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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting to Know Hawaii: Manoa Falls Trail

The Need to Knows:
  • Manoa Falls Trail is located at the very end of Manoa Road, very close to the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum and about fifteen minutes north of Honolulu in the Koolau Mountains -- check out this Google Maps link to see exactly where:
  • I'd judge the trail's difficulty as not super easy but not hard either, depending on the amount of rain that had fallen recently of course.  If it has rained definitely take your time and be careful since it can be pretty slippery at times.  Prepare for mud!
  • The hike is about a mile long one way, and took us about two hours to hike round trip, going at a leisurely pace (with ample time for photographs).
  • There is obviously no admission fee for the trail itself.  Parking is available for $5 at a private lot (owned by a restaurant/charter school) a little bit before the trail begins; you can also park at the Arboretum if you plan on visiting that as well.
  • Restrooms and a small store are located next to the private lot; none are along the trail.
  • I personally would not wear flip-flops along this trail, especially if it has rained.
  • There are benches located at the waterfall itself, but not along the trail.
  • Bring bug spray!  You'll be walking through rainforest, so when mosquitoes are out they will eat you alive.

Sign at the Manoa Falls trailhead
The Manoa Falls Trail is a very beautiful hike with a wonderful reward at the end.  Mr. L, his friend Joe, and I had a great time exploring the gorgeous landscape as we hiked our way up.

I of course had to make the guys pose at the gate =)
The very beginning of the trail is actually quite beautiful.  You walk across this bridge and are greeted by remarkable views of the landscape around you.

I took one of my favorite photos from this hike in this area:

I absolutely adore the colors in this photo -- maybe I'll get it framed =)
 After admiring the trail's beauty, we set out to actually do some hiking.

Boulders and steps along the trail
 Since it had recently rained (and was lightly raining throughout the day), we had to be careful where we stepped.  Ironically the fortified steps the trail preservers had built along the paths made things more slippery, so we really had to watch where our feet were landing.

And of course we had to stop plenty of times along the way to catch some great photos.

Thanks to all the rain we'd been having that week, along with the rain that was falling that day, the trail was pretty muddy.

And when I say muddy, I definitely mean muddy.  Check out the two photos below:

Wanna make some mud pies?
This muddy section was easily the worst part of the entire trail, and even it wasn't too bad.  After trudging through the slimy, gooey mess, we made our way through a gorgeous little bamboo forest.

After that we were rewarded with a sneak peek of the falls!

Getting closer!

And finally, we made it to the falls themselves!

Definitely heed the warning signs, even though not everyone does.  FYI - the water is NOT safe to drink, and I wouldn't even swim there.

Having this gorgeous waterfall before us definitely made it worth the hike.  I couldn't believe how big it was at first -- I was expecting something smaller, so it was a nice surprise.

Mr. L checking out the falls

It also is worth noting that the end of Manoa Falls Trail marks the beginning of another -- the Aihualama Trail.  We didn't keep going onto this trail (instead opting for other activities for the rest of the day) but if you're interested in learning more about it, check out the Yelp reviews here.

All in all, the Manoa Falls Trail was a great little hike that I will definitely be taking again in the future with friends and family as they come visit us on the island.  But hopefully the next time we go, it won't be so muddy!



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