One of the most beautiful and unique hikes on island, and one of my favorites, is Manoa Falls. This was one of the first hikes that I went on since I had the pleasure of living in Manoa when I first moved to O’ahu. Manoa Falls is such a treasure to see, the rainforest scenery surrounding you is so incredible, along with the Ko’olau mountains, it is like you are walking in a fairy tale movie. Manoa surprised me in such an exciting way when I first moved here, because it gave me the gift of seeing O’ahu in such a different unexpected way. Even when I came to O’ahu when I was younger, I had no idea that there was this magical jungle looking place where the university resides. Filled with tall beautiful green trees that feels like a backdrop of a painting. It was a cloudy day today, and I felt inspired to chase one of my favorite waterfalls, along with a quick workout! This is definitely a must see on O’ahu, and here is some small insight and information to help you check out a surprisingly mellow hike, with such a rewarding and easy waterfall to get to!
1. Jurassic World, Jurassic Park, and Lost, Filmed Scenes Here!
When you walk around Manoa Falls, it does have that “Jurassic Park” feel to it, and soon enough, you are playing the famous Jurassic Park theme song in your head, waiting for raptors to jump out at you, or yellow jeeps to be flying by. Manoa Falls does feel like you are on a movie set or in a totally different unreal world. Which is a really cool experience for me, since Jurassic Park was my Dad’s favorite movie. He would have loved this place!
2. Best Time to Go
I usually like to go in the mornings or early afternoon for the best lighting for photos, and during the week, so less crowded. This is a very popular and easy hike to get to. A hike for people of all ages, so lots of families and kids will be here, especially on the weekends. You can even go on this hike when it is raining but recommended with caution, best to wait 2 days after it rains. This is a very muddy hike, so you will get muddy if raining! But if extremely stormy or rainy weather, go with caution, or not at all. You can easily slip and hurt yourself if the weather is not in good condition.
3. Preparing for the Hike
This hike is honestly very mellow and not strenuous at all. I would say this hike is easy-intermediate. It is only about a 1.6 mile hike, and it takes about 30 minutes each way. Even though it is an easy hike, you are walking in a very rural tropical area, with dirt and muddy pathways. A lot of people like to walk with canes, and make sure to wear good hiking shoes, comfortable clothes, and pack light for hiking. I would bring bug spray, sunscreen, water, and a light snack since you will get hungry when you are done! And of course, bring your best camera, or Gopro, and Gopro toys, because this hike is amazing for videos, drones, and scenic photos. My favorite part of the trail is the Bamboo Forest! The trail and scenery by itself is so amazing to capture on film or a photo.
4. Best Part of Hike, The Waterfall!
What amazes me about this hike, is that most waterfall hikes on island is either a situation to get to, takes a long time, or illegal. But this hike is so mellow, and you get such a rewarding 150 ft tall waterfall at the end. This is actually one of my favorite waterfalls, and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful on island. I am sure most people will say that this waterfall is overrated, just because it is so popular for tourists. But in my opinion, if you go on a quiet and slow day, enjoying the beauty of this magnificent waterfall is worth coming back to. It always looks unreal and magical to me. It literally sparkles so beautifully in the sun light, once again feeling like you are in a fairy tale. People love to hang out there comfortably for hours with friends. It does say to Not Swim in the Waterfall….but enter at your own discretion.
5. Parking and Directions
There is a $5 parking lot that is right up Manoa Road, Google Maps can easily direct you here, and the trail begins where Manoa Road ends. If you take the bus from Waikiki, I would take the 13 Bus towards Liliha, and catch the 5 Bus towards Manoa Valley at Ala Moana Mall. Address:
37 Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HiI, 96822
Have fun, be safe, take dope photos, and I always encourage to hike with friends!