Girl in front of waterfall
August 9, 2018

5 of the Best Oahu Waterfalls

Gorgeous Oahu waterfalls are not to be missed during your visit to the Island.

One of the most popular things to do in Oahu is Hawaii is Hiking Oahu Waterfalls.

This article is not a complete list of Oahu Waterfalls, and it is not a list of the best 5 Oahu Waterfalls, these are just 5 of our favorite Oahu Waterfalls – after all, how can you pick a favorite.  There are so many different types of waterfalls, small, bigger, some require minimal hikes and others require a bit more of an effort, but in all cases, you will be rewarded with a beautiful natural waterfall and of course a perfect photo opp.

We’ll be publishing a complete list of all Oahu Waterfalls in a future article.

Waterfall pool on Oahu

Waimea Falls
Located in Waimea Valley, Waimea Falls is in a beautiful botanical park on Oahu that includes a variety of cultural activities and attractions you can enjoy before or after visiting the falls. The park charges a minimal park admission fee.

Waimea Falls, also known as Waihi Falls, is located on the Oahu’s North Shore. Waimea Falls is a very accessible waterfall. 

Waimea Falls is 45-feet high and you can swim in the fresh water pool and you can also jump off the falls into to the water below if you like.   The park offers changing rooms, a lifeguard on duty and free life vests. Across the road from Waimea Falls is Waimea Bay Beach Park, which is famous for the sizeable surf you can witness during the winter months where the water is perfect for snorkeling, swimming and rock jumping if you like.

How to find it: Driving from Waikiki, take H-1 Highway West.  Merge onto H-2 Highway, and merge onto Kamehameha Highway.  Turn right onto Waimea Valley Road and park in the center parking lot and enter the park and enjoy!

Waimano Falls
Waimano Falls is accessible from a 3-mile hike near a residential neighborhood, but do not let the short distance fool you, there is a part of this hike called Cardiac Hill, but the destination is worth the effort.

The hike will take you through a canopy of greenery and forest that guides you to the beautiful falls. 

The falls are most active in the winter, rainy months so if you plan to make the 15-to-20-foot jump from the top of the falls into the swimming pool area below, be sure to check the depth of the water.  To access the jump you will need to traverse down a short rack face a strong rope that is in place.

How to find it: Driving from Waikiki, take the H-1 Highway West towards Pearl City and merge onto Moanalua Road. Turn on Waimano Home Road and turn left onto Komo Mai Drive and park in the residential neighborhood and look for the signs directing you to the start of the hike to the falls.

Maunawili Falls
Maunawili Falls is accessible from a 2.5-mile round trip hike long the Koolua Mountain Range just off of the Pali Highway, and leads to this beautiful 20-foot waterfall and deep swimming hole below.  Maunawili Falls is one of the most popular of the Oahu Falls so the trails can be quite busy on the weekends or any day where the weather is clear.

To reach Maunawili Falls you’ll get a little dirty and wet, so plan on getting your shoes and car floors dirty.  To get to the falls you’ll need to cross the Maunawili stream a couple of times and trek through coffee plants, fruit groves, Kukui Nut Trees, and Monkeypod Trees which makes for a scenic hike. 

If you try cliff jumping off these falls into the pools below, you will enjoy this relatively easy jump.  You can choose from various heights by climbing over large rocks to the jumping off areas.

How to find it: Driving from Waikiki, take the H-1 Highway West and merge onto the Pali Highway. Turn right onto Auloa Road and park on the side of the road in the residential neighborhood.  Look for the signs directing you to the start of the hike to the falls.

Waterfall on Oahu

Manoa Falls
Manoa Falls is one of the most popular hikes on Oahu due to the relatively easy 1.6-mile hike that is on a well-maintained trail, and the payoff is a magnificent 150-foot waterfall that pours down a massive rock wall. The trail is well maintained due to the amount of foot traffic leading to this popular Oahu attraction. 

This trail was also popular with movie and TV productions, and scenes from the original “Jurassic Park” and the TV show, “Lost” were filmed here.

Manoa Falls Trail is a short taxi or Uber ride (about $10) from Waikiki. 
During the winter months, Manoa Falls, and all waterfalls will be much more active, and have a heavier water flow compared to summer months.

Hiking to any of these beautiful Oahu Waterfalls is among the most popular Oahu Activities. 
How to find it: Driving from Waikiki, going westbound, take H-1 to the Wilder exit. Continue to Punahou and Manoa Road Park in the Paradise Park lot for $5 or park in the residential area and walk to the trial head following the signs.

Lulumahu Falls
Lulumahu Falls is just off the Pali Highway and a great half-day adventure. The 2-mile trail is relatively flat and only takes about 30 minutes before you reach the stunning, tiered waterfall. There is a small pool at the bottom of the waterfall you can swim in.

Lulumahu Falls requires a permit to access the hike, and the path is uneven and muddy, but it’s worth the effort. The hike will take you through a dense bamboo forest, through the ruins of King Kamehameha III’s summer home and just follow the stream to reach the magnificent 50-ft falls.  

How to find it: From Waikiki, take the H-1 Highway West and merge onto the Pali Highway. Turn at Nuuanu Pali Drive and park on the dirt path and walk to the trial head following the signs.

When you visit Oahu, be sure to plan a day to enjoy visiting one or two of the Oahu Waterfall Hikes - these are among the most popular Things to do on Oahu. 

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