Before to hike in Oahu, let’s mention that Oahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands.
Oahu is home to the state capital, Honolulu, which lies on the southeast coast.
At almost 600 square miles of land, it is among the largest islands in the United States.
It has almost 230 miles of shoreline and is made up primarily of two volcanic mountain ranges – the Wai’anae and Ko’olau.
Due to the heavy annual rainfall, the ranges and the valley between them are covered with lush, green vegetation.
And, there are also a large number of waterfalls on the island.
It’s important to note that all untreated fresh water in Hawaii may be contaminated with the leptospirosis bacteria.
The thins which is making swimming dangerous.
Manoa Falls in Oahu
Conveniently located just a few miles from Honolulu and one of the island’s top tourist destinations.
Manoa Falls is one of Oahu’s many amazing waterfalls and a great place that gives the first impression of the whole island and what it is going to offer.
From an easy trail less than two miles away, you’ll be guided through an enchanting forest of banyan trees and bamboo before reaching the main attraction.
The island is known for sporadic and sudden rain showers that can make the trail a bit slippery. So watch your step.
At the end of the trail, enjoy a panoramic view of the 150-foot waterfall.
However, swimming in the pool at the bottom is not recommended due to the spread of dangerous organisms that are there.
Unless you have room on your itinerary for a trip to the emergency room, stick to the hotel pool.
Upside Down Waterfall in Oahu
If seeing a waterfall as it’s meant to be is a bit upside-down, the Upside Down Waterfall should be on your to-do list.
Many of Oahu’s waterfalls are incredibly remote, making them almost impossible to get a close look at except by helicopter.
Easily spotted from the Pali Highway.
The Upside Down Waterfall has the odd distinction of being a waterfall where the water never actually hits the bottom, being hit by high winds on the descent that disperse it before it has a chance to make contact.
The waterfall comes alive after a heavy rain, and while it can be seen from the road, there is no safe place to stop to get a good look. So have your camera ready.
Lulumahu Falls in Oahu
If the term “off the beaten path” gets your heart pumping, a trip to Lulumahu Falls might be a good idea.
You won’t encounter hordes of noisy tourists as this secluded waterfall is absent from most visitor itineraries.
On the downside, you’ll need a permit from the Hawaii Department of Forestry and Wildlife since it’s on state property near the Kaniakapupu Ruins, where remains of a summer home belonging to a former Hawaiian king are located.
Although there are two trail entrances that lead you to the falls, they are not clearly marked and the hike won’t be easy.
Easiest to find is at the end of Old Pali Road; Once you find it, the trail is marked enough to take you to the falls in about an hour.
Likeke Falls in Oahu
Although Likeke Falls is 15 feet tall and modest by Hawaiian waterfall standards, it is a favorite with tourists due to the relative ease with which it is viewed.
The trailhead is about 6 miles northeast of Honolulu and is easy to get to. Parking is free.
It’s a popular place for locals to hike and they’ll be happy to show you the way.
The red soil becomes very slippery during and after the rain.
The mosquitoes can be overwhelming at certain times of the year.
Maunawili Falls in Oahu
One of Oahu’s most accessible, and therefore most popular, attractions is Maunawili Falls.
The trailhead is an easy and scenic drive from Waikiki. Once you get there, the round trip hike to the falls is less than three miles. Trail conditions can make the hike treacherous due to the slick, red mud that makes it difficult to find a secure footing, especially after rain.
However, if you pull through despite the dangers, you’ll be rewarded with a scenic 25-foot waterfall and beautiful views of the region’s lush fauna and surrounding mountains.
Jackass Ginger Pool Falls in Oahu
With a name like Jackass Ginger, it has to be one of the most amazing waterfalls in Oahu, right?
Located in the Nu’uanu neighborhood of Honolulu, Jackass Ginger Falls is a scenic 10-foot waterfall and swimming hole that’s popular with tourists and locals alike.
Rumor has it that generations ago, Hawaiian kings relaxed nearby and plunged into the waters to relieve the heat.
It runs along the Nu’uanu Creek and is only about a half-mile from the trailhead to the falls, although poor markings and overgrown vegetation can make it difficult to follow. Despite Fall’s modest size, there’s a deep pool suitable for swimming.
La’ie Falls in Oahu
Officially, you need a permit to hike the trail to La’ie Falls. So make sure to check before you do the hike.
Permits are available from the Hawaii Reserves, Inc. office at the La’ie Mall. However, reports vary whether the permit is free or just inexpensive.
At just under eight miles the trail is not for the very young, elderly or unfit as it is rocky and slippery – especially after rain. Depending on your physical ability and motivation, the hike can take up to four hours and the falls are approximately 15 feet high.
The surrounding vegetation and geology make the trip an unforgettable, albeit strenuous, experience.
Waimea Falls in Oahu
Also known as Waihi Falls, whatever you call these falls, they are among the most accessible on Oahu. Its proximity to the Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens and archaeological sites makes it a great place to visit on the same day as these other attractions.
There is a small fee to enter the park, but the cost is minimal and goes to the non-profit organization that preserves these treasures.
Although the hike to the falls is nearly four miles, most of the journey is flat and paved, meandering through the scenic gardens. As such, it’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy everything the area has to offer.
The falls are part of the Kamanui Stream and are a little under 50 feet tall.
Or Falls in Oahu
Located just a short drive from downtown Honolulu on the Kapena Falls Trail, Kapena Falls offers great photo ops for nature lovers and aspiring photographers alike.
Though the water is brownish-red from the red earth upstream, the pool beneath the fall’s 30-foot drop is clean and refreshing, according to those who have decided to take a dip.
Waikahalulu Falls in Oahu
Nestled in the Lili’uokalani Gardens in Honolulu’s bustling city center, the falls are just a tick over 10 feet tall.
The water slides over a broad rock ridge before entering the idyllic pool below.
Though probably a little more worn than it was in ancient times, it was reportedly a favorite spot of Hawaii’s Queen Lili’uokalan, for whom the gardens are named.
Replanting has recently been initiated to restore the area to near pristine condition in order to reintroduce scarce native fauna.
The area is a great place for a picnic or just to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, if only for a few hours.
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Hamama Falls in Oahu
Another of the amazing waterfalls in Oahu, Hamama Falls is located near Kane’ohe. They are accessible via a relatively easy hike, each about three kilometers long.
You probably won’t find many people here, as Hamama Falls isn’t one of the island’s most popular waterfalls.
If you decide to hike, you won’t regret it, as the scenery surrounding the 40-foot waterfall is breathtaking. Since you might almost have the place to yourself, it’s a great spot to read a book, sketch, or just soak up the serenity.
If a four-mile hike is a bit much, there’s an easy-to-find swimming area just minutes from the trailhead.
Keep in mind that the trail is on state land and technically requires a permit, but most visitors don’t bother.
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