Top 6 Waterfalls on Oahu

8:59 PM

We are fortunate to have so many beautiful waterfalls on Oahu and while most are open to the public, some of the better ones are illegal to hike to. Here some of the best, legal, ones you can access. Pro tip: waterfalls are best AFTER the rain, just be careful for flash floods.

BEWARE: Whenever swimming in Oahu’s waterfalls/freshwater, be aware of Leptospirosis and do not expose open cuts to the water.

Maunawili Falls
This is easily the most popular waterfall hike on the island and can easily be done by children. This muddy, 3.3 mile hike leads you to some awesome falls pouring into a swimming hole. If you are feeling brave go ahead and take a leap off the rocks, it is exhilarating. I recommend climbing up the 1st waterfall to get a look at the waterfall just behind it.

Lulumahu Falls
A dense bamboo forest will take you to an impressively tall waterfall. After walking through the forest you will come to a reservoir that is the perfect spot for a photo op. From there, you just follow the water. While this waterfall does not have pools to swim in, the 50+ foot falls will take your breath away.
Laie Falls

Hawaii Reserves Inc. requires you to get a permit to hike this one, luckily it is a free permit that you can pick up just down the street from the  trail head. This 7 mile hike is definitely a workout but the view was worth it. The trail takes you through a motocross track in the mountains with some spectacular scenery. The waterfall has a gorgeous, emerald pool beneath it with a rope on the side so you can climb up for a better view. If you do not want to use the rope, the other side of the falls has a tiny trail up to the top. I do not believe you can jump off this waterfall, but that definitely did not take away from how astounding the falls and following mini-waterfalls are.

Waimano Falls
This 3 mile trail takes you to a waterfall pouring into 2 separate pools. The trail starts at the top of a ridge and goes down into the valley, so save your energy for the hike back out. The rope swing over the 1st pool is an added bonus and tons of fun. This is also a popular area for hunting so keep an eye for dogs and if you get turned around, the hunters are usually very helpful in giving you directions and pointers.
Jackass Ginger Pool

This is the shortest waterfall hike I have done, only about a 1/2 mile to the falls via the Judd Trail. The rope swing was no longer up last time I went, but you can still jump off the 10 foot falls into the water. The stream it feeds into has a nice grassy area on the side of it which is a good spot to soak up some sun and eat a snack. 
Manoa Falls
This mile long hike is probably the most “touristy” waterfall hikes here because of its ease and proximity to town. It is nestled in the-always-green Manoa, right by the gorgeous Lyon Arboretum—you definitely want to stop here with your camera. This short trail takes you through a bamboo forest and around some boulders before reaching the 150 foot falls. The pool is shallow in most areas so the whole family can have a little swim before heading back out.

Please be safe and remember to pick up your trash so other can enjoy the beauty.

Alecia <3

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