Oahu Waterfalls are beautiful, powerful, and full of life. But only a few waterfalls on Oahu are easily accessible including Waimea Falls, Manoa Falls, Li'keke Falls and Jackass Ginger Pool. And while some only require a quick hike, others can take a couple hours to reach like Maunawili Falls and Laie Falls.
If you are feeling a little adventurous and up for some trekking, then there is a waterfall hike waiting for you! View these cascading falls and others listed below that are worth the trek.
Most Oahu waterfalls are tucked deep inside the rainforest, and they cannot be viewed just from scenic lookout points.
But after a good rainfall, there is one visible hillside waterfall that can be seen from a distance, as you drive up to the Pali Hwy towards Kailua.
Also take a ride along the H-3 Highway after heavy rains, and look up into the Ko'olau where it will be littered with temporary waterfalls streaming down the tall mountainside.
Although there are only a few accessible waterfalls in Oahu, each offer a unique setting worth exploring!
If you are
feeling adventurous and up for a vigorous hike, your reward is an up close experience of, and perhaps even a swim at some
fantastic Hawaii waterfalls like Maunawili Falls and grand Waimea Falls!
Whether you are a waterfall enthusiast or you just want to satisfy your craving of waterfall adventure and curiosity, the list below is a great sampling of Oahu waterfalls. Click on each one to learn more!
Plan on a fun family stroll versus an adventurous hike to reach this stunning Oahu waterfall.
Don’t get me wrong…you will be walking along some beautiful botanical gardens as you make your way towards the Waimea Falls.
Located on the Waimea Valley grounds, this is the only waterfall on Oahu where you are not only allowed to swim, but there are also conveniences available such as a changing room and life jackets, and there are also lifeguards on duty!
Plan on spending some extra time checking out the Hawaiian cultural activities that take place daily on the Waimea Valley estates before starting your journey to the Waimea Falls.
Consider signing up for a Circle Island Tour that includes visiting Waimea Valley Park & Falls...
Manoa Falls is not only the closest falls from Waikiki, but also one of the most stunning Oahu Waterfalls worth visiting on the island!
A quick 20 minute drive will take you from the Waikiki hotels to the lush Manoa Valley.
Manoa is recorded as the wettest spot on Oahu because it receives more rainfall than anywhere else on the island. Just imagine the impact that this has on this Hawaii waterfall…!
The trek to this waterfall is pretty much a flat trail, but can get muddy at times as you could imagine.
Stay the course for about an hour, and you will find yourself literally staring up at one of the tallest Oahu waterfalls that cascades 150 feet down the rock face.
There is a small group tour available that includes transportation to this waterfall hike if needed.
A fun natural swimming pool located in the lush jungle that is formed from a flowing 8 foot mountainside waterfall.
The Jackass Ginger Pool is surrounded with large bolder rocks that has kids and adults climbing onto and jumping back off of into the swimming hole.
It even features a neat smooth rock slide on the righthand side.
This waterfall is one of the few town-side falls that is easy to get to from the Judd Trail located off the Old Pali Road in Nu'uanu.
Most visitors journey to the Pali Hwy Lookout for breathtaking views of the easterly Windward side of the island.
Not many people actually hike down the old Pali Road located below the lookout to discover beautiful Likeke Falls.
A great adventurous hike down broken sections of the original Pali Highway, and through a dense jungle trail will keep you alert as the scenery continuously changes, traveling to this impressive 20 ft Oahu waterfall.
This waterfall has a great Indiana Jones adventure-like trail to get there.
It will take you about 30 to 40 minutes to reach the 50 ft plus Lulumahu waterfall, and I promise you that you will not find yourself bored hiking into a dense bamboo forest, climbing up old waterwork structures, and wandering into the mystical Hawaiian jungle!
CAUTION: You will not find many hikers on the paths to this waterfall, so it is important to travel with a buddy, and use a map for this hike. Hike at your own risk.
Located close to the Pali Highway on the Kailua side of the Ko’olau Mountains is another spectacular Oahu Waterfall.
The Maunawili Falls is an impressive 20 ft tall!
Here you'll find people jumping off the rocks and swimming in the refreshing pool below...at their own risk!
It will take you about an hour or two to reach the Maunawili Falls, and it can get quite muddy, as it rains quite often in this region.
The best part is that you can swim in these waters, and if you dare, you can even take a plunge 30ft off the top of the waterfall to the pool below!
As kids, we would walk up Nu’uanu Valley from downtown, and cross through a cemetery to reach this Oahu waterfall and local swimming hole.
Don’t get the wrong picture, we didn’t actually walk across loved ones tombs in the Nu’uanu Cemetery, but followed the road around to the backside to a service shed, where the access trail starts.
I’m not sure what was more exciting…playing in the 20 foot waterfall, or swinging on the rope from the hillside and plunging into the pool of water below.
Some folks are crazy enough to jump off boulders on the sides into the pool of water below! This is considered dangerous and should do so at your own risk!
Laie Falls is a moderate 2.5 mile hike to reach the double-sided waterfall.
The terrain is a combination of open field dirt roads, winding ridge trails filled with guava trees, and a Cook Pine Tree forest.
The backdrop view of Laie Point is not only beautiful, but a scene
for what untouched
Hawaii might have looked like a few centuries ago. Laie Falls is a nice nearby alternative
to the closed Sacred
Falls, located 5 minutes away.
Hiking to waterfalls with pools can be extra fun, as you get to cool down at the end of the trail with a dip in the water if you wish. Waimano Falls is a great place for just that.
The trail that leads to Waimano Falls can be challenging with a few rocky spots, wet patches, and rugged terrain. Most hikers feel the stain at the end when returning uphill to the ridge where the trail begins. The first half is relatively easy as you hike along a ridge, but when you get to the signage that reads "Summit", this is where the challenge starts, trekking downhill to the Waimano Falls.
The roundtrip distance of the trail is around 1.5 miles. Depending on your physical ability, the hike can last between 40-minutes and up to 2 hours plus depending on the time you spend at the waterfall. The terrain is not exactly well-marked, but there are pink ribbons tied to the trees and a noticeable sign pointing towards the summit.
It's recommended to do this hike during the dryer months since the rocks can become very slippery after rains, and the trail becomes muddy. Remember to wear proper hiking footwear that protects your ankle and gives you a better grip.
This magnificent pair of Twin Pali Falls, also known as Waipuilani Falls that is located off the Pali Hwy. It's a moderate hike for all fitness levels, but can be a muddy trek and challenging when crossing a water canal. And while it happens to be a well-traveled trail, it's yet surprisingly hard to find on the map.
The trail that leads to Waipuilani Falls can be rocky and slippery, especially during the rainy season. It's best to hike this Oahu trail before the rains and in the summer months. That being said, the Twin Pali Falls are only visible after heavy rainfall. There is also a small cave between the falls that requires a little effort to get up to if you want to explore it.
The hike to Twin Pali Falls is only a 2-mile route to and back and should only take a little over an hour.
Remember to bring a charged phone for GPS because getting lost can be easy. Look out for pink markers and follow them. You should also wear proper hiking footwear. The trail gets dark earlier than sunset due to towering trees...hence planning your hike before it gets dark.
Driving is probably your best means of transportation. Many of Oahu's beautiful waterfalls are located off the main roadways and hard to navigate through public transportation including the Oahu Bus. It's not impossible but just takes a little more planning and awareness if you go this route.
Need a good rental car option for the day?
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Of all the waterfalls on Oahu, there is one called Waipuhai that has taken on a more precarious name “The Upside Down Waterfall”, as it seems that the water never hits the ground.
The powerful Pali mountainside winds sweep the cascading water back up into the air, until it finally dissipates.
With nowhere to pull over to view this impressive 100ft plus cascading Oahu waterfall, nor is there an easy hike to get there, just simply keep your eyes focused on the right hand side of the highway (unless you’re the driver…) about a mile before you exit to the Pali Lookout.
If you’re lucky…you might get a glimpse of this mysterious waterfall on Oahu.
Also after heavy rains on the island, a long stretch of the tall Ko'olau mountains comes alive with a series of Hawaii waterfalls that can be viewed when traveling along the H-3 Highway. It's a treat if you get a chance to view this natural phenomenon.
Sacred Falls is one of the most beautiful and stunning site to see of all the Oahu Waterfalls!
While there were newly renovated trails that lead up to these waterfall, they are ironically closed, due to a large landslide that took place in 1999.
The danger of falling rocks, valley flash floods, and landslides still exists in this narrow tall canyon area, so it remains closed today.
It’s unfortunate because Sacred Falls is 90 feet of jaw dropping power that cascades down the mountain!
It is currently illegal to trespass and hike in this state park area, but sometimes you still hear about some daring hikers that take the risk and make the 4 mile round trip.
Today it is unsafe to attempt hiking to this waterfall. Please pay heed to the warnings of dangerous conditions.
better off getting a more spectacular view by chartering a helicopter
flight, and soaring comfortably above the majestic falls for an
unbeatable birds eye view!
Sign up for an open-door helicopter ride and explore Sacred Falls or other waterfalls along the Ko'olaus from the air and through the valley, along with other unique parts of the island.