The lush green scenery from trees and plants on the Manoa Falls hike

Manoa Falls Hike: A Complete Guide to Hiking to the 150 Foot Waterfall

If you’re looking for an easy outdoor adventure that will take your breath away, Manoa Falls is the hike for you!

It made our list of the top waterfall hikes on Oahu and, overall, is one of the best hikes in Oahu.

When most people think of Hawaii the first thing that comes to mind is the best beaches, but the islands also have plenty of lush green valleys and mountains to explore as well.

The hike to Manoa Falls is a beautiful journey through a tropical rainforest. You’ll be surrounded by towering bamboo and beautiful plants throughout the journey.

At the end of the trail, you’ll find a thundering waterfall cascading down from over 150 feet up and into a mellow pool below.

Disclaimer: Hiking can be a dangerous activity. Please assess your own mental and physical health before attempting this hike. Content on this site is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical, health, or safety advice.

people looking at the majestic 150 feet Manoa falls

Manoa Falls Trail Important Information

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: About 1.7 miles (round trip)

Elevation Gain: 633 ft

Route Type: Out & back

Duration: 1-2 hours round trip

Highlights of the Trail: Gorgeous view of Manoa Falls

Terrain: Dirt and rocks

Manoa Falls Map

How to Get to Manoa Falls Trail

Manoa Falls is conveniently located about a 20-minute drive from the Waikiki area. The best way to get there is by car, or you can take the bus if you prefer that mode of transit.

1) By Car

If I were you I would just put Manoa Falls into the GPS, as it is pretty straightforward to find.

Below are the directions we used from Google Maps:

  • Take Kalakaua Avenue to S King St
  • Turn right onto S King St
  • Take your first left onto Punahou St
  • Punahou St will become Manoa Road; this will take you right to the parking area for Manoa Falls Trail

2) By Bus

You can take Bus #5 and #6 to get to the falls. Depending on where you start, you might need to make multiple transfers.

Please check the Moovit app for bus schedule information.

Both of these buses will require at least a 17-minute walk to get to the start of the trail.

I highly recommend driving or taking Uber/Lyft to maximize your time.

Manoa Falls Parking

You have two options for parking:

Park in the residential neighborhood and walk for about 0.3 miles to the start of the trail.

Paid parking at Manoa Falls: Parking at the Paradise Park parking lot is $5.00 per car. Plan your visit accordingly as this is a very popular tourist activity and parking fills up quickly.

Cars parked at the Manoa Falls on-site parking lot

If you are a morning person, try to get there right at opening time. If you are not a morning person, a good option is to get there towards the end of the day.

We randomly decided to stop here around 4:30 PM on a Sunday and we were able to quickly get parking compared to when we showed up at around noon.

Hiking the Manoa Falls Trail

To get to the start of the trail, you walk on a paved and shady path.

Cody hiking the paved section on the Manoa Falls Trail. The scenery is lush and green

Once you get to the start of the Manoa Falls Trail, it turns into a dirt and rock path. If it has rained recently the path can be a little slippery, so please be cautious.

Manoa Falls Trail signage right before the entrance of the trail.
A kiosk with a map and important information about the Manoa Falls Trail located at the start of the hike
Official start of the Manoa Falls Trail past the green gate

Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes as there are a lot of loose rocks on the path.

Overall this trail is not challenging, but the loose rocks add a slight level of difficulty or nuance to the trek.

The hike is one of the easiest hikes in Oahu with not too much of an elevation gain, but it can be steep in some parts.

Cody hiking over loose rocks on the Manoa Falls Trail
Me hiking through some muddy sections of the Manoa Falls Trail

When we hiked this trail we had just finished hiking one of the most strenuous hikes in Oahuthe Olomano Trailand that was a big mistake on our end.

We were exhausted by the time we got to Manoa Falls, so I wouldn’t recommend anyone do that.

In all fairness, I have seen both little kids and older people hike to Manoa Falls.

Just take your time and pace yourself and you will be okay.

The cool thing about this hike is that you are hiking through a lush forest the entire time. The scenery all around is spectacular and you will feel like you are in a different world.

Me hiking thorough the loose gravel section of the hike, with lush scenery all around.

Getting Closer to the Waterfall

After hiking for about 30-45 minutes (depending on how fast you hike), you should start getting a sneak peek of the gorgeous waterfall.

The first view of the Manoa Falls from the trail.
The first view you’ll get of the falls

Continue on the path and you will eventually get to the waterfall and pool.

You will have to hike through rocks to get to the actual waterfall, but it’s totally doable.

Cody hiking up the rocks on the last part of the Manoa Falls Trail
The last part of the hike

Also, you don’t have to hike down to enjoy the views of the waterfall. You can still get amazing views from the top viewing platform.

Gorgeous view of Manoa Falls with lush green scenery all around

Once you get there, take your time and enjoy this majestic place!

Please note that there are falling rock signs here. Take them seriously and be cautious and aware of your surroundings at all times.

Two people walking past the falling rocks sign towards the end of the Manoa Falls Trail

After taking in the views, it is time to head back the way you came. The hike back down is a lot easier than the hike there, so you should be able to make good time.

Swimming at Manoa Falls

Sadly, swimming is not allowed at Manoa Falls. There are signs everywhere that say it is prohibited.

With that being said, we did see at least four people swimming in the pool while we were there. If you somehow decide to swim, be very cautious of falling rocks and be aware of Leptospirosis. Swim at your own risk.

People sitting by the pool at Manoa Falls after hiking the trail
Gorgeous view of the Manoa Falls with about 15 people in the shot

Even though you are not permitted to swim, the waterfall and pool are still worth visiting!

If you are looking for a waterfall to swim in, visit the Waimea Falls on the north shore of Oahu.

Things to Bring on the Hike

Plenty of water: Never go on a hike without water. This should be a rule for everyone. Hawaii can get pretty hot, especially during the summer months.

Sunscreen or a Rashguard: The sun can be pretty intense in Hawaii. Make sure to protect your skin.

Bug Spray: This is another thing that I would highly recommend for anyone going on this hike.

A Snack: It’s always good to have something to eat. Although this might be odd to some, I always add granola bars to my Hawaii packing list. 

I get them from Costco and usually have multiple boxes on-hand. I pack them in my carry-on and eat them on the plane and while on the island. Alternatively, you can also buy these while in Hawaii.

A Camera: You will want to capture the memories of this hike, whether it’s with your smartphone or a dedicated camera.

Tips for Visiting Manoa Falls

Arrive early or later in the day to get a parking spot. Parking is $5 per car. This place can get super crowded, and it looks “like a zoo” at times. Try to beat the crowds as much as possible.

Wear proper hiking shoes: I recommend water hiking shoes like the Keen Sandals. I would usually wear these, but I already had on hiking boots after hiking the Olomana Trail. Note that you do not need hiking boots for this trail.

Pack out your trash: Please pack out what you bring in and leave the waterfall and pool area clean.

Be cautious of the falling rocks signs: As I mentioned earlier, please take these signs seriously. There have been fatalities here, so, please be careful.

Go after rainfall: If you want to see the waterfall in all of its glory, go after a few days of rain. We went after a few days of no rain, and while it was still pretty, we saw better photos of this waterfall. The waterfall is much more stunning then.

Tip: Also, if you plan to chase other waterfalls on Oahu, make sure to check the weather and go after days of rain. 

On a previous day, we blindly hiked the Waimano Falls only to be greeted with a completely dry waterfall! Ouch!

Additional Things to Do Close to Manoa Falls

Visit the Lyon Arboretum: This is one of the best botanical gardens on Oahu. Be sure to stop by if you have some extra time.

Take a drive to the top of Tantalus Lookout: This is one of my favorite spots on Oahu. It’s a great place to watch the sunset or sunrise. There is also a great viewpoint here.

Get shave ice: Stop by Monsarrat Shave Ice or Shimazu Shave Ice and reward yourself with some of the best shave ice on Oahu.

Hike Diamond Head: If you feel adventurous, both of these hikes can be done in one day. 

Visit Iolani Palace: If you want to learn more about the history of Hawaii, I would recommend visiting Iolani Palace. Located in downtown Honolulu, it’s an easy walk from the palace to many restaurants and shops.

Manoa Falls Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Manoa Falls hike closed?

Manoa Falls is now open.

Is the hike strenuous?

The hike is not considered strenuous.

How much does it cost to hike Manoa Falls?

It’s free to hike, but parking is $5.00 if you decide to park on-site.

What time is Manoa Falls open?

7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

What is the best time to hike Manoa Falls?

The best time to hike Manoa Falls is early morning or later in the day to avoid the crowds.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a beautiful waterfall to visit on Oahu, Manoa Falls is a great option.

The hike is not strenuous, and it’s located just a 20-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of urban Honolulu.

Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, bug spray, and snacks. And be sure to pack out what you bring in to help keep the waterfall and pool area clean.

Mahalo for reading our post! Until next time, aloha, and happy chasing waterfalls in Oahu!


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