Best Waterfall Hikes in Oahu

Taking a break is very necessary as it keeps us fresh and functional. We as humans love to go on a trip whenever we have free time. While planning for a holiday trip, Hawaii always remains constant on our list. Once you reach Hawaii you will get mesmerized by the amazing looking tropical natural beauty. If you love to have a little adventure on your trip then you should go on hiking trails. You need to plan your trip properly so that you can also enjoy the scenic beauty of waterfalls. So, if you are visiting Hawaii then go to Oahu from where you will get a surreal view of the several waterfalls located in this region. Along with the waterfall the amazing beauty surrounding it which includes forests, wildlife will not fail to amaze you. Now without wasting any further time let’s talk about some of the best waterfall hikes in Oahu that you can go while in Oahu.

Best Waterfall Hikes in Oahu

1Maunawili Falls

Are you looking for an adrenaline rush in your body by going on any one of the best waterfall hikes in Oahu, then you should put Maunawili falls hike right up there on the list. You can reach the starting point of this hike by car but there is no particular parking space where you can park your car. So, you will have to park in the residential area surrounding the falls. All along the year, the way by which you can reach the waterfall remains slippery because of mud. The waterfall which is the center of attraction is not more than 20 feet tall. It may be small in height but the beauty of it is breathtaking. You will be able to finish the trek within 2 to 3 hours. Go along or take your family with you, we can promise that you will enjoy it there.

2Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is situated on the backside of the Manoa Valley which is pretty close to Waikiki. If you are looking for the best waterfall hikes in Oahu which will be a conglomeration of the splendid beauty of nature and less time-consuming then this is the best option for you. Within half an hour, you will reach the 150 feet tall waterfall. On the way you will come across bamboo forests, long trees which almost prevent the sunlight from entering, and in contrast to that several colorful flowering trees are also there. If you are still not able to make up your mind whether to go there or not, let us tell you why. The greenery will be a treat to your eye and most of the time of the year it rains around this part of Oahu, so you will get to smell the rain-soaked earth and the valley will also remain fresh and green at this point of time. Manoa waterfall is also aided by this rainwater. A parking spot is there where you can park your car before you start hiking just by spending 5 USD.

3Koloa Gulch

A lot of energy is required to go on this hiking trail as the 8 miles long journey can be strenuous. Your journey will start from the open ridge of the Koolau range. You will pass through the Koloa stream which is surrounded by exotic fruit trees. Several waterfalls will also be there on your way and underneath those waterfalls, natural pools are also present. If you are looking for solace and peace, you will get that here. As we have mentioned earlier that the hike is long so naturally the roundtrip is also time-consuming and approximately you can finish it within 8 hours. No matter how experienced you are you should go on this trail when there will be no rain and high wind. To ensure whether you are eligible or not to go on this hike you need to get a permit from the Laie Shopping Centre.

4Kapena Falls

Kapena falls hike is comparatively shorter compared to the hikes that so far we have discussed in this list. In case you have children with you then they might not like walking a long distance, that is what makes it one of the best waterfall hikes in Oahu for families. It is also slightly different from the rest. You will be able to finish the ride in one day and in reality, you will not require a full day as this hike is only 0.5 miles long (roundtrip). The area around the waterfall is surrounded by deep forest. A natural pool is also there beneath the waterfall which is approximately 15 feet tall. You can jump from the cliff and swim in the pool after hiking. Always keep one thing in mind that this is a sacred area so you need to be respectful all the time and do not hurt the sentiment of the local people. Do not forget to take a look at Petroglyphs which is a Kaupe mythical creature that is half human and half dog. Legend says that these creatures used to live in and around Kapena falls. Sculpture of this mythical creature is present there inside of a cage which is also another tourist attraction.

5Wailua Falls

In case you are not a seasoned hiker and looking for an easy hiking trail then the best waterfall hike in Oahu is Waipuhia falls hike. The hike is only 0.6 miles long which makes it one of the shortest hikes in Oahu. The starting point of this hike is located just beside the Pali Highway. You should go on this hike on such a day when there will be high wind in that area because at that time the water will be flowing upwards instead of going downwards. This happens because of the force of the wind which pushes the water in the upwards direction. You will face no difficulty in reaching the top point as you will be walking through a paved road. While walking you will come across some of the endangered plant species which have been preserved inside of the Oahu State Park.

6Lulumahu Falls

If you are fearless enough and your soul is just seeking adventures then this is one of the best waterfall hikes in Oahu for you. You can reach the place by driving through the Pali Highway. After that, take a 30 minutes hike and you will reach the Lulumahu falls. This hike is not sanctioned by the Hawaiian government as the land inside the hiking area is not fully owned by the government and it is partially private. You might see a few ‘No Trespassing’ boards but to get the best you need to be a little ignorant about these signs. Before reaching the cascade Lulumahu waterfall which is 50 feet tall you will come across a very old reservoir, stone steps formed by nature, and also a lush green forest which is full of various kinds of trees.

7Likeke Falls

Like falls is the official name of quite popular Old Pali Highway falls. This falls in the category of very few two-tiered waterfalls in the whole of Hawaii. Quite easy to reach the waterfall but there is a high chance of getting lost if you do not carry a map while hiking. Two routes are there that you can use to reach the waterfall. One route is comparatively longer than the other. If you take the first route which starts from the Pali lookout you will finish the trail within one and a half hours. On the other hand, by taking the second route you will be able to reach the destination within 15 minutes. For this route, you need to start from the bottom one end of the Ko’olau Golf Club. so, it is completely up to you which route you want to take. We will suggest that if you don’t want to hassle and just want to enjoy the beauty of the waterfall then you should take the shorter route. In case you want to get lost amidst nature and want to get a sneak peek of other waterfalls on the way you should take the longer route. But you have to be very fit and agile to get there by following this route.

8Waimano Falls

Swimming lovers should put Waimano falls on top of their list as several pools will come your way while hiking. You can reach the waterfall by hiking for 1 to 2 hours from the Manana Trail located in Aiea’s Komo Mai Drive. The valley surrounding it presents a picturesque beauty of nature and you can enjoy it thoroughly on your way to the waterfall. Unlike most of the best waterfall hikes in Oahu which we have mentioned here, to reach this waterfall you need to go downhill which means while returning you need to go uphill. The highest point of the waterfall is covered by Moses which makes it look even more beautiful. The main pool situated right underneath the tall waterfall is quite deep and the water is really cold which levels up the fun. Due to the presence of a swinging rope, you will be able to hear the water rushing at a rapid pace which is of course fascinating.

9Laie Falls

Both nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts will enjoy the journey as there is something for everyone. Laie falls hike is ideal for families due to several reasons but most importantly this made our list of best waterfall hikes in Oahu because of the atmosphere that one can experience surrounding in and around the waterfall. You will feel like visiting the countryside as numerous fruit trees such as strawberries, guavas are present here. A permit needs to be issued from the Hawaii Reserves located on the northeastern side of the Very famous Laie Shopping Centre. The waterfall is too tired and the total height of it is only 15 feet but that does not do any injustice to the scenic beauty of the waterfall. It is a long hike to be specific you need to spend at least 4 hours to finish this 7 miles hiking distance. A pool has also been created by mother nature where you can swim after finishing the uphill journey. You also need not worry about food as an ample number of restaurants are present there. You can take your loved ones after finishing the hike for enjoyment.

10Kaipapau Falls

You need to have a lot of experience if you want to go to the Kaipapau falls hike. There are some tricks which you need to know as the journey is difficult. An example will make it clear for you as you need to climb steep rocks approximately 40 times throughout this trail. You will come across a dense forest and inside of the forest you will also see bunkers that were used during wars. The total distance that you need to cover on a roundtrip in this hiking trail is close to 8 miles. You need to check the weather before going on this trail as rough weather is not suitable for hikers. On a fine day, after crossing the small stream that comes on the way you will get a jaw-dropping view of the 90 feet tall Kaipapau waterfall. This is ranked as one of the best waterfall hikes in Oahu for the people traveling solo or couples but not families as kids will not be allowed by the Hawaiian government to go on this trail until and unless they are beyond a certain age.

Final Words

If seeing an awesome-looking Hawaiian waterfall is on your bucket list then you must do it in the upcoming year, 2022. Now as we have reached the end of this article, you possibly have found the best waterfall hikes in Oahu. So, don’t waste an opportunity to go on any one of the waterfall hikes when you visit Hawaii. Your wanderlust will get fulfilled by going on any one of the above-mentioned hiking trails where you will come very close to nature and also get a chance to rejuvenate yourself.


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