8 Best Waterfalls on Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu has breathtaking waterfalls that you can get to by hiking on trails in the rain forest. The best time to visit the waterfalls is during the rainy season which is between November and March. In the summer the waterfalls are still nice but won’t have as much water. Explore waterfalls on Oahu by choosing from these 8 best waterfalls on Oahu, Hawaii.
Tips for Visiting Waterfalls on Oahu
- Be quiet and respectful, especially when parking in a neighborhood to hike.
- Trails on Oahu can be muddy and slippery, so make sure to wear shoes that have traction and that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Hiking on Oahu can take longer than expected due to the terrain, mud, incline, and weather. Make sure to take this into account when starting your hike so you don’t get stuck in the dark.
- Always stay on the trail!
- Pack it out- don’t leave anything behind.
- Don’t leave any valuables in your car.
What to Bring With You for Waterfall Hikes
- Carry a hiking bag to hold your water bottle and other belongings. This Gregory daypack is the perfect bag for hiking on Oahu.
- Bring a flashlight with you incase the hike takes longer than expected.
- Pack a raincoat, especially in the winter when it can rain heavily. Even if it is not raining when you start, a rainstorm could pass through while you are hiking.
- Bring enough water to stay hydrated on your hike on Oahu. This Stanley Water Bottle is light to carry and stays cold for 12 hours.
- Bring a Dry Bag for your valuables in case it starts to rain. I always bring this 10L dry bag with me to protect my camera and other valuables.
- Always bring snacks!
1. Lulumahu Falls
Length: 1.6 miles round trip
Parking: Parking lot on the side of Pali Highway
Lulumahu Falls is one of the best waterfalls on Oahu offering a beautiful hike that brings you through a bamboo forest to this tall waterfall. There is not a deep enough pool to swim in so there is no need to bring your bathing suit. The trail starts next to the open gate in the parking lot. You will start walking in a bamboo forest and then when there is a break in the forest you will take a left and walk on the road. This will lead you to another bamboo forest where it gets very muddy. When you arrive at a stream you will have to carefully cross by using the rocks or going through the stream. Follow the trail on the right side of the stream until you see another trail across the stream and cross back. Be very careful while crossing the stream as the rocks may be slippery.
2. Manoa Falls
Length: 1.7 miles round trip
Parking: Parking lot with fee
Manoa Falls is a large waterfall located in Manoa Valley. If possible, try to visit on a weekday as this is the most popular waterfall on Oahu so it gets very busy during the weekend. You cannot swim in the pool below it, but it is a great waterfall to enjoy from the recently built viewpoint. The trail to Manoa Falls takes you uphill through a beautiful rain forest.
Interested in spending time relaxing on the beach on Oahu? Here are the 10 best beaches on Oahu.
3. Waimano Falls
Length: 3 miles round trip
Parking: Free street parking along the street near the trailhead
Waimano Falls is a beautiful clear blue waterfall that drops into a pool that you can swim in. This is one of the best waterfalls on Oahu, Hawaii as it is very scenic and has a descent size pool that you can cool down in. The hike can be slippery so many sure you wear shoes with good traction. The trail starts on a paved road, which later turns into dirt and rocks. Don’t miss the sign to the right that directs you downhill to Waimano Falls. When you get to a point where you can go either right or left, make sure to continue following the ribbons and go left. You will reach a river that is flowing from the waterfall. Follow the river upstream, and you will first see a small waterfall with a small pool. Make sure to continue up the trail to see a view of the full Waimano Falls with the bigger pool. If you choose to swim in the pool keep in mind that it does require a dangerous climb down into the pool.
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4. Waipuliani Falls
Length: 2 miles round trip
Parking: Park on side of the road after exiting Pali highway
The trail to Waipuliani Falls is a nice path through a bamboo forest and then a pine forest. Similar to other waterfall trails, this trail can get muddy and slippery. There is very minimal incline to get to the waterfall and you walk beside a stream for about half of the hike. Waipuliani Falls is tall and skinny. There is a cave right next to the waterfall that you can climb into if you feel comfortable. Make sure you follow the pink, yellow, or orange ribbons so that you do not get lost. There isn’t a pool at the bottom of the waterfall to swim in, which makes it a great off the beaten bath waterfall to visit and one of the best waterfalls on Oahu.
5. Likeke Falls
Length: 0.8 miles round trip
Parking: Free parking on the side of the road outside the golf course gate
Likeke falls is a great waterfall on Oahu if you are short on time. After finding a safe parking spot on the side of the road outside of the golf course, walk up the road into the golf course. The trail starts at the back of the parking lot towards the left. The trail is easy and short with great views of the ridges and a unique waterfall.
6. Waimea Falls
Length: 1.5 miles round trip
Parking: Waimea Falls is located in the Waimea Valley Botanical Garden so you will have to pay the fee to enter the botanical garden and can park in the parking lot.
Waimea Falls is a 45-foot waterfall located in Waimea Valley botanical garden in the north shore of Oahu. The walking path to the waterfall is paved and guides you through a beautiful botanical garden. It is possible to swim in the pool below the falls but it is a requirement to wear a life vest while in the water which you can rent there. Waimea Valley may be closed certain days, so make sure to check the Waimea Valley website ahead of your visit to confirm when it is open.
7. Maunawili Falls
Length: 2.8 miles round trip
Parking: Street parking where signs allow
[Unfortunately this trail is now closed until summer 2023, or when the project is finished]
Maunawili Falls is a big waterfall where you can swim in the pool below. The trail starts from a residential neighborhood and takes you up to a nice viewpoint before going downhill towards the stream. It can be very muddy and slippery so make sure to wear shoes with good traction. Continue up the stream to get to the waterfall. You can either go through the stream or use the rocks and cross where you see a trail across the way. The rocks can be slippery so be very careful. This waterfall can get very busy as people come to swim in the pool.
8. Aihualama Falls
Length: 1.2 miles round trip
Parking: Lyon Arboretum parking lot, reservation required ahead of time to enter
Aihualama Falls is one of the smaller waterfalls on Oahu, located in Lyon Arboretum, a public botanical garden near Manoa Falls. This botanical garden is beautiful and definitely worth a visit. You must make a reservation ahead of time in order to enter. The short walking path through the botanical garden offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains and colorful, tropical plants. The waterfall can by dry in the summer so only visit in the winter or when it has recently rained.
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