Manoa Falls is a 150-foot waterfall located in the Manoa Valley just beyond the University of Hawaii. It’s probably the closest waterfall hike to Waikiki and is short enough that it can be accomplished in half a day. Popular among locals and visitors alike, Manoa Falls is something everyone visiting the island should experience.
To get to the Manoa Falls trailhead by car is very easy and will only take about 20 minutes. As you leave out from the hostel, you will take Kapahulu driving away from the beach. Turn left on Date St. Turn right on University Ave. Follow University until it turns into Oahu Ave. You will eventually come to a 5-way intersection. Veer to the right onto Manoa Rd. Continuing on Manoa Rd, you will end at a parking lot at Paradise Park. You can park here for $5, or you may be able to find free street parking in the residential area before the park.
Or you can go to Manoa Falls by bus. Traveling by bus takes about an hour and requires two buses. There’s a couple of different routes that you can take. You can take #13 to Ala Moana Center and then go to the back of the mall where you will find #5 going to Manoa Valley. Or you can take #2 to Kalakaua/King, walk over one block to Punahou/King and take #5. Of course you can always stop by the hostel front desk and have the receptionist print you the best route map for the time of day that you’re going.
After getting off the bus or parking your car, just walk up the remaining part of the road until you see a gate and sign pointing out the trail.
Once you begin the hike, it will feel like you’re entering a jungle. Banyan trees and bamboo towering overhead. Wild chickens running back and forth. Wildflowers scattered everywhere. And listen for those sounds of distant waterfalls. Some of what you’re seeing were even backdrops to well-known movies and TV shows like Jurrasic Park, Lost, and Hawaii Five-O.
There’s also a couple of things worth noting about this trail. Don’t take your best shoes. It’s very humid here and rains a lot in the valley. So the trail can get very muddy. You might even want to bring another set of clothes and slippers to change into after the hike. Also, be sure to take some bug spray with you. There’s lots of mosquitos on this trail.
After about 30 minutes or so, you’ll come to the end of the trail where you’ll be presented with a magnificent waterfall. Towering 150 feet above, the water falls into a small pool at the base. But be careful not to go in the water. It’s roped off for a reason.
In 2002, there was a huge rock slide causing much debris to fall into the water which now makes it difficult to maneuver around. It’s also known that the water contains a bacterial disease called Leptospirosis which is most common in rats and mice. Infections to humans can take place when the contaminated water enters the body through open wounds or even through the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Wear hiking shoes on the hike. But take slippers with you to change into after the hike, cause your shoes will be covered in mud.
Be prepared for rain. Take a hooded jacket or poncho with you just in case there comes a downpour.
Take bug spray. There’s lots of mosquitoes on the trail.
Take water and snacks, your camera, and most of all – have fun!
Check out manoafalls.com for more trail information, printable maps outlining additional trails that extend beyond Manoa Falls, and snack shops nearby that might be a nice after-hike treat.
And here’s another blog post on general hiking tips in Hawaii.
Image By: The Outbound