Manoa Falls Trail , Oahu, Hawaii

One of the best things about Manoa Falls are the parking security guards. Semi wild chickens who have the run of the car park! 

Nestled in the Manoa Valley mountains, the Na Ala Hele (trail for walking) Manoa Falls Trail is a 2.6km/1.6mi hike up into the mountains. Starting at the car park the trail takes you into the rainforest. I think admission was about $5 if arriving by car otherwise it’s free. Trees start out tall with canopies reaching fanning out to the sky. Looking up they gently give each other breathing space while almost matching each others outline just like looking at world maps seeing where continents once connected, like a jigsaw puzzle or tropical coral fanning out. As you get higher up the path becomes narrower, steeper. Plants you don’t notice unless you use a branch to help you up. Tree trunks become skinner, the leaves become bigger as they compete for light, the forest becomes more dense, the path narrower and rockier. When we went it had been raining earlier so the path was muddy. Muddy! If you do this hike, wear something more than sandals as several people met the mud in style. Also do the hike earlier in the day if you want to avoid people. The hike takes around 1-2 hours there and back. No photos I’m sure it can be done in just over an hour. I think the trial during the initial covid-19 lockdowns was closed for maintenance to widen the path and make it more user friendly. It’s since reopened however I’m so grateful I got to visit before the covid-19 pandemic took hold. I’d love one day to go back to explore more trails that connect to it and those from the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum located near the start of the trail. This girl can visit in her dreams!

The security guards. Don’t mess with them

The path ends at Manoa Falls, a beautiful waterfall that I swear has ledges cut out each side for shampoo. Only joking, the ledges are filled with plants, but maybe just maybe shampoo. I wanted to get closer but the good positions were taken up with selfies. Take 100, delete all, take another 100 selfies. Another reason to get there early. I felt for the people that hiked up with 2 people with loudspeakers. Why? The epic soundtrack. In a city I get it, but in nature, please leave the music behind if anything to let others who for many it’s once in a lifetime experience to enjoy it. Man, I sound so old! Looking back I didn’t hear many birds. Maybe they avoid the area due to people. There were moments on the path to myself which was cool against the day’s heat.

Valley dale. So many shapes to find in the ivy covered trees if you let your imagination run
Trees start to change as you cross the stream
Stream on your right as you ascend. Or the falls making their way to the sea ocean

No surprise I took way too many photos. I did put my camera away on the descent down to enjoy a hands free hike back. I had to as baby goat steps were needed in parts so I didn’t slide down on my bum. Well, my camera was away until the end of the trial as perhaps the most beautiful botanical gardens I’ve ever been to is located next door: Harold L. Lyon Arboretum.

More faces to find
Bamboo Forest

Then out of nowhere the Falls!

Join the line/queue
I’m not up there editing out people so angles are off to avoid people
The shampoo ledges and more faces

The hike back down

Coral fan trees. More faces and shape to find!

Apologies for the many photos. If you’re still here, located in the carpark is a cafe and gift shop so there are bathrooms! I think they request no mud inside which is fair enough. In Muir Woods where we were only a few days before, I was mortified in the gift shop cafe when a guy looked at shock at his muddy shoes and proceeded to scrape the mud off on the bottom of a display shelf. Who TF does that?! There’s also an oil painting exhibition showcasing the history and unification of the Hawaiian Islands. I never knew the British connection which explains the Union Jack on the Hawaii’s state flag. All I can say is those teeth swords looked nasty.


  1. […] The arboretum’s security guards! […]

  2. […] from the path at the end of Manoa Falls trail back the carpark, enticed by pink flowers and thick tree truck bases you could camp in we […]

  3. says:

    This is awesome, Natalie. It was good that you got there before COVID hit. The world has changed so much since then. Never too many photos when it comes to Hawaii. So gorgeous. I spent 3 weeks on Maui and Molokai in 2004. Hardly spent anytime at any beach, but just loved the hiking so much. And there were lots of security guard roosters wherever I went. They can get very feisty. It’s a shame that people feel the need to take loud music with them to go hiking in such a beautiful area.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you are keeping well. 😀🌳 🧡

    1. says:


      Thank you for stopping by! A lot going on this year, but I hope to be posting more regularly. I have a ‘few’ more Hawaii and Big Sur posts to come!

      We only stayed 5 days in Ohau but I’ll remember it forever. We didn’t do much hiking as only there for a short time, however I’d loved to have explored more of the island. The security guard roosters are the best! Don’t mess with them!

      I hope you’re well and Canada is slowing opening back up. So many countries are dealing with covid differently and even on a local scale differently I just waiting for when it’s more under control so life can be more happy.

      1. says:

        You are very welcome, Natalie. Memories like that do last forever. I’m doing well, but it has been a long haul. Not completely out of the woods yet here in Canada. But we are slowly opening up in what we call stages. 🧡 😀

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