Hiking Manoa Falls – Honolulu, Hawaii

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On Tuesday, I shared the story of a few stolen moments in the middle of a stormy rainforest with my husband.  It was romantic and fun and exciting all at the same time.  I did want to share a few things we learned while on that hike.  When we asked a local friend which hike is the best one for a waterfall, she immediately suggested Manoa Falls.  She said there were a lot of other hikes but that if we wanted to see a waterfall, Manoa Falls would not disappoint.  Another reason we chose Manoa Falls was because our friend said that it was a relatively easy hike and I was concerned about my freshly healed broken foot (the first broken foot!).

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Here are a few things to know before you go:

  • Leave the small children at home.  This is not a difficult hike, but I would not bring my four and six year old until they are older.  I probably wouldn’t take my own children until they were at least ten years old and that might be pushing it.  There are a lot of big steps to climb up and it is a true hike-no guardrails and in some areas it drops down VERY far!
  • Try to go on a semi-dry day.  Although I talked about how wonderful our very rainy hike was, in retrospect, it was not very safe.  As we were walking in, a local van driver waiting on a tourist group told us to be very careful because several people have slipped down the side of the mountain while hiking and had to be rescued.  Sometimes it takes hours to get rescue crews in.  He might have been trying to scare us, but it was definitely something to consider!  By the time we were on our way back down, the hiking pathway was flooded and water was up over the top of my tennis shoes in several places.

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  • The waterfall is blocked off and you cannot swim in the pool.  It is a very small area and if it gets crowded it will be hard to manuever. 
  • Watch where you step!  There are tree roots in the path, rocks that can be slippery, and a few small wooden pathways.

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  • Be sure to look around, too!  You will see the Waihi Stream, wild fruits such as guava and ginger, as well as lots and lots of bamboo.  We especially liked the giant ferns that reminded us of Jurassic Park!

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  • You exit the hike the same way you enter.
  • The hike is about a mile and a half roundtrip.
  • Do not leave valuables in the car. 

We are participating in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursday!  Stop by to see what everyone else is talking about!

Honolulu Family Vacation on raveable


  1. 1

    I hiked Manoa Falls two years ago by myself (in flip flops) while my husband was on Oahu for business. The hike is definitely slippery but I think I would bring my kids. The key is to hold hands and always keep the kids on the inside of the trail. Oh- and try to go on a weekday so you won’t have to deal with crowds. I only encountered maybe ten people on the entire length of the trail. Did you happen to visit the botanical gardens nearby? Very kid friendly!

  2. 2

    I think it definitely depends on the child. My little Mr. Adventure would probably tumble head first down the slope as he tried to spy some thing (plant, flower, bug…dinosaur! 🙂 ) down at the bottom. I might have a different opinion about bringing my kids had we not hiked on a day when it was raining buckets and the trail was flooded with a foot of water! We didn’t make it to the botanical gardens. I was disappointed but with the rain, we decided to skip it!

  3. 3

    This place looks amazing, I’d love to visit some day. Great tips for doing this safely too, thanks!

  4. 4

    Great tips! I might be on the same boat as you Jen on bringing my kids knowing my kids. BUT, after trying a hike in Gatlinburg, I might try to find a local guide who can helps with background information or some educational fun for kids. It really does make a different to make the hike more enjoyable for both kids and adults. I’m not nature savvy so the most I can give to my kids will be “Look! Waterfalls!” 🙂

  5. 5
    Happyfamilytravels says:

    Love the tips!