A Trip to Manoa Falls

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is located right outside of the city, “town” as the locals would say. Prior to a few days ago, I knew Manoa as the most humid part of the island, the location of my school, and that’s about it. I spent my Wednesday working, writing a research paper, and cramming for a midterm, so when I got out of class Thursday afternoon, I was ready to decompress. 

The Manoa falls trail is popular among tourists, but I had not yet been due to the reviews i’d received from friends. I had heard it was an overrated hike that charged large amounts for parking and drew crowds, so it was never high on my to-do list. Thursday, however, ended up being an overcast day with occasional rain, and by the time we left around 4 pm, most of the tourists had cleared out.

Immediately after beginning the hike, we became immersed in the rainforests of Manoa  (it was a shock to discover this 5 minutes away from campus). From vast green valleys to thick bamboo forests, this 1.6 mile trail takes you through what feels like a completely different world. I was not surprised to learn the movies Jurassic Park and Catching Fire were both filmed along this trail.


The Trail was a bit slippery after the rain, but I was hiking in sandals and made it through; my feet up to my knees got pretty muddy, so wear the appropriate clothing if you choose to go in rainy weather.

After hiking for a short time, well more like walking, we reached the falls, which towered 150 feet above us and was surrounded by lush green vegetation. The pool isn’t big enough to swim in, but the view is nevertheless more than satisfying!


The Verdict: I was shocked to find this gem sitting in my backyard. Manoa Falls is an underrated trail with gorgeous scenery, though I can definitely see it getting crowded on weekends, so I would recommend venturing to it during the week.

Trail Length: 1.6 Miles

Location: Manoa, Oahu HI

Difficulty: Easy (it’s essentially a paved path)

Swimming: Noooooo…unless you’re a kid maybe.


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