Manoa Falls Trail: What to Know + Useful Tips (2024 Guide)

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Are you looking at hiking the Manoa Falls Trail near Honolulu? This guide covers what to know before your Manoa Falls hike, including useful tips and how to get there.

Are you planning your trip to Honolulu last minute?

If you’re traveling to Honolulu last minute, you want to ensure you have lodging/tours ahead of time! Below are some of my top picks on Oahu!

🌴  Best tours and activities on Oahu:

  1. Full-day Oahu island tour (my top recommendation to see the island!)
  2. Waikiki afternoon glass-bottom boat trip (a Honolulu bestseller!)
  3. Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial Tour (essential!)
  4. Paradise Cove luau (a luau that is great for families!)

🛌   Best hotels and lodging in Honolulu:

  1. Moana Surfrider Hotel (a famous place that I love!)
  2. White Sands Hotel (budget – I stayed here many nights and loved it!)
  3. Laylow (mid-range and stylish)
  4. Espacio the Jewel of Waikiki (luxury living in Waikiki)

🚗   Traveling to Oahu independently? Be sure to book your rental car ahead of time to ensure availability!

Did I miss anything about hiking to Manoa Falls? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

About the Manoa Falls Trail (& Waterfall)

  • Length: 0.8 miles (or 1.3 kilometers) one-way
  • Trail type: Out and back
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 800 feet (or 244 meters)
  • Manoa Falls height: about 100 feet (or 32 meters). Some say it is taller and closer to 150 feet.
  • Highlights of the trail: Manoa Falls, Waihi Stream, Lyon Arboretum (right beside the entrance)

The Manoa Falls Trail is a waterfall hike near Honolulu and it is pretty easy to reach from downtown (or Waikiki). It is one of my favorite hikes in the United States!

Hiking the Manoa Falls Trail
Hiking the Manoa Falls Trail

Overall, it took me about 2 hours to do the hike, but that was mostly because I was out of shape and I was taking photos throughout the entire thing. But, it is a very easy hike.

Please note that you can not swim in Manoa Falls because of leptospirosis risks. You also cannot venture down to the waterfall once you have it in view.

There are signs indicating this, but it seems as though several hikers decided the rules did not apply to them.

Hiking the Manoa Falls Trail

Located in the green Manoa Valley, the Manoa Falls Trail is a must for those visiting Honolulu.

What I found the most interesting about the hike was that the climate was so different from that of the city. Manoa Valley has its own tropical microclimate.

Beautiful greenery in Manoa Falls
Beautiful greenery in Manoa Falls

The hike is nearly a mile long (1.3 kilometers) one-way (so 1.6 miles or 2.6 kilometers overall). The elevation gain is slight at around 800 feet (or 244 meters).

Once you arrive at the end of the trail, Manoa Falls awaits! The waterfall is around 100–150 feet in height.

Upon arriving at the trail, you will see a sign indicating that you’re there. You won’t miss it; everyone takes a picture with it!

Manoa Falls Trail sign
Manoa Falls Trail sign

This Honolulu hike crosses the Aihualama Stream as it leads north through Eucalyptus robusta trees. I actually found the sound of the stream relaxing throughout the hike and you can see a few creatures along the way.

Some of the wildlife that live along the Aihualama Stream are:

  • ‘O’opu (native Hawaiian stream fish)
  • Swordtails
  • Grass shrimp
  • Tahitian prawns
  • Mosquito fish
  • Guppies
  • Bufo toads
  • Poison dart frogs
  • …and more!

Once you arrive near the waterfall, you will see a bench and a rest area where you can take a photo with the ‘Arch of Vines’.

Arch of Vines on the Manoa Falls Trail
Arch of Vines on the Manoa Falls Trail

There will inevitably be a line of people waiting to get their photo here, so hang out and do the same (and enjoy the pause).

You will soon reach the waterfall and depending on the season and day, it may not even be flowing.

The first time I hiked the Manoa Falls Trail, the waterfall was flowing (lightly) but the second time it was barely flowing at all. My second time hiking the trail was in the morning so perhaps it picked up by the afternoon.

The best I was able to get on these journeys!
The best I was able to get on these journeys!

This area is also where you’ll see the sign stating that you can not pass the area to go down to the waterfall. Please listen to this.

There are also falling rocks around this part of the trail and it is for everyone’s safety. I have recently seen people shamed on social media for disregarding this sign.

Do not go down there despite what others do!
Do not go down there despite what others do!

When you are near the falls, you will also notice another trail called ‘Aihualama’. This is another hike you can veer off and do, but it is notably harder than the Manoa Falls Hike!

So be sure to stay on the initial trail if you’re not keen to do this. It is clearly marked.

Aihualama Trail
Aihualama Trail

Best Time of the Day to Hike to Manoa Falls

I have completed the Manoa Falls hike twice – once at 8:30am or so and the other at 1pm in the afternoon.

The trail was less busy in the morning hours. I also noticed that the weather seemed to be better in the morning than in the afternoon. Not sure if this is typical, but it was very noticeable for me.

Perhaps this is why the waterfall was barely flowing when I went in the morning and had picked up on my afternoon hike (they were on different days, however).

Afternoon hike at Manoa Falls
Afternoon hike at Manoa Falls

One thing to know is that if you go to Manoa Falls when it is busier, you may have to park a bit further away from the trailhead. This is why I think mornings may be a better time to visit.

I also noticed far fewer bugs along the trail in the morning.

Afternoon hike to Manoa Falls
Afternoon hike to Manoa Falls

How to Get to Manoa Falls from Honolulu/Waikiki

Reaching Manoa Falls with a rental car is super easy from the downtown and Waikiki area! It is easy to find in the GPS or Google Maps.

It is also easy to reach Manoa Falls by bus from downtown. You will need to take Bus 67 from town to the last stop.

Start of the Manoa Falls Trail
Start of the Manoa Falls Trail

You may not realize you’re at the last stop once you arrive but you will notice the driver chill out and take a break, so just ask and they will let you know.

If you decide to take the bus, you will still need to walk to the trailhead which is about half a mile away. Just stay to the side of the road and out of the way of cars from here.

Taking the bus back to Honolulu from Manoa Falls is pretty easy, but you will be leaving from a different location.

The stop to go back to Honolulu
The stop to go back to Honolulu

To find this place, head back to the initial bus stop you got off at and take a right and go up the hill slightly toward the homes (this right is if you’re facing downhill). You should see a bus sign below a stop sign and the number of the stop is 3267.

The bus ticket is $3 for a single fare (you can pay $7.50 and ride unlimited for the day). The $3 price includes unlimited transfers within 2.5 hours.


You can pick up a HOLO (Honolulu transport card) at the local ABC store which is convenient for those taking public transportation around the island. I, honestly, think the Oahu bus system is the best one I have used in the US.

Manao Falls Entrance Fee (and Parking)

Hiking Manoa Falls is free if you enter without a personal vehicle. One time I took the bus there and another time I took a rental car.

If you choose to drive to Manoa Falls, you will be charged $7 per vehicle ($4 for military) in 2024.

Manoa Falls entrance fee and parking
Manoa Falls entrance fee and parking

There will be a parking attendant to access the lots so you don’t need to head to a machine or anything like in other parts of Oahu. There is also a small charge for paying with a credit card.

Be sure to display your receipt on your car’s windshield while you’re on the hike.

Receipt from Manoa Falls Trail
Receipt from Manoa Falls Trail

The parking lot is open from 8am until 6pm daily.

Is Manoa Falls Trail Wheelchair-Friendly?

No, the trail is not wheelchair- or stroller-friendly. There are a few rocky areas and I would not recommend the hike to anyone with mobility issues.

How much time do you need at Manoa Falls?

I would definitely put aside two hours for this hike.

Rain in the Manoa Valley
Rain in the Manoa Valley

If you have some free time, I highly recommend sticking around the area for another hour and stopping into the Lyon Arboretum next door!

The botanical garden is stunning and has some insanely beautiful views!

Useful Tips for the Hike to Manoa Falls

  • Wear hiking boots (they will likely get muddy!)
  • Fill up a water jug beforehand, as there are no drinkable water sources along the trail. It is humid on this hike!
  • When a sign says ‘Don’t enter’, just don’t enter. Simple as that.
  • You can’t swim in the waterfall. Even if you see someone doing it.
  • This is a kid-friendly hike! Bring the whole family along.
  • Use the trashcans along the hike to ensure the trail stays clean.
  • Don’t carve anything into the trees. This should go without saying but you’d be surprised.
  • Manoa Falls Trail is dog-friendly (so if you’re a local, bring them along on a leash).
Water is a must for this humid hike!
Water is a must for this humid hike!

Lyon Arboretum

If you have extra time after your hike, set aside an hour to visit Lyon Arboretum. It is part of the University of Hawaii Manoa and it is such a beautiful place! Lyon Arboretum is free (although donations are welcome), and there are many viewpoints throughout the botanical gardens.

Lyon Arboretum
Lyon Arboretum

Do note that reservations are now required there, so plan ahead!

Did I miss anything about hiking the Manoa Falls Trail on Oahu? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

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Looking to hike the Manoa Falls Trail and want tips for doing so? This guide covers what to know before hiking to Manoa Falls, Honolulu's easiest day hike! | Things to do in Honolulu | What to do in Honolulu | Places to visit in Honolulu | Hiking near Honolulu | Honolulu hikes | Waterfall hikes in Hawaii

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