Less than fifteen minutes drive from Waikiki, you will find the stunning Manoa Falls Trail. Here you can enjoy a short hike at the filming locations of Jurassic Park and the television show LOST before reaching the massive waterfall.
Manoa Falls Trail is one of my most suggested hikes to visitors looking for a short adventure. The trail is defined for the entire route, which gives you plenty of freedom to take in the wondrous scenery.
HIKING TO MANOA FALLS
In this blog post, I will share with you information about the location of the hike, what to expect, the best-value tours, and of course share with you my photos.
MANOA FALLS TRAIL DETAILS
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike is 2.7km or 1.7 miles to the waterfall and back
- Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 1-1.5 hours.
- Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 633ft or 193 meters
- Hike Difficulty: This hike is one of the easiest on the island of Oahu due to the easy to follow path and relatively short distance. Compared to many of the intense and wild hikes on Oahu, this is one for families and all levels of fitness.
THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off)and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!
MANOA FALLS TRAIL OPENING HOURS
Manoa Falls trail officially opens at 8 am and there is really no reason to arrive earlier. Sunrise won’t be of any interest this deep in the jungle. The trail closes at 7 pm.
MANOA FALLS GUIDED TOUR
There’s actually a pretty cool tour that combines two of the most popular hikes on Oahu in one day. If you’re up for the challenge, this tour includes both the hikes of Diamond Head Crater and Manoa Falls in one day.
Book your tour: Manoa Falls Guided Tour (with hotel pick/up)
MANOA FALLS HIKING TRAIL LOCATION
The Manoa Falls trailhead is up in the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve. From Waikiki, it takes about 10-15 minutes to drive up here. You can also catch the public bus and it will drop you within walking distance of the trail. There is a parking lot at the base of Manoa Falls. The map below shows the pinned location of the Manoa Falls trailhead.
MANOA FALLS FILM LOCATION
If you feel yourself looking around wondering why everything looks so familiar, don’t worry you aren’t going crazy. Some of the scenes from the original “Jurassic Park” were filmed along the hike. More recently the TV series “Lost” filmed many of its scenes in the lush rainforest environment.
HIKING THE MANOA FALLS TRAIL
Manoa Falls is a relatively short hike of 1.6 miles return, taking about an hour or two for the out and back trail. If you stop to take in all of the plants and have a dip in the waterfall, this could be a little longer. It is moderately flat and although there is no paved path, the dirt path is quite well worn from the thousands of tourists visiting the waterfall every week. After rainy weather it can get a bit muddy but still manageable.
HAWAII HIKING PACKING LIST
Many people come unprepared for hiking on Oahu and that’s why there are so many rescues. Make sure you at least have the basics and you will be prepared for bad weather or any mishaps on the trail. A headlamp, rain jacket, and good hiking boots or shoes are the three main pieces of gear you need.
What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
One of my favorite parts of the Manoa Falls Trail is the opening stretch of the hike. After crossing a small bridge, you are immersed into a wild area where vines drape the trees and the forest runs free. The Manoa Falls Trail winds next to a small stream, passing many different species of plants and trees that will definitely have you stopping for a closer look.
The hiking trail leads up to a breathtaking waterfall cascading 150 feet down the mountainside. The water might not be as warm as the Pacific Ocean but it sure is refreshing to stand under the natural shower. The signs will say don’t enter the waterfall but that is brushed aside by most people who go for a dip in the waterfall. I often get a few weird looks when I go for a quick dip but I am soon joined by the next group of eager tourists.
This hike surprised me when I first arrived on Oahu because I didn’t expect the island to have such an array of flora. I was expecting palms and tropical plants but on this hike alone you will experience a small bamboo forest, giant tree trunks too big to hug, palms, and intricate ferns.
Manoa Falls Trail is a perfect little hike to do in the morning, leaving the rest of your day free for more exploring or relaxing at the beach.
This tree arch is one of my favorite spots on the Manoa Falls Trail. It’s an incredible act of nature to form an arch over the pathway and is one of the top photo spots along the route.
The Manoa Falls itself is 150ft in height and is so high it’s hard to see the top while standing at the base. It’s important to note that it’s not flowing all year round. In the summer months, it can get quite dry so be sure to ask around if you are here during the summer. In the winter months or the rainy season, you can expect there to be a constant flow through Manoa Falls.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Manoa Falls Trail, one of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu.
WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach with a private lagoon.
- Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach.
- Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
- Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location.
- Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like you are living in a theme park.
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!
- What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK
- A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII
- The best Waterfalls: AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
- Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU
- Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU
- The best Waterfall Hikes: TOP WATERFALL HIKES ON OAHU
- Best Tours: 20 BEST TOURS ON OAHU
- The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON OAHU
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Thursday 9th of May 2019
Is it possible to make this trail to the waterfall without a guide? Got signposts on the trail to the waterfall?
Sunday 17th of February 2019
Not sure there is a more peaceful place to do yoga then that!
Friday 13th of July 2018
Thank you for the information about the hike. We visited the beautiful trail today and took a splash in the water, as you mentioned we were soon followed by other tourist. It was very refreshing after the extremley humid trail. My son, who is 12 dipped all the way under and enjoyed the water fall to the fullest. He did not want to leave
Next time we will wear our sim suits and water shoes. This trail requires running/hiking shoes or some type of shoes with a grip and it is slippery as it rains and the mud becomes wet. Many wore flip flops which I wouldnt reccommend.
Sunday 19th of June 2016
I love the info on your web sites. Thank you so much!.
Jackson & Jessie
Sunday 19th of June 2016
Thanks for stopping by!
Sunday 19th of June 2016
Wow because this is really goodexcellent job! Congrats and keep it up
Jackson & Jessie
Sunday 19th of June 2016
Thanks for that appreciate it!