12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes Worth Checking Out

Hoping to see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oahu? Find out the best Oahu waterfall hikes for every hiking level. Scroll down to read about the coolest Oahu hikes with waterfalls!!
This Oahu waterfall hikes post was originally written October 2, 2019 and was updated March 2, 2022 and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

One of the best places to go on vacation with the whole family is definitely Hawaii.

Taking the family on trails for a hike and being amazed by the beautiful tropical landscapes is something you must do while there.

If everything is planned correctly, you and the family will also get to experience the picturesque waterfalls.

Are you wondering where to go for hikes on Oahu and to enjoy the magnificent view of the surreal waterfalls?

There are so many great options for hiking in Honolulu, North Shore, Waikiki, and more! Read on and check out the best Oahu waterfall hikes.

You’ll get to experience a wide variety of waterfalls and nature, from plunging pools to cascades, to tall grass and bamboo forest.

When it comes to waterfall hikes, Oahu is the place to go. There are TONS of epic waterfalls on Oahu.

It’s a must-do vacation, and it will certainly be a highlight your kids will surely remember for years to come.

Keep scrolling for the best waterfall hikes in Oahu you’ll want to add to your Oahu itinerary!

And check out 101 kid-friendly things to do on Oahu!

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Oahu Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

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Oahu Waterfall Hikes FAQs


It can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. It depends on how fast you hike, how crowded it is, and whether or not you’re hiking on Oahu with kids. There’s also sometimes mud on the trail, which can slow you down.


Overall, it’s not considered a difficult hike. But, there are areas where you may have to step over tree roots, large rocks, etc. Because of this, it’s extra important to hike in sturdy shoes or hiking sandals (not flip flops!)


Nope, admission is free.


The Waimea Falls hike is 3.5 miles long. Most of it is paved and pretty flat (although there are some stairs.) If anyone in your family is unable/unwilling to do the hike, there is a tram they can take.


Absolutely! They even have a lifeguard!


Yes. There is an entry fee to access the hike and the cultural park. It’s $20 for adults and $12 for children. But, if you book luau tickets for Toa Luau (located on-site), you’ll get complimentary admission to Waimea Falls.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Planning a trip to Oahu? Find out the best Oahu hikes to see waterfalls in this post about the top 12 Oahu waterfall hikes.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes

There are so many amazing waterfall hikes on Oahu worth checking out during your trip. Here are a few that made our list.


Manoa Falls is located at the back of Manoa Valley, which is quite close to Waikiki. And it’s one of the most popular Oahu waterfalls.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Manoa Falls is one of the most popular waterfall hikes on Oahu | Waterfall hikes oahu
Manoa Falls on Oahu

The rich greenery experiences morning drizzles, which keeps the valley fresh and favorable. The waterfall is reliant on rainfall during the month, as most of the ones on the island.

You’ll enjoy the smell of the earth and the flowing waterfalls, thanks to the drizzles. The hike is actually quite short, taking 20 to 30 minutes to get to the waterfalls.

Find out if it's worth doing the Manoa Falls hike with kids by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of the Manoa Falls Trail sign.
Manoa Falls Trail sign,

On the trail, you’ll see the bamboo forest, rooted trees, and different colors and kinds of flowers. The waterfall is 150 feet tall and will definitely impress the kids. There’s a reason this is one of the most popular hikes in Oahu with waterfalls.

Parking isn’t a problem as there’s more than enough, and it costs $5 to park your car.

Trust me, this is one of the best hikes on Oahu, especially for beginners and families with young kids.

It’s one of the top easy hikes Oahu has to offer and one of the best hikes in Hawaii for kids. Check out my Manoa Falls tips for families HERE.


The hike to Waimano Falls is probably the best hike you can do in Oahu.

It’s become very popular over the years and many crowds of people come to hike the trail.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Waimano Falls is a beautiful waterfall hike on Oahu
Waimano Falls on Oahu

From the Manana Trail, you’ll get access to Waimano Falls.

The Manana trail is found on the Koma Mai Drive in Aiea, which is at the end of the residential area. The trail hike will take about 1 or 2 hours to reach the waterfall.

The valley is picturesque and you’ll get to experience the beauty of nature on your way to the falls.

Going to Waimono Falls is a downhill way, so getting back from there would be an uphill- which is called “cardiac hill” due to this.

There’s a swinging rope by the pool and you can hear the rushing sounds of the water. The bottom pool is quite deep so you can jump right in, however it is quite cold. It’s one of the best falls in Oahu for swimming.

There are actually multiple water pools- the highest part of the waterfall has moss which covers its rock walls and creates magnificent scenery.

Find out what to wear hiking in Hawaii.


Waimea Falls, otherwise known as Waihi Waterfall which is found in Waimea Valley which is known to the Hawaiians as “The Valley of the Priests.”

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Waimea Falls is a popular Oahu waterfall | waimea falls hikes
Beautiful Waimea Falls on Oahu

The valley has been sacred for over 700 years to the Hawaiians and the area has cultural significance with 79 archeological sites. Check out our full guide to visiting Waimea Valley on Oahu.

The area is actually a preservation of the Hawaiian people’s culture.

There is a ticket booth which is about three-quarters of a mile from the trail, and it’s found on a paved path.

The prices of the tickets vary depending on your age, or if you’re a student.

Image of people swimming in Waimea Falls on Oahu.
Waimea Falls is great for swimming!

At the falls, you’ll find a changing room with lockers where you can keep your things safely. While at the valley, you would be required to wear a life jacket.

The waterfall is 45 feet tall and has cascades of water flowing down and into the pool, which is covered in fauna and flora. It’s definitely one of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu’s North Shore.

The stairs are covered in moss and there are lifeguards on duty to ensure your safety.

The water is cold but it’s great to swim in and cool off. Your kids would surely enjoy learning about the rich culture of Hawaii.

After your hike, stay and enjoy Toa Luau. It’s one of the best North Shore Oahu luau options. Check out the latest prices and more details.


Maunawili Falls is found in Kailua and is a top Oahu destination.

This is the perfect spot for adventurous hikers to experience an adrenaline rush.

Maunawili Falls on Oahu: Image of three trickling waterfalls going into a basin.
Maunawili Falls on Oahu.

You access the falls by parking in a residential area. Please be respectful in the way you park, as to not block the residents’ driveways.

The fall is 20 feet tall and the trail to get there is rather muddy, so preparation is key. The fall may be small, but there’s no denying its picturesque beauty.

Maunawili Falls on Oahu: Image of a trickling waterfall going into a basin surrounded by rocks.
Another view of Maunawili Falls.

The Maunawii Falls is considered one of the best Oahu waterfall hikes.

The trail as a round-trip would take about 2 to 3 hours. This would definitely be one for the books for your family and yourself.


Old Pali Highway Falls (officially called Likeke Falls), is found below the Pali Lookout and is a mesmerizing two-tiered waterfall.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Likeke Falls is a two tiered waterfall on Oahu
Likeke Falls on Oahu

This is probably one of the easiest waterfalls to access, however one can get lost if a map isn’t in hand.

There are two routes that can be used to hike the trail to the waterfall.

The first route is the Old Pali Highway from Pali Lookout. This trail would take an hour and a half.

The second route is a lot easier and significantly shorter. It would take about 15 minutes to get to the waterfall. The route starts at the bottom of the Ko’olau Golf Club.

So it all comes down to preference, in terms of which route you would like.

If you’re with really young kids, then perhaps the shorter route would do.

Otherwise, go for the longer hike with your spouse and the kids. Just be prepared for a strenuous workout.

The other great thing about Likeke is that you’ll find other interesting waterfalls on your way to Likeke Falls.

It’s one of the best hikes in Oahu for people who want to do a short hike to see an awesome Hawaii waterfall.


This is one of the best Oahu hikes for the adventurist and nature enthusiast.

The trail to Laie Falls is a rather long one, 7 miles to be exact. It would take about 4 hours to hike.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Laie Falls, Oahu, Hawaii
Laie Falls on Oahu.

To go on the trail you need to get a permit from the Hawaii Reserves which are on the northeastern side at the Laie Shopping Center.

The hike is an adventure on its own, you’ll get to experience pine, bamboo, strawberry guava trees, and exposed ridges.

The quiet trail with a countryside atmosphere leads you to the 15-foot waterfall which is two-tiered.

There is a swimmable pool and there are food trucks and restaurants nearby that you, your spouse, and your kids will enjoy indulging in once you’re done exploring these Oahu hiking trails.


The Koloa Gulch trail is a long one that requires hikers to preserve their energy.

It’s an 8-mile trail and it begins at the open ridge at the Koolau Range.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Koloa Gulch, Oahu, Hawaii. Image of a bubbling brook on one of the best waterfall hikes Oahu has.
Koloa Gulch on Oahu.

The trail includes rock hopping over 20 times through the Koloa Stream, fruit trees, small waterfalls, a water pool, and native plants before reaching the fork, to the left you’ll find a pool and small waterfall, to the right you’ll find smaller pools before reaching the big, 100-foot waterfall.

It’s a really hard trail, but it’s so worth it if you’d like to experience a peaceful waterfall hike Oahu offers.

The entire hike could take about 8 hours, but it comes down to the pace you take along the trail and what the weather is like.

To do the trail hike, you would need to get a permit at the Laie Shopping Center.

It is advised to do this trail hike if you are a more experienced hiker and fit. You can hike the trail with your spouse and maybe with the kids, depending on their age.


The Kaipapau Falls is also an 8-mile trail, however, it is trickier than the Koloa Gulch trail.

With the former, you would need to rock hop across the stream about 40 times. Again, the trail is very much weather-dependent.

The trail takes you through a beautiful and lush forest and past bunkers that have been abandoned.

Once you’ve managed to cross the stream you will come to a magnificent 90-foot waterfall, that you and the kids will be in awe with.

This is a trail that is highly recommended to have experienced hikers come along with you while you’re hiking.

It’s a great hike to do with the family, as long as you’re experienced, fit and the kids are of appropriate age.


For a refreshing change of pace, but with nothing short of beautiful, go and see the Kapena Falls.

12 Breathtaking Oahu Waterfall Hikes featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Kapena Falls, Oahu, Hawaii
Kapena Falls on Oahu.

The trail is way shorter than the Koloa Gulch and Kaipapau Falls but is suitable if you have really young children that don’t like hiking for so long.

Overall, the trail is a 0.5-mile roundtrip and is perfect for a short hike with the family one morning or afternoon.

The trail is heavily wooded and the forest is enchanting, the waterfall is also smaller but doesn’t fail to impress in terms of its beauty, standing at just 15 feet tall.

The pool beneath the waterfall is perfect to jump into and have a swim to cool off.

Be sure to check out the petroglyphs, which are ancient to Hawaii and are found inside a small cage.

The petroglyphs are of men and dogs and they relate to the myth of Kaupe- which is a half-man and half dog type of creature, who, according to legend, lives in the area.

The Kapena Falls is a sacred area, so being respectful at all times needs to be taken into consideration while being there.


Waipuhia Falls is one of the shortest waterfall hikes on Oahu. It’s just about 0.6 miles.

You’ll find Waipuhia Falls off the Pali Highway, which is recommended to be hiked on a windy day. The reason for this is because another name for Waipuhia Falls is Upside Down Falls.

The name came along because of the illusion created by the force of the wind against the water, making it appear that the water is flowing upwards instead of downwards, defying gravity.

The trail is easier than most because it requires you to walk up a paved road.

The hike is gorgeous, you’ll see various kinds of flowers and plants as the state park preserves the endangered types.


The trail that leads you to Jackass Ginger Pool is called the Judd Trail and it’s a 1-mile trail. It’s a slightly more tedious trail than the Manoa Falls, but it’s no less exhilarating.

Image of a tree with lots of roots along the Judd Trail on Oahu.
Cool tree along the Judd Trail on Oahu.

You’ll find pine trees, rocky water slides which lead to the swimming hole, a bamboo forest, and a swinging rope.

The path is tedious in the sense that there are many rocks, roots, and branches in the area- the trail is also quite worn.

The trail hike would take about an hour and a half, which would include some time spent at the Jackass Ginger Pool.

It’s one of the most fun waterfalls Oahu offers.


Another amazing Oahu waterfall hike is Lulumahu Falls. It’s right next to the Pali Highway and you can hike it in about 30 minutes.

Lulumahu Falls is one of the prettiest waterfall hikes on Oahu. Image of a woman standing in front of an Oahu waterfall.
Lulumahu Falls on Oahu

The tricky thing about hiking Lulumahu Falls is that it’s technically on private, government land and therefore it’s an unsanctioned hike.

Plus, the start of the trail can be difficult to find and you’ll have to ignore the no trespassing signs.

But, if you decide to proceed, you’re in for an adventure! It’s one of the coolest hiking trails Oahu has for fearless hikers.

You’ll climb up stone steps, see an old reservoir, and hike into the middle of a lush forest until you reach a gorgeous, 50 foot cascading waterfall.

Here, you can dip your toes in the pool or just hang out and soak in all the peacefulness.

Waterfall Hikes Oahu Wrap Up

And there you have my top places to go waterfall hiking in Oahu. These are some of the best waterfalls in Oahu worth seeing for yourself.

If you’re looking for more Oahu trails to explore, check out my posts about easy Oahu hikes and more challenging North Shore Oahu hikes.

Picked your perfect waterfall hike on Oahu and want more Oahu activities? Find out the best things to do in North Shore Oahu, the best Oahu luaus, and best things to do in Waikiki!