high risk of falling rocks, you can’t go right up to the base of the pool either, but it makes for some spectacular photos. A number of scenes from various TV shows and movies have been filmed using both the falls and the surrounding valley.


If you want to avoid the stress of finding your own means of transportation, or if you’re looking for a more educational experience, Oahu Nature Tours offers a fantastic tour that runs Monday through Friday, with both a morning departure and an afternoon one. The tour includes your roundtrip transportation, water, a walking stick, optional use of a backpack and of course an expert guide who can teach you about the various plants and wildlife that you see along the trail. If you’re driving yourself, Manoa Valley is located just 15 minutes north of Waikiki. One of the easiest ways to get there would be to get onto University Avenue heading north – this will turn into Oahu Avenue. Turn right onto Manoa Road and follow that all the way to the parking lot for the trail. Parking is $5. Or, if you want to avoid the parking fee, you could park along Manoa Road or any of the side streets and then walk to the trailhead. If you prefer to take the public bus, you can hop on the #8 heading west and get off at the Kona/Keeaumoku stop. Transfer to bus #5 and take that the rest of the way. The bus will take you approximately 45 minutes.

When to Go:

Morning or afternoon are both beautiful, but if you want to see the falls at its best you may want to go after it’s been raining. However, this would then mean that the trail is also more slippery so be prepared and definitely wear closed-toed shoes with good traction.

Interested in a guided hike of Manoa Falls? Have questions about Manoa Falls or other Oahu hikes? Contact Elite Concierge at 808-971-1943 or


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