Take a hike through the lush Hawaiian rainforest to discover a wealth of flora and Oahu’s most impressive waterfall.
Stand at the bottom of Manoa Falls and enjoy the feeling of the spray cooling your face after your hike. Just as impressive as the water tumbling down the sheer rock face is the vast number of plants and ecosystems you pass by as you make your way to the falls. Some of the species here are found nowhere else on earth.
Manoa Falls is the tallest accessible waterfall on Oahu. Water tumbles 150 feet (45 meters) down a vertical rock face into a small circular pool. The spectacular scenery and prehistoric feel of the area led the makers of the Hollywood movie Jurassic Park and the Lost television series to use it as a filming location. It’s more commonly a favorite destination for hikers, who come to experience Oahu’s easily accessible wilderness.
Take note of the subtle changes in plant life as you make your way up the trail. See giant ferns, palms and numerous other rainforest species. You’ll hear the sound of churning waters long before you reach the waterfall. Try and visit after heavy rain, when the cascade is at its most spectacular. Once there simply stand back and admire nature in all her glory. Line up a photo or find a clearing to stop for lunch. Follow the trail that continues up to the ridge for sweeping views across the North Shore.
The Manoa Falls trail is a 2-mile (3-kilometer) round trip. The walk there and back will take around two hours. Allow longer to stop and admire the falls. Sturdy footwear is advised as the path can get quite muddy, and make sure you wear bug repellent as the damp climate is perfect for mosquitoes. If you’re not confident doing the walk alone then some companies offer guided trips. These can be good if you want to find out more about the history of the falls and the ecology around you.
Manoa Falls are free to access and the path is open year-round. You can park for a small charge at the foot of the falls or take a bus from central Honolulu.