Best Waterfalls In Oahu To Visit In 2022

Waterfalls in Oahu are some of the best to view in the world and the tropical landscape that surrounds each waterfall is spectacular. Most waterfalls will involve a short hike to and from through interesting terrain that includes lush Hawaiian vegetation. Some waterfalls such as Manoa Falls have a 150 foot drop of cascading water and offer an excellent interpretive trail to learn about the various plants and animals of the island. Other waterfalls such as Sacred Falls can only be accessed by taking a flight in a helicopter. Oahu waterfalls are a must see on your visit to the island and there is a waterfall that is just right for your adventurous spirit and level of fitness. When you are on the island of Oahu, there is a good chance that you will want to find a nice waterfall to visit.

  • Manoa Falls

    Manoa Falls in Oahu

    Manoa Falls is a great waterfall in Oahu for travelers of all ages to visit because of its easy access and beautiful scenery. Located within Manoa Valley, this 150 foot waterfall can be reached by a short drive from Honolulu and is perfect when you only have a couple hours. Once parked at the entrance to Manoa Falls you will see why people chose this area of Hawaii to film portions of Jurassic Park as well as the television series Lost. You will take an easy one-hour hike over a well maintained trail which has plenty of interpretative signs that explain the different plants and animals of the Manoa Valley. Once at Manoa Falls you will gaze upward at the water tumbling down over 150 feet into a nice pool. The combination of tropical vegetation and the reflection of sunlight on the cascading water is spectacular. Please note that swimming is not allowed at Manoa Falls.

    Waimea Falls Park

    Waimea Falls Park in Oahu

    Waimea Falls Park is an ideal waterfall in Oahu for families and first time visitors to view while exploring the North Shore of Oahu. Located within the Waimea Valley, also known as the Valley of Priests, the Waimea Falls is a splendid cascading waterfall with a drop of some 45 feet. The Waimea Valley is a nature preserve of over 1,800 acres which includes a 150-acre world class botanical garden, over seventy archaeological sites and many endangered animal species including all five freshwater fish known as o’opu. To reach Waimea Falls you will follow a path with numerous interpretative signs for three-quarter miles until you reach a viewing area of the crystal clear water that tumbles down Waimea Falls. There is plenty of tropical vegetation and flora surrounding Waimea Falls which makes for great photograph opportunities. The outstanding interpretative information at Waimea Valley is an educational experience in itself and the viewing of Waimea Falls is an added bonus.

    Photo by Daniel Ramirez

    Lulumahu Falls

    Lulumahu Falls in Oahu

    Lulumahu Falls is a spectacular waterfall in Oahu for families as the hike is easy and the scenery is picturesque. Located within a private section of government land, which contains the ancient ruins of King Kamehameha III’s summer home, the Lulumahu Falls is an easy hike on an undeveloped trail. The best second starting point is from an old hunting station on Pali Highway. The trail becomes narrower as you hike and you will reach a set of stairs which help with the incline. The scenery is beautiful as you hike through bamboo forests. The incline is gradual and perfect for children. Once at Lulumahu Falls you will be amazed at the beauty. This Oahu waterfall descends 50 feet over moss covered rocks and vines which shimmer in the sunlight. The shear drop of cascading water which seems endless is spectacular and the gorgeous tropical landscape is an added bonus.

    Photo by Andrew Wong

    Sacred Falls (closed to public)

    Sacred Falls  in Oahu

    Sacred Falls is one of the most revered waterfalls in Oahu by the Hawaiian people and you can only view this waterfall by helicopter. Located within Sacred Falls State Park, the park is known by the Hawaiian people as Kaliuwa’a or “leaking canoe” and is associated with the demigod known as Kamapua’a. Sacred Falls has been closed since 1999 after a tragic rock fall/mudslide which claimed the lives of eight people and injured scores more. You can view the 1000 foot plunge of cascading water through a narrow canyon while flying above in the comfort of a helicopter. As you gaze downward you will view a canopied forest, glistening moss covered rocks and beautiful tropical scenery. In the distance you will experience the best views of Oahu. The canyon, the 1000 foot drop-off of rambling water and the legend that is associated with Sacred Falls makes this a must see from above in the safety of a helicopter.

    Photo by Edmund Garman

    Maunawili Falls Trail

    Maunawili Falls in Oahu

    Maunawili Falls trail is an ideal waterfall hike for you if you are interested in taking a dip in a tropical waterhole below the magnificent waterfalls in Oahu. Located near Pali Lookout on the island of Oahu, the Maunawili Falls is a 3-mile roundtrip hike on a developed trail that follows the contours of Koolau Mountain Range. Your hike includes a few steep inclines and several stream crossings. After about half-way you will reach a clearing which affords big views of Kailua and when you cross the stream for the third time you will encounter a set of stairs that helps with the incline. Once at Maunawili Falls you will view a fabulous waterfall with a drop of 30 feet and an excellent swimming hole. You can swim or jump off the rocks into the pool below for more adventure. The tropical flowers and vegetation will amaze you as you take your photographs.

    Photo by nsub1

    Likeke Falls

    Likeke Falls in Oahu

    Likeke Falls is a great adventure for families and when you don’t have a lot of time to spend on a hike. Located near Pali Lookout, Likeke Falls can be accessed several ways including the cobblestone Old Pali Highway which was constructed in the 1800s. If you choose this route, allow more time for a pleasurable hike which is not too strenuous. Another starting point is at Ko’olau Golf Course which leaves you a short walk of a mile roundtrip to this spectacular waterfall in Oahu. Likeke Falls is gorgeous with cascading water falling over 20 feet which you can stand under to cool off. There is not much of a plunge pool or swimming hole at Likeke Falls but the overall tropical landscape will please all of your senses. There is plenty of area around the waterfall for you to take stunning photographs. Your family will find this an exciting adventure that will please everyone.

    Photo by Daniel Ramirez

    Kapena Falls

    Kapena Falls in Oahu

    Kapena Falls is a great waterfall in Oahu for families and will satisfy all your fantasies of a tropical setting. Located just outside Honolulu, Kapena Falls has a wonderful tropical setting with lush vegetation, a 30 foot cascade and an excellent plunge pool. Kapena Falls is reached by a short 5-10 minute walk from along the Pali Highway or through the Nu’uanu Memorial Park. This waterfall also has been used as a backdrop for the movie The Rundown starring the Rock. The picturesque setting is ideal for photographs as well as for swimming in the pool. Kapena Falls is a great place for people to jump from the rocks into the plunge pool and enjoy the refreshing cool water. Kapena Falls is a great choice when you want to be adventurous and not be tired from a lengthy or gruelling hike.

    Photo by Jennifer Boyer

    Laie Falls Trail

    Laie Falls in Oahu

    The La’ie Falls is perfect for a full day trip that includes a nice workout, beautiful scenery and a gorgeous waterfall in Oahu. Located near the city of La’ie within the northeastern portion of Oahu, Laie Falls is a small waterfall that will satisfy your thirst for a tropical landscape. The Laie Falls trail is on a private track of land and you will need to stop for a permit at the offices of Hawaii Reserves, Inc. which is located in La’ie. Once you reach the trail you will hike a steep 4wd drive road for most of the 8-mile roundtrip route. Just before reaching the La’ie Falls, you will enter a small narrow canyon and be aided by a rope on this downward portion of the trail. Once at La’ie Falls the cascading water can vary from a 15-30 foot depending on the time of year and the pool of water is quite refreshing.

    Photo by Charlie Boy Criscola

    Map of Oahu Waterfalls