Manoa Falls Travel Guide
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Price: The Manoa Falls hike is free to the public
Getting to Manoa Falls:
Manoa Valley is located just 15 minutes from Waikiki by car. You can also take route 5 of TheBus from Ala Moana Shopping Center. From there it’s a 10 minute walk to the trailhead.
The Paradise Park parking lot is located at the trailhead with additional parking available up the road.
Parking fee is $7 per car.
There are discounts for residents of Hawaii with a Hawaii ID and Military Discounts.
About the Manoa Falls Trail
Nestled deep in the valley through the towering trees and bamboo groves lies history and legend. The ancient Hawaiians sustainably utilized the wildlife from the ocean as well as the forest; maintaining the delicate balance of a flourishing ecosystem. Wood from trees was harvested for shelter tools and canoes and plants were utilized for food and clothing.
There is also a legend of Princess Kahalaopuna. Two men heard of the beauty of the princess and spread lies about a romance with her. Her partner Kahui believed them and took her life. The King turned the men into the twin peaks in Manoa and Kahui became a shark. Kahalaopuna’s parents are said to be the wind and rain.
Manoa was formed as part of a volcanic eruption. Over the years with the rains, winds, and river it has molded this area to what we see today, a deep valley with saw-tooth mountain ridges. The early Hawaiians named this valley Manoa which means ‘wide and vast’. It’s quite a suiting name once you see the valley.
Manoa Falls trail is great for novice hikers and is suitable for most people. The hike is .8 mi. (1.3 km) 1.6 mi. (2.6 km) round trip and takes between 1-2 hours to complete. There is a restaurant and restrooms located inside a shopping area at the parking entrance.
When you first enter the trail you will cross a small bridge that leads towards the forest. The Manoa Falls trail leads you through a rainforest, where tropical birds and native flora can be seen. There are benches along the way if you need to rest. While heading down the trail you will be greeted with towering eucalyptus and banyan trees, a perfect spot for photos. Eventually, you will pass through a bamboo grove and head toward the cascading falls. The 150 ft waterfall makes for a picturesque scene. Water flow depends on the rain and the season.
Swimming in the falls is prohibited due to leptospirosis and falling rock warnings.
Preparing for your Trip:
Bug repellant is a must as you head deeper into the shaded forest. Be sure to bring a light rain jacket and wear sneakers with a good grip or hiking boots as the trail can get muddy and slippery. It’s also recommended by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to have a first aid kit handy, whistle, flashlight and something brightly colored. We’ll guide you to Manoa Falls on our Honolulu Backyard Rainforest Tour.
Be sure to check out the Lyon Arboretum! Located on the way to the trail, the arboretum was established in the 1920s for research and reforestation purposes. It houses over 6,000 taxa of tropical plants. Lyon Arboretum is free to visit via online reservation. A $10 donation is suggested.
RELATED: The Long History of Manoa Valley and Seven Oahu Waterfall Hikes