A 150-foot waterfall tumbling down a mountainside on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, the Manoa Falls are definitely impressive, and, being that they are easily accessible by the Manoa Falls trail, hiking to the waterfall is one of the most popular activities on the island. The trail is relatively easy, taking around 45 minutes, with 1.6 miles to cover in total, and it takes hikers through various rainforest ecosystems and areas of extraordinary natural beauty.
The Manoa Falls Trail
The beginning of the Manoa Falls Trail is marked with a wooden signpost, after which hikers cross a bridge and begin their journey along the sides of a deep rainforest valley. The trail is generally well-maintained, with the first section consisting of mostly gravel, so hikers need to be wary with their footing on slippery rocks. Many visitors tend to find the scenery eerily familiar, and this is because a number of the wild jungle scenes from 1993 movie Jurassic Park were filmed here, as well as scenes from the television show Lost. While you may be eager to rush through the trail in order to reach the falls, take the time to appreciate the beauty around you, from the hillside wildflowers to the guava, eucalyptus and banyan trees to the sprawling patches of ginger to the magnificent bamboo forest. The challenging part of the trail is encountered in the last 100 yards, as hikers need to climb up and over large boulders in order to reach the waterfall. While this does require extra effort, it is not difficult, and children are able to manage it with ease.
What to Bring
Since the Manoa Falls trail runs through a rainforest, it is often wet or raining, even though it may be dry in Waikiki, so a lightweight waterproof jacket will usually come in handy. It is easy to study the mountain before heading out, as all you need to look out for are dark clouds and you know that it is likely to be raining over the trail. Whether it is raining at the time or not, appropriate footwear, such as hiking boots, are a must, as the ground is often muddy and slippery, especially in the steeper parts of the trail. It is also a good idea to bring along some insect repellent, as well as a bottle of water so that you can keep yourself hydrated.
There are no facilities along the trail to the falls, so it is essential that hikers make use of restrooms before starting their walk, with the closest one to the falls located just after the entrance gate. The nearby Paradise Park building is where you will find a gift shop and café, while the University of Hawaii Lyon Arboretum has additional hiking trails that are worth exploring if you want to extend your adventure, with one of the trails leading to a smaller 20-foot waterfall.
Hiking at the Manoa Falls is a great activity for just about any age group, as it is easy enough for those who are not usually outdoorsy, but still filled with fascinating plant life to intrigue even the most seasoned hiker. Whether you head to the falls for a quick morning hike or decide to spend the day exploring the falls and their surrounding areas, this is a stunning area of Oahu that you definitely should not miss out on.