Manoa Falls is a popular, mostly easy hike not far from Waikiki. It is in Manoa Valley. The falls are about 100 ft tall. Scenes from the TV show Lost and the original Jurassic Park movie were filmed along this trail.

The Basic Info:

Distance: About 2 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: Not much

Time: About an hour round trip, plus however much time you spend at the falls.

Where: Located near the Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley.

To get there by car: Follow Take Kapahulu Ave out of Waikiki to the H-1 W
Take H-1 West to Punahou St.
Follow Punahou St. right, towards the mountains.
Punahou St. turns into Manoa Rd.
Follow Manoa Rd to the parking lot at the end.

To get there by bus: Take the #5 bus to the last stop on Manoa Rd.

Cost: It costs $5 to park. Pay inside the store where the restaurant is located.

Other Things to Know: Manoa Valley is a rain forest. It rains there, a lot. The last portion of this trail is muddy. Really muddy.

muddyPlan your footwear appropriately. Don’t wear flip flops (slippahs). Though really, you shouldn’t ever hike in flip flops anyway. Wear proper shoes for whatever activity you are doing. Be nice to your feet. Flip flops are not for hiking. At the beginning of the road from the parking lot, there is a hose you can use to clean off your shoes.

You NEED mosquito repellent. Again, it’s a rain forest. You will be eaten alive without it. If you forget it, the little store in the building with the restaurant sells some.

As with any hike, always bring plenty of drinking water. Don’t drink the water from the stream.

manoa falls root


tree root tunnel

There is a root doorway about 2/3 of the way up the trail. It reminds me of something out of Lord of the Rings.

falls at distance



The falls themselves are roped off, in an attempt to keep people from swimming in the pool at the base of the falls. People swim in it anyway. There is danger of landslides and rocks falling. There is also the risk of getting leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can cause serious illness and, in some cases, death. If you have a cut or open wound of any kind, don’t swim in any of the fresh water while on Hawaii.

On your way back to Waikiki, stop at Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Ave for a fresh malasada. Malasadas are Portuguese donuts. They are a big thing on Hawaii, and Leonard’s makes some of the best. You order the flavors you want, and then you wait, while they make them, so you get them hot and fresh.


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