A Tropical, Luscious Hike to Manoa Falls on the Island of O’ahu, Hawaii

The Manoa Falls trail on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu is a 1.6-mile hiking trail through lush, tropical rainforest. At the end of the trail is Manoa Falls, a 150 ft. waterfall that drops off of a steep, flat cliff face into a small natural pool surrounded by rocks and boulders. The hike is exquisite.

The trail is often muddy due to the rain and moisture that prevails in the Manoa Valley. The upside is that the moisture is what makes this area so beautiful and lush. The hike is fairly easy to do and is also kid-friendly but does require stepping up and down stairs and rocks along the way. There is a section that meanders through a bamboo forest and parts of the trail are accessible to the stream. The trail can also get quite crowded at times so be prepared to stop and go along the way on the busier days.

During the two years that I lived on O’ahu and had my art gallery in Waikiki, I never had the chance to hike it, but since then, as a visitor to the island,  I’ve had the opportunity to hike it on two different occasions. Each time the hike was as stunning as the other. Each experience is different based on the weather and trail conditions. When it rains, the different hues of green really pop as if the whole rainforest is glazed and the tropical environment turns into a manifested technicolor dream.

The trailside stream will trickle or flow heavily depending on the weather conditions.

The trailhead is a short drive from Waikiki and the H1 highway in the Manoa Valley and parking is available near the trailhead as well. There was a $5 cost for us to park for the day and we even had time after our hike to visit the Lyon Arboretum, which is right next to the trail. The Lyon Arboretum is managed by the University of Hawaii and offers hiking trails as well as a close look at some incredibly beautiful and interesting plant life.

The lush bamboo forest that the trail carves through.
Rain and moisture causes the trail to be muddy at times.

When it rains, the different hues of green really pop as if the whole rainforest is glazed and the tropical environment turns into a manifested technicolor dream. 

On a good weather day expect a lot of locals and tourists on the hike and at the waterfall. It is a popular trail.
One of many exotic, unique flowers and plants to marvel at while at the Lyon Aboretum.

If you’re planning a trip to the island of O’ahu, Hawaii, be sure to add this hike to your itinerary and add on the arboretum next door. You’ll be inspired and nourished by the lush beauty of the surreal landscape and scenery of the entire area.

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* All text and images are copyrighted and protected by copyright laws. Use or reproduction of any kind are prohibited. All rights reserved. © 2019 Carolyn Quan / The Happy Little Bird / Dream World Media LLC. 

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