Hawaii’s waterfalls are stunning, forceful, and alive.
Beautiful climbs and waterfalls abound on Oahu! While you might spend hours following streams and chasing waterfalls, several well-marked hikes will lead you to some stunning waterfalls.
Only a few waterfalls in Oahu, such as Waimea Falls, Likeke Falls, and Kapena Falls, are easily accessible.
Hiking to a waterfall is a fantastic way to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It’s time to pack your hiking gear and prepare to hike some of the island’s most beautiful paths.
So, which waterfalls are worth visiting on foot?
Some of Oahu’s waterfalls are only a short stroll away, while others take a couple of hours.
There’s waterfall hike Oahu waiting for you if you’re feeling brave and up for a bit of trekking!
These are the Best Waterfall Hike Oahu that I recommend to visitors after living on the island for several years
1. Manoa Falls
- The 1.5-mile Manoa Falls climb leads you through the jungle to the base of a stunning 150-foot waterfall.
- For a good reason, Manoa Falls is one of the most popular hikes on Oahu.
- There is convenient parking ($5 per car), a well-marked trail, and a spectacular waterfall straight shot away.
- Because Manoa Falls is such a popular trek, it can get quite congested.
- Manoa is also quite damp and rainy, so expect a lot of mud and rain. On this one, waterproof shoes and clothing are always a plus!
Note: It’s not uncommon to see and hear people at the top of the falls when visiting Manoa Falls. Above Manoa Falls, there is a succession of waterfalls. The waterfall just above Manoa is well-known for its stunning scenery. Upper Manoa Falls is famous for its seemingly endless pool over the valley below.
The trail to Manoa Falls’ summit is quite hazardous! It would help if you scaled the side of a frequently damp wall and lacked the appropriate handholds or ropes to assist you in reaching the summit.
2. Waimano Falls
- There are multiple waterfalls with pools of water and a rope swing high above!
- Waimano Falls’ waterfalls resemble an adult playground. Waimano Falls is a little longer (3.5 miles) trek that requires more cardio endurance to accomplish.
- In a valley, this waterfall can be found.
- The hike begins with a descent into the valley. As you retrace your steps back to the road, you’ll notice the burn. As you travel up an incline of tree vine-covered stairs that lead out of the valley, you will feel the burn.
- The Manana trail is located at the residential section on Koma Mai Drive in Aiea. The hiking hike to the waterfall will take about 1 or 2 hours.
- The valley is beautiful, and you’ll be able to appreciate nature’s majesty as you make your way to the falls.
- Going to Waimono Falls is a downward journey; thus, returning is an uphill, dubbed “cardio hill” because of this.
- There’s a swinging rope near the pool, and you can hear the water rushing. The bottom pool is pretty deep so that you may jump in right away, but it is chilly. It’s one of the most excellent swimming spots on Oahu.
3. Waimea Falls
- On the North Shore, Waimea Falls is located within Waimea Valley. It’s a one-mile trek that’s excellent for youngsters. Your day will be jam-packed with beautiful sights, including some rare and endangered plant species, thanks to the botanical gardens, which are an attraction in and of themselves.
- The park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., seven days a week. Adult admission is $18.
- The 30-foot pool beneath Waimea is an excellent place to swim, depending on the weather.
- Call (808) 638-7766 to inquire about the pool’s current swimming status (regular swimming, little swimming, or no swimming).
- All swimmers must wear life jackets, which are provided by the park.
- The Waimea Valley Trail, more of a nature walk, is a short hike to a spectacular waterfall on Oahu’s North Shore.
- It’s a beautiful and exciting walk that leads you into the jungle and concludes with a waterfall.
- The track is paved and straightforward to follow, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
- You must wear a life jacket and pay the cost if you wish to swim.
4. Maunawili Falls
- Cliff jumps into a gorgeous pool of water from the side of a waterfall!
- Maunawili Falls is a 3.5-mile hike in Kailua with lovely jungle vistas, a view of the Koolau Mountains, and a pleasant and calm cascade at the end.
- This trail has a moderate difficulty rating. To get to the falls and pool, you’ll have to hike over tree roots, through a lot of muck, and cross a river numerous times.
- Another beautiful swimming waterfall can be found south of Kailua in the hamlet of Maunawili.
- This Oahu waterfall climb is muddy most of the year, so dress appropriately.
- Locals are inclined to jump into the water from various cliffs—do so at your own risk! Even though this hike gets a little muddy, it is still accessible.
- Maunawili Falls is a famous waterfall on Oahu, and the trek is suitable for both novices and expert hikers.
- The walk follows a creek to the end, ending with a bit of cascading waterfall.
- Use an environmentally friendly mosquito repellant if you don’t want to get eaten alive.
- At Maunawili Falls, swimming is legal, and there are a few areas where you can jump in.
- The trail is well-shaded by giant trees, but it is constantly muddy and slippery; there is no way to avoid getting your feet wet, so wear adequate footwear.
5. Likeke Falls
- The Pali Hwy Lookout is popular with travelers who want to see the island’s easterly Windward side.
- Few tourists take the time to go down the old Pali Road below the overlook to see the lovely Likeke Falls.
- While driving to this stunning 20-foot Oahu waterfall, a fantastic adventure journey down broken pieces of the historic Pali Highway and through a lush jungle trail will keep you alert as the view constantly changes.
- The Likeke Falls Trail is a short hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall with a pool at its base, perfect for a quick plunge to cool down.
- The hike is only around a mile long, making it ideal for individuals who don’t have much free time.
- Wear appropriate footwear and keep an eye out for path signs since the trail can get quite muddy.
6. Laie Falls
- If you’re looking for a little more adventure, Laie Falls features an 8-mile hike leading up to the cascade.
- Keep in mind that because there is no camping along the trail, you’ll need to be prepared to hike 16 somewhat challenging kilometers in a single day.
- The terrain transforms from an open lava-rock field to a deep jungle throughout the trip, making this adventure feel like an actual voyage.
- The trail starts just outside of Laie’s town limits. Take Poohaili Street until it splits into three nameless roads to get there.
- Take the leftmost road and then the next branch to the right. At the end of this road, the trail begins.
- Laie Falls is a lovely waterfall with views of the Pacific Ocean that rushes down into a tiny pool.
- The falls are located on Oahu’s North Shore, in the shadow of the Ko’olau mountain range.
- The journey to Laie Falls takes around 1.5 hours round trip and is reasonably straightforward, although the last 2 km are a bit harder and need some rock climbing and balancing to reach the falls.
- The trail to the falls is on private property, so you’ll need to get a permit.
7. Koloa Gulch
- Because the Koloa Gulch trek is long, hikers must conserve their energy.
- It’s an 8-mile trail that starts on the Koolau Range’s open ridge.
- Before reaching the bifurcation, the trail involves rock hopping over 20 times through the Koloa Stream, fruit trees, minor waterfalls, a water pool, and native flora. There is a pool and a small waterfall; to the right, smaller pools before reaching the vast, 100-foot waterfall.
- It’s a challenging trek, but it’s well worth it if you want to enjoy a beautiful waterfall hike Oahu.
- The whole trip could take up to 8 hours, depending on how fast you go along the trail.
- This trail hike is recommended if you are a fit and experienced hiker. Depending on their age, you can trek the trail with your spouse and possibly with the kids.
8. Kaipapau Falls
- The Kaipapau Falls track is similarly eight miles long. However, it is more complex than the Koloa Gulch trail.
- You’d have to rock hop across the creek around 40 times with the former. Again, the trail is heavily reliant on the weather.
- The walk leads you through a rich and picturesque forest, as well as through abandoned bunkers.
- Once you’ve made it across the creek, you’ll be greeted by a beautiful 90-foot waterfall that will leave you and your children speechless.
- This is a trek where it is highly advised that you bring along experienced hikers with you.
- As long as you’re experienced, fit, and the kids are of acceptable age, it’s a terrific hike to do with the family.
9. Kapena Falls
- The hike is much shorter than Koloa Gulch and Kaipapau Falls, but it is appropriate if you have very young children who do not enjoy hiking for long periods.
- The trail is 0.5 miles roundtrip and is ideal for a quick morning or afternoon trek with the family.
- The walk is densely forested, and the forest is beautiful; the waterfall is smaller, but it doesn’t lack beauty, towering at only 15 feet tall.
- The pool beneath the waterfall is ideal for cooling down by jumping in and swimming.
- Check out the petroglyphs, which date back to ancient Hawaii and are housed in a small cage.
- Because Kapena Falls is a sacred site, visitors must treat it with respect at all times.
- The great thing about Kapena Falls is that it whisks you away to another universe in a couple of minutes. The short walk to this 15-foot waterfall, located just off the Pali Highway and among the South Shore’s construction, will make you believe you’ve left Honolulu entirely.
- Good to Know: The Kapena Falls Trail can be accessed via Nuuanu Memorial Park. The half-mile path to the falls is frequently strewn. As a result, swimming at the falls is not advised.
10. Waipuhia Falls
- Waipuhia Falls is one of Oahu’s most accessible waterfall treks. It’s only 0.6 miles long.
- Waipuhia Falls is located along the Pali Highway and is suitable for hiking on windy days. This is because Waipuhia Falls is also known as Upside Down Falls.
- The name comes from the illusion generated by the wind’s force against the water, which causes the water to appear to flow upwards rather than downwards, defying gravity.
- Because you must walk along a paved road, this hike is more accessible than most.
- The hike is beautiful, and you’ll see a variety of flowers and plants since the state park protects endangered species.
- Waipuhia Falls is located off the Pali Highway at the end of a short (0.6-mile) hike and is known as the “upside-down falls” due to the way it flows in rain and wind.
- Good to Know: This waterfall can be difficult to spot due to overgrown pathways and a lack of upkeep, and it’s easy to get lost along the route. It is not recommended for inexperienced hikers. Hikers who are adventurous and experienced can follow the directions of earlier visitors:
11. Jackass Ginger Pool
- The Judd Trail, a 1-mile trail leading to Jackass Ginger Pool, is named after Jackass. It’s a little longer than the Manoa Falls hike, but it’s no less thrilling.
- Pine trees, rocky water slides that lead to the swimming hole, a bamboo grove, and a swinging rope may all be found here.
- The path is difficult to navigate due to the numerous rocks, roots, and branches in the area, and it’s well-worn.
- The trail hike would last approximately an hour and a half, including time spent at the Jackass Ginger Pool.
- It’s one of the best waterfall hike Oahu.
- The swimming hole, easily accessible off the Pali Highway, draws this little waterfall (10 feet at most).
- Good to Know: The Ginger Pool is located across the Lulumahu Stream on the Judd Trail. Hike the neighboring Nuuanu Trail and chill off in the Ginger Pool afterward.
12. Lulumahu Falls
- Lulumahu Falls is another fantastic Oahu waterfall climb. It’s directly adjacent to the Pali Highway and takes around 30 minutes to hike.
- Hiking Lulumahu Falls is problematic because it’s officially on private, government land. Thus it’s an unofficial trek.
- Furthermore, the trail’s beginning can be challenging to locate, and you’ll have to disregard the no trespassing warnings.
- However, if you decide to go forward, you’re in for a wild ride! It’s one of Oahu’s most excellent hiking trails for adventurous hikers.
- You’ll ascend stone steps, pass by an old reservoir, and stroll through a verdant forest until you reach a stunning 50-foot cascading waterfall.
- Description: The Pali Highway offers a view of this 50-foot-tall waterfall, luring the adventurous off the road and into the bush. Despite being overgrown at points, the trail is moderately frequented and around 2.5 miles round trip. It should be at the top of your list because it is one of the more accessible waterfalls on O’ahu.
- Hikers must get a day permit from the Hawai’i Division of Forestry and Wildlife since Lulumahu Falls is private.
13. Hamama Falls
- Hamama Falls is unquestionably one of Oahu’s top five waterfall hikes. Hamama Falls is a big, hidden waterfall in Waihe’e Valley’s backside.
- The hike is around 4 miles round trip and takes between 1 and 2 hours, depending on how long you linger at the falls.
- The waterfall is one of the largest on the island of Oahu, despite its lack of fame.
- The swimming hole is around 15 minutes into the climb, where you can cool down and even jump when the water is high enough, making this one of our favorite hikes.
- The track is easy to follow and mainly consists of dirt or gravel, making it a pleasant hike.
- Hamama Falls in Kaneohe is closed because it crosses private land. Cops frequently station themselves near the trailhead to issue citations to violators. It is not recommended that you attempt to climb this waterfall.
14. Ka’au Crater Hike
- This is, without a doubt, one of our favorite walks on the island of Oahu (arguably the best waterfall hike Oahu as well).
- Ka’au Crater is a long but rewarding up-stream hike with three enormous, gorgeous waterfalls (one of which you’ll climb up) and a hidden crater, as well as a spectacular view of the island from the ridgeline.
- This is the hike to take if you want to see all of Hawaii’s top sights in one go.
- The journey begins with a descent into the valley, down to the river, and then ascends to the summit of the Koolau’s over many waterfalls.
- On this monster hike, you’ll come across three waterfalls, one of which you’ll have to climb up the edge of. You can design your hike around your abilities if you want to hike Kaau Crater (or the time you have).
- If you’re a newbie, start hiking to the first waterfall and then turn back.
- Please be aware that this hike is EXTREMELY muddy and slippery, so please be prepared if you want to hike it.
15. Waiakeakua Falls
- The 2.4-mile Pu’u’pia Trail to Waiakeakua Falls is located in Manoa Valley and is suitable for most hikers.
- Despite the short distance, it’s a moderate hike that takes around 2-3 hours to accomplish.
- The largely level trail has one tremendously steep stretch that will have you clinging to tree branches; it’s better to avoid this trail after heavy rain to avoid the slippery terrain.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Que. Is the Manoa Falls hike difficult?
Ans:- It isn’t a particularly tough hike in general. However, you may have to step over tree roots, enormous rocks, and other obstacles. As a result, trekking in strong shoes or hiking sandals (not flip flops!) is essential.
2. Que. How long does a hike to Manoa Falls take?
Ans:- It could take anything from one to two hours. It depends on how quickly you trek, how crowded it is, and whether you’re hiking with children on Oahu. The trail might also be strewn with muck, which can slow you down.
3. Que. Is swimming at Waimea falls safe?
Ans:- Absolutely! There’s even a lifeguard on duty!
4. Que. Does it cost money to hike Waimea falls?
Ans:- Yes. The walk and the cultural park both have an entrance cost. Adults pay $20, while children pay $12. However, if you purchase Toa Luau (on-site), you will receive complimentary access to Waimea Falls.
5. Que. How long is the Waimea Falls Hike?
Ans:- The journey to Waimea Falls is 3.5 kilometers long. The majority of it is paved and relatively flat (although there are some stairs.) A tram is available if anyone in your family is unable or unwilling to hike.
Equally spectacular natural wonders complement Oahu’s breathtaking beaches. Rain creates rainbows and turns everything green, and it also creates beautiful waterfalls. A simple trek on a trail can transport you to a lush green canopy surrounded by chirping birds hidden in the trees. A little further provides you relief from Honolulu’s quick pace, as well as beautiful waterfalls that don’t require an Instagram filter if you have it in you.