Vacation Spotlight: Manoa Falls

10 Oct

On our Hawaiian vacation, we highlighted a few things we wanted to see, one of them was a hike to a waterfall.  It was marked as a beginner hike with an option to go on a more intense trail.  We definitely just stayed on the beginners trail, once we saw how slippery, muddy, and amazing the scenery was, we were happy with our hike! We did our two adventure hikes on the same day, and how different our scenery was! First the desert, second part, is Manoa Falls – a trip into the rainforest!

entering the trail...

There was a parking lot that charged five dollars for parking, which was definitely worth it. Especially since they had hoses and scrub brushes for your shoes after the walk!  We loaded up on the bug spray and off we went on our adventure!  It starts out fairly easy.  Not too muddy, but definitely a lot of great trees, plants, and a real calm of serenity.  It’s nice to be back with nature.


We avoided the outhouse in the woods (although definitely read the sign to ignore the smell) and just enjoyed our walk.  It wasn’t very busy.  Although, we tried to stay away from other groups to avoid the noise they were making.  We wanted to be quieter, in hopes to see animals.  We didn’t see very many animals or bugs which was a blessing, but we definitely enjoyed our hike!

cut down tree

Having never been into the rainforest, it was great to see all the different plants.  Part of it is a bamboo forest too which was definitely entertaining to see since a few days later we went to go see the Pandas at the San Diego zoo!

Although, I do have to be honest, one of my favorite things about this adventure, was how sweet my husband was!  Some of the steps are muddy or a lot bigger than I could step comfortably, and no matter where I went, my husband was there holding out his hand, or going in front of me, to check and see if it was strong enough to support our weight.  A few times walking through the mud and the rocks, the rocks shifted and slid. It amazed me how sweet he was to help me down and make sure I was okay! It was definitely romantic even if he didn’t understand it!

the muddy trail

mud and rocks

One of the best views from the trail, besides the waterfall was an area where the trees went over the path.  We offered to take a picture for another hiking group in front of us, so we got this great picture of the two of us about two-thirds of the way to the falls!


It took about two hours total for us to get to the falls and back.  We got back to the parking lot, a bit faster than it took us to get to the falls, probably because we were looking at the scenery, but it was worth every minute of it!  We started to hear the sound of water getting closer and closer as we walked, and soon, we got to see Manoa Falls.

we made it!

It’s definitely was a fun, bonding experience, that I recommend to anyone visiting Hawaii, as it’s a bit off the beaten path.  It’s not really touristy, although there is a gift shop, food area, and restroom area that I am glad they added (it wasn’t mentioned in our travel book).  I feel it’s a hidden treasure that not everyone gets to see when visiting Oahu.

Although if you ever visit, I do have a few recommendations:

  • Wear tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Lots of mud. I also saw a woman starting to hike in white coach sandals. Definitely was glad that I had an old pair of running shoes packed on the trip!
  • Spray yourself with bug spray and bring it with! It wasn’t bad when we went, but we were visiting during a dry period on the island.  We saw a few bugs, so I could just imagine how bad it is after the rain!
  • Be mindful of the weather. It’s a bit colder underneath all the trees.  You may not need a sweater, but I was glad I was wearing a t-shirt, not a tank top.
  • Leave the younger kids at home. Some of the steps were about three feet off rocks. Like Diamond Head, I couldn’t imagine doing this hike with little kids.  An older child? Yes, but younger ones will get themselves covered in mud.
  • You will get messy. We got mud on our legs just from our slower pace. A man passed us who told us we weren’t going fast enough because he was completely covered. We also passed a few people who had apparently face planted into the mud.  Luckily, we didn’t face plant.  Although, our legs and shoes were messy. We definitely used the hoses and brushes when we got back!

This is my first waterfall that I remember hiking to.  Hopefully, it won’t be my last! Definitely glad we decided to do this on our recent Hawaiian vacation.


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