Hawaii Waterfalls are beautiful, powerful, and full of life. But only a few waterfalls on Oahu are easily accessible including Waimea Falls, Li'keke Falls and Kapena Falls. So the question is which waterfalls are worth hiking to? Some of Oahu waterfalls only require a quick hike, while others take a couple hours to reach. If you are feeling a little adventurous and up for a little trekking, then there is an Oahu waterfall hike waiting for you!
Most Hawaii 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 Oahu waterfall that can be seen from a distance, as you drive up to the Pali Hwy towards Kailua.
Of all the waterfalls on Oahu, this one has taken on the 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.
Although there are only a few accessible Hawaii 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 Hawaii waterfalls on Oahu. 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 in 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.
Get your Oahu GO Card that gives discounts to multiple attractions, museums and tours around the island, including 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 15 to 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 this has on this Oahu waterfall…!
The trek to this waterfall on Oahu 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 Hawaii waterfalls that cascades 150 feet down the rock face.
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!
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.
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 Oahu 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.
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 Oahu 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 and 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 Gear Picks including Compact Hiking Poles, Mosquito Repellent, and GPS Mapping Tracker
Sacred Falls is one of the most beautiful and stunning site to see of all Hawaii 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.
It is unsafe to attempt these Hawaii waterfalls today. 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 from the top and through the valley, along with other unique parts of the north shore.