This past week Diner K and myself hiked the Manoa Falls Trail for the first time. The trail has an excellent 4½ star rating out of over 700 reviews on Yelp, with most folks saying it’s really easy and pleasant, albeit crowded mostly with tourists. I found this mostly to be true, except I wouldn’t exactly say “walk in the park” easy. I consider myself in pretty decent shape for my age, yet I was feeling a bit winded here and there, especially on the steeper parts of the hike up.
While the trail has some man-made enhancements to make it safe, such as “stairs” here and there, there are parts where it’s just muddy wet rocks and/or just mud/dirt where you could slip and fall if not careful. While this trail is somewhat safe to bring your infant, don’t bring a baby stroller, as the trail is not stroller friendly. I seen one family struggling with their baby in the stroller on the trail. Better you use one of them baby backpack/harness thing-a-ma-jigs where baby rides tandem attached in front of your upper body.
As shown on the information board located at the trail head, these are the specifications:
MANOA FALLS TRAIL
Trail length: .8 miles (1.3 kilometers) one way, 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) round trip
Time: 2 hours
Hiking difficulty: Novice hikers
Elevation gained during hike: 800 feet (244 meters)
Parts of the trail may be muddy and slippery
Next to the trail information, is this guide to the various plants you’ll find along the hike. That said, it really is a tranquil, peaceful, beautiful lush green trail, with lots of neat plants and flowers you’ll only find in a rainforest like this. Aside of the noise here and there coming from other folks talking along the hike, you really feel disconnected from the busy city life of Honolulu just a few miles away. It’s like you just got transported to another planet.
The day we hiked it was raining in Manoa Valley as it often does, however not pouring, just slow steady rain continued off and on. Folks say it’s best to go right after a heavy rain, as that’s when the waterfall itself is most spectacular with rushing water. The day we went, the waterfall produced a rather light stream of water, yet enough to make the hike up there worth it.
Yelpers all recommended using bug spray due to lots of mosquitos, so we got a can of OFF Bug Spray and applied it generously all over, and never got bit at all. Speaking of bugs, we didn’t see anything unusual or at all for that matter. Only crayfish in the slow and low river stream on the side coming down from the waterfall. Thankfully no Velociraptors or T-Rex were running around either, as Manoa Falls was one of the settings where they filmed Jurassic Park.
As for parking, it’s located in the same lot where Manoa Restaurant is, formerly Wailele, formerly Treetops. It costs $5. There’s a Kama’aina discount rate at $3, however you need to pay at the Na Makana gift shop right there below the restaurant in order to get that rate. The trail head is right up behind the parking lot. There’s also a water hose area where you can wash the mud off after the hike, which is a nice thing to have, as trust me, chances are you will get kind of muddy if not really muddy, depending how rainy it is. That said, bring your “junk” sports shoes, not those $200 Air Jordans. Definitely wear shoes though; do NOT wear rubbah slippahz!
Summing it, I give the Manoa Falls Trail a solid 5 SPAM Musubi. A very pleasant and beautiful Hawaiian hike! Highest recommendation!
Following is a photo gallery of the entire hike, showing the various plants and flowers, trail footings, and other highlights. Enjoy. ;-)
P.S. In staying on topic about food, after our hike we stopped by Kokoro Tei, which is located right down the street street from University Avenue coming out of Manoa. They’re located on Beretania right after Longs Drugs (Formerly Star Market) in Mo’ili’ili, near Teddy’s Burgers. Kokoro Tei is A bento-ya where all the bento box lunches are MADE TO ORDER by folks from Japan. And it’s so reasonable! And so, so SO OISHII!