Manoa Falls

Honolulu / Waikiki (Oahu Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 2
Manoa Falls
Manoa Falls is perhaps O'ahu's most popular waterfall (especially with the 1999 closure of Sacred Falls).

I think it's very well known and popular because it's literally a hop, skip, and a jump from Honolulu or Waikiki. And from what we could tell, this thin 55ft waterfall (though I've seen some claim it's 160ft tall; maybe there are hidden upper tiers?) is one of the island's more impressive waterfalls.

We experienced this pleasant 1.6-mile round trip hike, which was far enough to keep the casual visitors away while close enough to keep it from becoming an arduous trek amidst mosquitoes and humidity. Who knew that such a pretty natural attraction could be so close to the urban jungle of Honolulu?

During the mostly flat hike, we walked through a lush rainforest with groves of bamboo sprouting up here and there. I thought I overheard another tour guide in the area say they were invasive here due to their rapid ability to grow and spread (and hence elbow out and outcompete native species for real estate). In any case, it seemed like the lushness of the trail helped provide some shade, but with the humidity, I'm not sure it made too much difference.

Apparently, Manoa Falls can go dry in Summer or during unusually dry Winters. We noticed that the plunge pool beneath the falls was once a popular swimming hole, but upon further research, we learned that swimming was banned after a landslide at the base of the falls in 2001/2002 as well as the detection of the dangerous leptospirosis bacteria in the stream.

[Back to top]
Manoa Falls is in close proximity to the famous Waikiki BeachManoa Falls is in close proximity to the famous Waikiki Beach
Waikiki is also a great place to catch sunsetsWaikiki is also a great place to catch sunsets
For a quieter experience, east of Diamond Head along O'ahu's eastern shores was Sandy BeachFor a quieter experience, east of Diamond Head along O'ahu's eastern shores was Sandy Beach
West of Honolulu was Pearl Harbor, where there were memorials and exhibits pertaining to that fateful day on December 7, 1941 when Japan launched a surprise attack propelling the US into World War IIWest of Honolulu was Pearl Harbor, where there were memorials and exhibits pertaining to that fateful day on December 7, 1941 when Japan launched a surprise attack propelling the US into World War II
The trailheadThe trailhead

Hiking in lush jungleHiking in the lush jungle

Going up some stairs flanked by bamboo shootsGoing up some stairs flanked by bamboo shoots

Julie checking out Manoa FallsJulie checking out the falls

Looking up towards the top of the fallsLooking up towards the top of the falls

A perfectly good reason not to go in the waterA perfectly good reason NOT to go in the water!

[Back to top]


[Back to top]

From the Honolulu/Waikiki area, travel north on University Avenue beyond the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. To reach University Avenue from the H-1 Freeway, exit onto University Avenue (exit 24B) or Punahou Avenue (exit 23).

North of the campus, University Avenue bends to the right and becomes O'ahu Avenue. From O'ahu Avenue, turn right onto Manoa Road at the five-way intersection. Continue on Manoa Road for about 1.5 miles to the supervised parking lot ($5 fee per vehicle in 2007 when we were there).

The old parking lot further down Manoa Road at the trailhead is now closed to vehicles. We noticed plenty of ominous signs warning of break-ins here as well as broken glass. So we had to walk up to the old parking lot to access the Manoa Falls trailhead. Just before the old parking lot is the Manoa Road turnoff for the University of Hawaii's Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, which we didn't visit so we can't say more about it.

[Back to top]

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.

[Back to top]


Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map

[Back to top]

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

[Back to top]


[Back to top]


Have You Been To This Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see visitor comments for this waterfall

Click here to see visitor comments for other waterfalls that we've visited in this region

Click here to go to the Comments Main Page

You can use the form below, but if you find our host's interface too troublesome to use (especially if you're trying to upload photos), then just send a text submission anyways using the form, but also let us know that you'd like to attach photos. If you've provided an email address via the form, then we can reply back acknowledging your request, and you can then reply to that email with your photo attachments. We're very sorry about this, but there's not much we can do about SBI's terrible interface.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Great Sunday Hike 
Went out to Manoa Falls after work yesterday for the first time since I moved to Oahu (3 years ago). This was a great beginner hike, and we completed …

Nice, easy, pretty hike to Manoa Falls . Great for taking photos along the way. Falls was roped off due to rockfall danger, but still well worth the …

Muddy Hike 
Beautiful hike to Manoa Falls . Don't forget to take your camera! I suggest going with someone who knows the area well. Wear old shoes, the trail is extremely …

Click here to write your own.

[Back to top]

[Go to the Oahu Waterfalls Page]

[Go to the Hawai'i Page]

[Return from Manoa Falls to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]

FOLLOW US ON:   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest

Quick Navigation:

If you like this page,
you might also like...

A Oahu Waterfall
Oahu Waterfalls

Hawaii's Top 10
Hawaii's Top 10

Featured Visitor Stories
or Comments

The Tragedy of Sacred Falls
Prior to the Mothers day landslide that killed 8 people and injured 50 others, on Mothers Day of 1999, Sacred Falls State Park was my favorite hike on this Island...[more]

Gigantic Waterfall Hole
Ahoy! On or about June 1975, on an afternoon helicopter ride with Jack Harter, out of the Kauai Surf Hotel, Na'wili'wili, we were flying west of Kapa'a...[more]

Memories of Likeke Falls
I was stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station 1970 to 1972 and frequented the Likeke water falls (Oahu). Back then there was a trail off...[more]

Papalaua Falls
I am extremely familiar with Papalaua Falls. I used to run kayak trips down Koolau Moloka'i and will again someday. I also made two documentaries including the falls...[more]

Wailua Falls, Kauai
I loved Wailua Falls. We hiked to the bottom and swam in the gigantic pool. We got such beautiful pictures of our family. The hike was not well marked and very steep....[more]

Mountain Apples
I was stationed at Schofield Barracks from 1980-1983. I was introduced to Sacred Falls by some locals at my church. My fondest memory was climbing the hillsides on the trail...[more]

Likeke Falls - Easier path
I am a professional photographer and was turned onto this waterfall by a local tour company which took hikers up to Likeke waterfall on a daily basis...[more]