5 Best Waterfalls on Oahu

Each waterfall on Oahu has its own unique features that makes it attractive. However, not all of these natural beauties are accessible. There are a few waterfalls you can reach in a quick hike, while some may take a while longer to reach. Then, the question becomes which waterfall is the best one to visit. This choice will depend on how adventurous you are and the length and difficulty of the trek.

All of the waterfalls in Oahu have their own specific features visitors can enjoy. For example, if you visit Waipuhia Falls at the right time, you will find out why it is named “Upside Down Waterfall.” There are also waterfalls accessible to tourists that have been featured in Hollywood films. If you want to learn about these falls and discover how to get there while on your trip to Honolulu, continue reading the sections below.

Manoa Falls

If you are looking for a short adventure, Manoa Falls is the place to go. The falls are quite majestic and the hike there is simple enough for anyone to reach. If you look closely and think, you might have seen this grand cascade before. Perhaps you remember it from the original Jurassic Park film.

The waterfall is 150 feet of tumbling water down the mountainside. Going under the falls while to weather is cool may not be the best idea since it becomes quite cold. Though no one would blame you for refreshing yourself under the water during warmer months.

As you traverse the trail, you will encounter a lush, jungle atmosphere. In addition to the jungle, the waterfall gives the illusion that you are far from the city even though you are not. The Manoa Falls trail is only a $10 cab ride from Waikiki. Following the Manoa Road, you must continue going toward the mountain. When you reach the fork, take a right to the fence which marks the Manoa Falls trailhead.

Waimea Falls

Also known as the Waihi Falls, they are as one of the most accessible in Waimea Valley. While in Waimea Valley, not only do you get to enjoy the waterfall, but there are botanical gardens and historic sites you can visit, too. The Waimea Falls are 45 feet high and swimming is allowed, so it is a great waterfall for cliff diving.

Checking the depth and conditions of the water before going in is important, so take precautions. One interesting fact is that the area used to be an adventure park where onlookers could watch cliff-diving shows.

Because the waterfall is part of a park, you must pay a small fee to enter. If you plan to hike, the trail is very easy to traverse since it is 3.5 miles of paved paths. The Waimea Falls is part of the Kamanui stream, which flows all the way through Waimea Valley. The waterfall is located on the north shore of Oahu, across Waimea Bay.

Mauna Wili Falls

This is a very popular waterfall that begins its trail in a quiet neighborhood. Mauna Wili Falls is part of a beautiful, lush forest but the path can be muddy. Be sure to bring boots if you are hiking the trail. Also, note that while you are hiking, you will encounter unpaved paths. You will come across tree roots, rocks and boulders. Once you have trekked and crossed all these obstacles, you will reach the waterfall pool area.

The waterfall is 20-foot flow of water that runs down the angle of the rocks and into the mountainside pool. Even though it is not advised to jump into the pool, there are those who dare to do so. If you would like to get to the top of the waterfall, there are two ways. It is possible to swim up to falls and climb the side of it.

The other way is to continue following the trail until you reach the top of the waterfall. After taking enough caution, you can take a jump in the pool.

Waimano Falls

If you are interested in a trek with a reward at the end, then you might like Waimano Falls. Getting to this waterfall involves a three-mile hike, and at the end of the route, you will find a waterfall with two pools to swim in. The trek can last up to an hour and it starts at the Manana trail.

You will be going through a canopy of forest. You may encounter some smaller waterfalls while making your way to Waimano Falls.

The trail is for the average hiker since there are areas where the paved path has some muddy and rocky areas in between. The most interesting part about Waimano Falls are its pools. A large majestic waterfall flows into higher pool, which trickles into another waterfall and into the lowest pool.

There are thick ropes at several points surrounding the pool, which help more adventurous visitors swing into the deep pool. There are different  height levels to climb which also vary in difficulty, so jump at your own risk.

Waipuhia Falls

This is one of the lesser known waterfalls, but the falls are still quite popular for a unique reason. Known as the “upside-down waterfall,” the strong winds will blow the falls of Wapuhia with such intensity that the water seems to be flowing up. Located at a back trail, the path to the waterfall is very short.

Your hike can take up to 25 minutes to complete since the walk can take less than two miles. Just like Manoa Falls, this waterfall is near the Pali highway.

One important detail to remember is that the trailhead has thick brush and pig trails. If you do not want to walk, you may also take the tram to the waterfall. Once you arrive, you will see the falls. The best time to see the upside-down waterfall in effect is during the rainy season. Otherwise, there will not be enough water and wind to make this phenomenal impact.

You can swim in the pools at the bottom and there are lifeguards on site to ensure safety.