Gravel crunches underfoot and the bamboo tall overhead creaks as the breeze blows gently through the tropical forest. The scent of guava and ginger are in the air, and eucalyptus and banyan trees line the path. It is a fairly easy hike for such a great reward – 150 feet of water pouring down the vertical mountainside – Manoa Falls.
Located only five miles outside Honolulu and only a 1.6-mile round trip hike, Manoa Falls is an easily accessible gem. Its location within a tropical rainforest means frequent rain, abundant plant life, and often muddy paths. You will follow a well-maintained trail meandering through lush vegetation, with songbirds and a bubbling brook providing your soundtrack. Take your time and enjoy this stroll through the jungle.
When you reach a set of manmade stairs leading to a boardwalk through a bamboo forest, you’re almost to the end. Stop to take some photos as the wooden-slatted walkway hovering a few feet above the mud curves its way through a maze of bamboo. At the end of the walkway, you’ll have to scramble over a few boulders before you arrive at the falls. Due to falling rocks, there is now a cable blocking off the pool at the bottom of the waterfall to discourage swimming or trekking all the way to the base. The volume of water can vary between wet and dry seasons, but regardless, you will be able to stand in awe at the sheer height and power of this waterfall.
The Manoa Falls hike is a popular one. With tour buses bringing loads of travelers to enjoy the cascade, it is not going to be a serene nature experience. However, don’t let this deter you – it’s still well worth the relatively easy trek.
From Waikiki, take H-1 west towards the airport. Take the Punahoe exit and follow Punahoe Rd up towards the mountains, where it turns into Manoa Road. After passing Waakaua Street, find free parking along the final residential stretch of the street, and walk 0.4 miles to the trailhead. You can also continue driving along Manoa Road and follow the signs for $5 parking on the right hand side.
Manoa Falls Trail
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