Manoa Falls is a really short, easy waterfall hike in the Manoa Valley that attracts many visitors. This was one of my favorite hikes when I first got to Hawaii and is still quite enjoyable many years later.
To park in the parking lot at the base of the trail, you will have to pay a $5 fee. A lot of people park well outside the trail entrance to avoid paying the fee, as you can walk in and hike the trail for free. I encourage people to park and pay the $5 as (I believe) it goes towards maintaining the trail. A lot of maintenance has been done on the trail since I first hiked it a few years ago. Since this is a more popular hike and gets a lot of visitors, the maintenance is key to keeping it in good order for everyone to enjoy for years to come.
The trail is rather short and pretty easy to follow, as most of the path is gravel or rock. It traverses through a wooded area with many beautiful trees and views. There is a stream that follows the majority of the trail and eventually will lead to the waterfall.
The waterfall is around 150 feet tall and extremely impressive right after or during a good rainfall. Even on a dry day, it has a fairly steady flow. There are a lot of people that congregate around the falls and it can be difficult to get a person-free photo.
Although there are signs and cables surrounding the area stating not to cross as it could be slippery, you will notice most people do anyways. I think they added the signs as more of a liability thing so they can say “we told you so” in case someone gets hurt.
Fee: $5 to park or $0 to walk in. You will have to park a good distance outside the entrance to be able to walk in.
Elevation: 800 ft
Length of hike: The trail is 1.6 miles, round-trip, and can easily be done in about 30 minutes.
Best time to go: Honestly, while it’s raining. The rain not only keeps some of the people away, but it makes for a much more impressive waterfall. Just bring a poncho or buy one at the shop on site.
Worst time to go: This trail is nice no matter what time of day or week, rain or shine. The later in the day you go, the more people you will probably have to deal with on the trail.