Guide to Manoa Falls: Oahu’s Jungle Waterfall Hike

Manoa Falls Easy Waterfall Hike Oahu

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When it comes to Oahu waterfall hikes, it’s hard to beat this lovely jungle trail just minutes from Waikiki.

Nestled in the lush Manoa Valley just a few miles from Waikiki, Manoa Falls is yet another testament to Oahu’s diverse natural beauty.

Just a short drive from the Waikiki hotel zone, the Manoa Falls trail is one of the best hikes near Waikiki. It’s also one of the most popular waterfall hikes on the island of Oahu.

This jungle-style trail through Manoa Valley is sure to satisfy your inner Tarzan without any actual danger stuff. It’s kid-friendly and a fun hike for the whole family.

Read More: 5 Easy Oahu Hikes for Those Who Love Nature But Hate Hiking

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to book through these links, I receive a small commission, which I will likely blow on mai tais, poke, and shave ice.  All of this internet voodoo takes place at no additional cost to you. 

About Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is a 150 ft waterfall, accessible via the Manoa Falls Trail. It’s an impressive waterfall due to its sheer size. However, the actual water flow here varies quite a bit.

After heavy rain, it can be quite impressive. But for much of the year, it’s more of the trickle you see in these photos.

Manoa Falls Easy Waterfall Hike Oahu
The payoff of the Manoa Falls hike

Generally speaking, the wetter winter months offer better water flow. But it’s still worth the hike in the summer (when these pictures were taken).

The jungle vibe of Manoa Falls has long captivated both hikers and the film industry. The area has been used as a filming location for everything from Jurassic Park to TV shows like Lost and Hawaii Five-O.

It also makes my list of 25 Awesome Things to Do on Oahu That Won’t Cost You a Dime🌺 (unless you have to park!).

So let’s cover what you need to know before you tackle the Manoa Falls Hike…

First, You’ll Need a Car

Sure, you can book a tour to get to Manoa Falls. If you like the idea of a guided tour to better understand the local flora and fauna, this Manoa Waterfall Hike with Local Guide is an excellent choice.

But honestly, there’s no need to book a tour. It’s easy to get there on your own with a rental car. For rental cars in Hawaii, it pays to go local. That’s why I always recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental.

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Driving on Molokai Hawaii

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For rental cars in Hawaii, go to the local experts. They’ll find you the best rate among all the major companies with no booking fees. And their customer support is top-notch.

The Manoa Falls Trail

Here’s the need-to-know info for the Manoa Falls hike:

Manoa Falls Trail Quick Facts

LocationManoa area (15 minutes from Waikiki)
CostNo entrance fee, just parking
Parking fee$7
HoursTrail open daily, 6am-6pm
Elevation & Distance1.6 miles roundtrip, 800-foot elevation
TimeAbout 1-1.5 hours
What You’ll SeeTrees, plants, and a WATERFALL 🌳💦

How Long Do You Need for the Manoa Falls Hike?

On average, hikers spend about 1-2 hours exploring the trail, the bamboo grove, and marveling at the waterfall. Two hours is enough time to allow for a leisurely pace and ample photo opportunities. 

What to Bring to Hike Manoa Falls

  • Water: Stay hydrated throughout the hike. 
  • Appropriate Footwear: Sturdy hiking shoes are best, tennis shoes are OK, flip flops are a no-go. 
  • Bug Spray: This is a jungle hike and you may need it. 
  • An Extra Pair of Shoes – A change of shoes for the rest of the day might be in order when the trail is muddy.
  • Rain Gear – The Manoa Valley is known for its rainforest climate, so light rain is common. Pack a rain jacket!

What to Expect on the Manoa Falls Trail

The trail is approximately 1.6 miles round trip and takes most people 1-2 hours to complete.

Manoa Falls Trail Head Oahu Hawaii
The Trail Head

The trail is a well-trodden path that can be muddy and slippery, especially after a rain. Proper footwear is a must.

The Manoa Falls Trail is considered an easy to moderate hike. It’s accessible for hikers of all levels, including families with kids. The elevation gain is gradual, about 800 feet, making it a gentle climb to the waterfall.

What to See on the Trail

You’ll walk through a tropical rainforest, surrounded by towering trees, bamboo forests, and an abundance of ferns.

The dense jungle foliage means you’re in the shade for most of the hike which can be a nice thing on a hot summer day in Hawaii. The Manoa Valley is a good example of one of Hawaii’s many microclimates.

So even when it’s sunny and dry a few miles away in Waikiki, it’s often raining here.

Because of its shady jungle vibe, most of the trail here doesn’t get much sun. Which makes it a great place to beat the heat on a sunny day.

The downside of all that shade is that the trail conditions are often damp and muddy. And that can make it slippery in some places.

My advice is to wear good shoes (not flip flops!) and take extra care going back down the trail if you want to avoid landing on your backside.

Along the trail, there’s an old shipping container turned into a makeshift bridge. There are also plenty of benches along the way to stop and take a break if you need it.

Manoa Falls Trail Shipping Container Bridge Oahu Hawaii
Shipping Container Bridge

There’s also a fun photo op where an old banyan tree’s intertwined branches create a “frame” around a man-made chair.

This is a cute place to stop for a photo break.

Manoa Falls Trail Banyan Bench Photo Op Oahu Hawaii
Banyan tree photo op on the trail

Can you swim at Manoa Falls?

While it may look tempting, taking a dip at the base of Manoa Falls is not allowed. The reasons behind this include both safety and environmental concerns.

Despite the obvious warning signs, you will see people down at the base of the waterfall. These people are ignoring a posted sign that warns of falling rocks.

Don’t be these people.  

Manoa Falls Oahu Stay on Trail
Always stay on marked trails

Respect closures and advisories

When hiking in Hawaii, always pay attention to any trail closures or advisories due to hazardous conditions or ongoing preservation efforts. These closures are put in place to protect you and to preserve the environment.

This is especially true at Manoa Falls.

Stick to the marked trails and paths while hiking. Not only can you harm delicate ecosystems, but you’ll increase the risk of an accident or rescue situation. And I’m quite sure making the local news is not on your Hawaii must-do list.

Manoa Falls Oahu Trail Dangers
Please, just don’t

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long is the hike to Manoa Falls? The Manoa Falls trail stretches for about 1.6 miles round trip and typically takes an average of 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace. 
  • Is Manoa Falls worth the hike? Absolutely, the scenic views and the stunning 150 ft waterfall at the end make the Manoa Falls hike a rewarding experience for many. 
  • How much does it cost to go to Manoa Falls? There’s no entrance fee for the hike itself, but parking at the Manoa Falls parking lot costs $7. 
  • Is there parking at Manoa Falls? Yes, you can park at the Paradise Park/Manoa Falls Trail parking lot for $7. 
  • Is there food at Manoa Falls? Technically, no. But the Rainbow’s End Snack Shop near the parking lot is a good place to grab water or a shave ice and hit the restrooms before or after your hike. They also sell bug spray.
  • Do you need hiking shoes for Manoa Falls? Yes, sturdy footwear is recommended due to the trail’s occasionally muddy and slippery conditions. 
  • Which is better, Manoa Falls or Waimea Falls? Both offer unique experiences; Manoa Falls is renowned for its lush trail, while Waimea Falls provides a more accessible path and the opportunity to swim. Waimea Falls is better for younger kids because it’s an easier trail and less slippery. 
  • Is Manoa Falls kid-friendly? Yes, the trail to Manoa Falls is considered family-friendly, but do keep an eye on children due to the trail’s uneven and wet sections. 
Best Oahu Hikes Manoa Falls Hike Waikiki
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And that’s a wrap!

Manoa Falls is the closest waterfall to Waikiki and one of Oahu’s best hikes. Be sure to add it to your itinerary when you visit Oahu.

P.S. If you’ve worked up a serious appetite with all this talk of hiking, I can help you with that, too:

7 Divinely Delicious Waikiki Breakfast Spots You Just Have to Try

The 10 Best Cheap Eats in Waikiki (#4 is literally a hidden gem!)

And for more great things to do on Oahu, start here:

Why Hiking Diamond Head Crater is an Oahu Must-Do

The 7 Absolute Best Things to Do on Oahu (if time is short!)

Escape the Oahu Crowds with a Visit to the Byodo-In Temple

A Guide to Oahu’s Insta-Famous Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

The Foolproof Guide to Hanauma Bay for Snorkeling

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