8 Best Oahu Waterfall Hikes for Families and Couples in 2023 (2023)

The best waterfall hikes on Oahu have been named and you'll need a few days to do them all. Some walks are great for beginners and children, while others require experience and fitness to complete the tour.

To get the most out of these hikes, you'll need to wait until the rainy season is over. The falls are less violent during this time, but you can avoid muddy trails, mosquitoes, and slippery conditions.

Without further ado, let's dive into nine of our favorite waterfall hikes on Oahu, where lush vegetation, verdant hidden pools, and gorgeous scenery are all awe-inspiring.

1. Manoa Falls-pad

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Arguably one of Oahu's most talked about waterfall hikes, the Manoa Falls Trail is a lush, easy-to-climb 2-mile circular trail with an elevation gain of 600 feet.

The trail starts just a short walk down Waakaua Street where there is ample parking. From here, get ready to get lost in a dreamy forest paradise with a hidden waterfall at its heart. If you venture out in the spring, the falls will become even more violent and the gravel paths will become wetter through the lush greenery.

As you hike, the scent of guava and wild ginger fills the air, telling you that if you keep following the gentle descent, a flowing stream awaits you.

The wooden paths are well marked and well maintained, but most of the paths are not paved. However, there are stairs that lead down to the boardwalk until you reach the bamboo forest. At the top of the stairs you can hear the sound of the waterfall crashing down the rock face.

2. Similar waterfalls

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Do you want to go for a walk with someone you love? The Ricky Falls Trail is the best option for completing a family hike as it is well marked and easy for kids and seniors. The Likeke Falls trail winds through Oahu's lush jungle with plenty of shade and scenic views. This is a short route of a maximum of 1.5 kilometers, with an altitude difference of only 63 meters.

The trailhead begins in a spacious parking lot behind the Ko'olau Ballroom and Conference Center. Continue walking from the beginning of the path until you see a left turn and you come to the water tank.

Not far from the fork is a large blue arrow indicating you to turn right. The road takes you higher and higher in lush greenery until a rock offers a beautiful view.

Halfway through the walk, the Likke Cascade looms up, exactly where the path splits. Do not come during the rainy season as the walk can get muddy and slippery.

3. Lulumahu Falls

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Practice your hiking skills on the 1.6-mile return trail to Lulumahu Falls. If this is your first time to Lulumahu, please note that the falls are on private government land, which means a permit fee applies and you must follow the rules here.

The trail is at the bottom of an old hunting ground, with thick bamboo forests shading the trail and huge rocks popping up out of nowhere to test your fitness. Once you conquer all those concrete steps and cross the forest stream, you will be amazed with the naked eye by the scenic waterfall that is over 50 feet high.

There is a range of scenery to be seen through the trees on the walk, but these beautiful vistas are the only signs you can rely on to show where you are. The downside to this walk is that there are no signs directing you where to go, nor is it paved and maintained.

Therefore, try not to follow this path after a rain shower, as mosquitoes and insects can be very dangerous.

4. Biking along the Crater Trail

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Winding and majestic, the Ka'au Crater Trail is another great hike on Oahu. Count on four hours to complete this challenging hike.

a warning: 640 meters above sea level, not suitable for beginners.

The Kaal Crater Walk is part of a private property managed by the Water Supply Company. The entire trail features three majestic waterfalls amidst dense jungle and vineyards. There are plenty of beautiful natural playgrounds where you can cross rivers, climb ridges or simply enjoy the beauty.

Because the Kaal crater is on a hill and its southern side juts out into the sea, you will encounter a steep descent into the valley and river before heading against the current to the back of the valley.

Beginners can complete the first part of the hike to the first waterfall, although the Kaal Crater Trail is more challenging. When your fitness is ready for this wet, muddy and slippery section, come back for two more. On the other hand, once you reach the top of the ridge, the picture-perfect views of Oahu, Olomana, Mox, and Chinamans Hat are sure to be a sight to behold.

5. Waimea Falls-wandeling

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Waimea Falls is 30 feet high, anchored at the end of a short 30-minute trail, and the water flows into a small swimming hole below. If you want to swim this hole, bring a life jacket.

This hike is known for its easy, family-friendly trails that are paved and well marked. While some steep sections will get in your way, it's not the end of the world and we're sure you'll get over them in no time.

One of the coolest things about hiking in Waimea Falls is the abundance of vegetation, with oversized tropical plants and unique botanical gardens. They have put up several information boards along the way for you to explore.

If you want to linger even longer after your walk, you can attend one of the many workshops and cultural events at the main entrance. Every Saturday there is a plant market at the nursery where you can view different types of plants and flowers to take home.

6. Alwarra Horse Racecourse

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Inheriting the majesty of Honolulu's Watershed Forest Preserve, the Aihuarama Trail is a highlight for outdoor enthusiasts and forest swimmers alike. Aihualama joins the Mānoa Trail at the base of the Mānoa Falls, but muddy sections and steep sections make it more challenging to complete.

The first few steps of the walk are the most difficult and become discouraged in most people. Keep going and you will soon encounter a beautiful view hidden behind ancient banyan and bamboo trees. The second part of the walk consists of a series of consecutive zigzag lines before stopping at Pauoa Flats.

This circular walk has a height difference of 109 meters and is almost 2 kilometers long, which takes you over an hour.

Most of the hike is downhill. Although you will encounter many hikers at the start of your hike where Manoa Falls is located, the crowds soon die down, giving you a great view of the birds chirping behind the trees.

7. Rent a Falls hike

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This is another private property managed by the Hawaiian Conservancy where you can get hiking permits from the offices in the La'ie Mall.

Lā´ie Falls is a circular walk with a height of over 570 meters and almost 13 kilometers to complete. With the trails mostly overgrown and the climbs steep, the beautiful secluded waterfall in the heart of the forest retains a luxurious tranquility few hikers get this far.

One of our favorite things about walking the Rye Falls Trail is the chance to feel its mystical atmosphere. Although Rye Falls is only about five feet high, it offers the ultimate in seclusion, breathtaking views of Oahu's north shore from the ridge, and breathtaking scenery surrounded by lush tropical forest. Such a shallow pool makes people rejuvenate.

Rainy days are definitely not the best time for hiking, but you don't want to be there on a hot day either, as most ridges are exposed to the sun.

8. Waimano Falls

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The rock pools where Waimano Falls is located will win your heart with their beautiful azure blue. This route is close to Pearl Harbor and the starting point is enclosed by a green gate. You just have to press it and you're in, because a closed door only keeps vehicles out.

The height difference is not the end of the world either, it is only 247 meters. However, that does not alter the fact that the Waimano Falls Trail with a length of almost three miles is still a challenging route. Don't get discouraged! The first half is easy and smooth, allowing you to prep your core before heading into the challenging finish. Get ready for muddy, steep, rocky sections until you reach the top or see the sign for Waimano Falls.

When your core gets tired, take a break on a swing rope tied to a tree. They can be found throughout the walk.

To fully celebrate Oahu's wonderful outdoor life, don't miss the sunny beaches. here are our tenfavorite beach on oahuSoak up the sun, explore the local culture and enjoy water sports.


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