What Is The Best Waterfall Hike In Oahu?

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There can be no debate about the fact that Hawaii is the ultimate destination for vacation and outdoor adventure, and the island of Oahu is undoubtedly testimony to this. Indeed, Oahu is home to almost every kind of epic outdoor adventure that you can think of, and hikers, in particular, are in for a treat with the many trails leading to breathtaking waterfalls.

Oahu, Hawaii, is undoubtedly a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Oahu is teeming with miles of beautiful, lush hiking trails leading to breathtaking waterfalls, some of which were used to film famous Hollywood movies like Jurassic Park. Oahu’s best waterfall hike is the Ka’au Crater Hike.

For an outdoor enthusiast, an adventure is never complete until you have experienced the best. The good news is that Oahu is teeming with extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for adventure. Discover why Oahu should be the destination for your next hiking adventure by learning about the experience and the best waterfall hike on the island. 

Waterfall Hikes In Oahu, Hawaii

Anyone who has ever visited Hawaii before will tell that there is undoubtedly something magical about it. Oahu, in particular, is one of Hawaii’s tourist hotspots, and there is a good reason for that. Sure, it is no secret that all of Hawaii is exquisitely beautiful. Still, if any one of the Hawaiian Islands could best represent all that Hawaii offers, it would undoubtedly be Oahu. 

Indeed, Oahu is arguably the perfect destination for an epic outdoor adventure. If you are an eager hiker, there is simply no question about it – you need to make your way to Oahu! This Hawaiian Island is teeming with lush greenery, bamboo forests, breathtaking views of mountains, and mesmerizing waterfalls. What more could an outdoor enthusiast ask for on a hike?

Oahu is home to several miles of scenic hiking trails that cater to any skill and experience levels. In other words, you don’t need to worry about being the fittest hiker out there to enjoy the beautiful hiking trails on offer. Sure, some are more strenuous than others, but even the more accessible hikes will be most rewarding with magnificent views of waterfalls.

Make sure to bring a bathing suit with you because once you have reached the waterfalls towards to end of your hike, many of them cascade into stunning, refreshing pools to help you cool down and enjoy the reward of your hike. 

As a fun fact, to show how unique the hiking trails in Oahu are, some of Oahu’s hiking trails (or at least sections of them) were used to film the classic, original Jurassic Park movie. Indeed, a waterfall hiking experience in Oahu makes you feel like you are in a prehistoric world, which undoubtedly adds a unique touch to your adventure.

Preparing For A Waterfall Hike In Oahu

Before embarking on a waterfall hike in Oahu, you must ensure that you are adequately prepared. Here are a couple of things worth considering before enjoying one of Oahu’s many waterfall hikes.

Firstly, one of the best times to go on a waterfall hike in Oahu is after a fair amount of rainfall. The recent rain will ensure that you experience the waterfalls at their very best. 

Secondly, many of the waterfall hiking trails have very muddy paths that can be slippery. So, you do not want to be wearing your favorite pair of Nike’s while hiking in Oahu. Instead, a good pair of hiking boots is recommended to ensure that you can navigate the terrain with maximum confidence. 

Next, you want to make sure that you thoroughly research each hiking trail before embarking on them. Some of Oahu’s waterfall hikes are physically very demanding and require relatively high fitness levels and, in some cases, climbing skills. Suppose that does not sound like something that you could handle, make sure to select a more leisurely hike. As previously mentioned, they are just as rewarding!

Lastly, the locals take the preservation and conservation of their land very seriously. Some sections of Oahu’s hiking trails are considered sacred land amongst Hawaiian people. It should undoubtedly go without saying, but make sure to respect and honor the environment of the hiking trails that you embark on to keep them as lush and beautiful as they are.

The Best Waterfall Hikes In Oahu

Alright, now it is time to get to the fun part. By now, you are undoubtedly bursting at the seams, waiting to find out where the best waterfall hikes in Oahu are. We will help you to plan your next waterfall hiking adventure by showing you the top three waterfall hikes in Oahu that you do not want to pass by. 

Waimano Falls

Coming in at spot number three, the hike to Waimano Falls is undoubtedly one of the best and most famous waterfall hikes that Oahu has to offer. The hike is roughly three miles long through a dense, scenic forest before finally reaching the breathtaking waterfalls.

Upon arrival at the stunning waterfall, you will be able to cool off in the pools, and, for those looking for more of a thrilling experience, you could even try some cliff jumping into the pools. Provided you aren’t afraid of heights; you’ll be able to enjoy a near 20-foot drop into the pools. However, remember to always check for water depth and any rocks or debris before jumping. 

Parts of the hike are somewhat challenging, so it is recommended that you have some hiking experience before taking on the challenge of hiking to Waimano Falls.

Manoa Falls

Next up is what we would consider as the second-best waterfall hike in Oahu. If you were wondering where classic films like Jurassic Park or series like Lost were filmed, Manoa Falls is the answer that you have been looking for. At roughly only one and a half miles, this hike is on the more accessible side and is even suitable for families with smaller children. 

Despite the more leisurely hike, hikers will enjoy a lush forest walk and finally be rewarded with breathtaking views of the magnificent 150-feet tall waterfall that is Manoa Falls. This spot can get busy, and understandably so! Make sure not to pass by on an opportunity to hike to Manoa Falls!

Ka’au Crater Hike

And finally, what we consider to be the best waterfall hike in Oahu, is the epic Ka’au Crater Hike. At just over roughly four and a half miles in length, this is undoubtedly one of the most strenuous waterfall hikes in Oahu, but the experience and the reward are well worth it. 

From dense forests to rope climbs and panoramic views, the Ka’au Crater Hike has arguably everything that an outdoor enthusiast could ever hope for. Oh, and you won’t only have one waterfall to enjoy, but several! In fact, hikers can even do a rope climb up one of the waterfalls. 

Overall, the Ka’au Crater Hike offers an experience that is simply unmatched, and if you get the opportunity to give this hike a go, make sure not to turn the offer down.  


While there are undoubtedly several more waterfall hikes on offer in Oahu, we feel that these are the best ones that perfectly encompass all that Oahu has to offer. If you are serious about hiking and outdoor adventure, then a waterfall hiking experience in Oahu, Hawaii, is not to be passed by!