Many remember Manoa Falls from the movie, Jurassic Park. But although dinosaurs no longer roam here, the hike at the back of the valley is still a popular destination for those eager to see a waterfall. Mind you, it’s not just any waterfall; it’s the tallest and most accessible one on Oahu – at 150 feet.
So, you want to see a waterfall?
The beginning of the trial takes hikers through a vast, open space of greenery, with surrounding trees as tall as the falls itself. Close your eyes and imagine the lush forest during a more prehistoric time, when velociraptors and t-rexes rambled throughout the giant ferns and fallen trees. Or…perhaps this is more like a scene from Jurassic Park. Lost fans might even recall seeing this valley on the television series, as it had also been a common location for filming.
VIDEO: A slippery day at Manoa Falls.
The trail is about 1.5 miles roundtrip and can be slippery if it’s been raining, which is often the case in a rainforest. Don’t be fooled, however, by the weather. It could be sunny in Waikiki but rainy in the valley, so it’s best to be prepared. Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring a poncho/umbrella and insect repellent. (Mosquitoes love wet weather.)
Overall, the hike is easy but does have slight inclines from time to time. I’d say it’s most challenging on rainy or muddy days because of how slippery the trail may get. There’s a section of the hike that looks like a path of horizontal steps; be extra careful here, as it’s easy to lose your balance. But I can assure you, it’ll be all worth it once you reach the waterfall!
Banyans have many purposes. This particular tree is an entryway into the forest.
The water cascades below from the mountain into a small pool. Usually after heavy rains, the falls is raging. But if you go during the hot summer months, you may only find a slim trickle. I wouldn’t suggest swimming in the pool in case of rock slides and leptospirosis contamination. It’s best just to take a couple of photos and enjoy the serene valley of Manoa.
MANOA FALLS HIKE • 3860 Manoa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822 • 1.5-miles roundtrip • Difficulty: Easy • Hike with a buddy, water, snacks, cell & flashlight • Parking in lot; $5 (visitor) $3 (locals)