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The 10 Best Oahu Waterfalls Travelers Should Visit

Oahu Waterfalls

If you're planning to take a trip to Oahu, there will be a lot to see and do. Some of the most beautiful attractions in the area are the waterfalls. There are dozens to choose from but we have a preference for ten that offer to most spectacular features. While some may believe that if you've seen one waterfall, you've seen them all, we must respectfully disagree. We've put together a guide to give you the details about what sets each of these beautiful locales apart from the rest. Here are the ten waterfalls in Oahu you won't want to miss.

10. Maunawili Falls

No trip to Oahu is fully realized without visiting Oahu's most popular tourist attraction. Mauanwili Falls is popular with hikers who enjoy the two-and-a-half-mile hike there and back. We recommend going off of the peak season because the trail fills up quickly during the summer months. You'll find this Hawaiian wonder, just off the Pali Highway. Be prepared with comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots, but make sure you're wearing your swimming attire. Some tourists enjoy doing a little cliff jumping at the site while others just enjoy the lovely dense forest and lovely flowers on the trip.

9. Waimano Falls

Waimano Falls is a site that we recommend for families or couples with an entire day to spend getting there, enjoying the sights, and making their way back down the ascent. This excursion is best for experienced hikers in condition. It helps if you don't mind climbing a steep grade. It's a two-hour hike with an hour dedicated to each direction, but you won't want to leave once you arrive. The terrain can be challenging. When you see the waterfall, it will be worth it. It's a beautiful display of water cascading over rocks into two lovely pools beneath, large and calm enough for swimming. You'll also find a few cliffs suitable for jumping into the deep pools below. Waimano Falls provides an exceptional backdrop for taking family pictures and videos. It's not as crowded as most other waterfalls in Oahu. The reason is the trip to get there and back is difficult.

8. Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is one of the most popular attractions for visitors because it provided the backdrop for a few popular films including "Lost," and "The Hunger Games." It's best to see this waterfall during the winter months because this is when it's at its peak of water volume. It's beautiful any time of year, but it's a little more spectacular during winter. One of the best things about Manoa Falls is that it's not far from Waikiki. Unlike Waimano Falls, the trail is clear and easy to follow for the entire trek. The scenery is breathtaking, and the walking is not difficult. It's one of the better waterfalls to see with the elderly and small children.

7. Waimea Falls

Waimea Falls is one of the most beautiful excursions in the Waimea Valley. This area is one that you can easily get lost in for days. We mean that in the metaphorical sense because the valley is filled with numerous sights to see. It offers something for everyone. You'll find many archaeological sites, tons of botanical gardens, and Waimea Falls waterfall. There are places for tourists to jump into the water and a spot for swimming. You'll find Waimea Falls on the North Shore of Oahu.

6. Lulumahu Falls

Lulumahu Falls is another opportunity for hikers to get their fill of adventure. It's one of the easy trails to follow. Most of the two-mile trail is flat. You should plan on hiking for about a half-hour to reach the top. You'll be amazed when you see the cascading waters of these tiered falls. Swimming is allowed at the pool located beneath the falls. We must warn you. On your way to the waterfall, you're likely to see a few cliff jumpers taking advantage of the "epic" jumping ledge. The fact is that the giant water tower is off-limits. You can be arrested and fined because it's against the law. It's best to continue to your destination and enjoy the beautiful scenery on your way up. The falls provide a romantic backdrop for videos and photos.

5. Li'keke Falls

Li'keke Falls is not one of the more popular waterfalls on Oahu, but it is among the most unique. It is a small tiered waterfall that cascades down about fifteen feet. You can stand close to or inside the water for photo sessions for some spectacular backdrops. One of the best parts is that you can enjoy the 3.5-mile roundtrip hike and see some of the most beautiful scenery on the Island. This area provides some of the most beautiful views for observing the sunrise and the sunset. To get there, start at the Pali Lookout car park and follow the signs. If it's a hot day, you'll appreciate the cool mist that becomes a swamp cooler during the summer months.

4. Kapena Falls

Kapena Falls is another little-known area that many tourists are not aware of. Like Li'keke Falls, the waterfall is one of the smaller versions but the water streams powerfully downward creating a huge pool for swimming. Begin your trip to the falls off of Nuuanu Avenue, and hike to the falls which are not even a mile away. It's the ideal trip for a morning hike to enjoy breakfast and a little swimming in this picturesque and relaxing little waterfall with plenty of jumping spots for making quick excursions.

3. Laie Falls

Laie Falls is a private area that is ideal for couples who want to get away from tourist crowds. It's ideal for experienced hikers in excellent physical condition. The hike starts on the North Shore of Oahu at Laie, and it takes to up to the falls on a 3-mile trek, for a beautiful view of the small yet beautiful waterfall. The trip down is about three miles, so expect to spend several hours on your journey. You're less likely to encounter a crowd on the trip.

2. Aihualama Falls

Aihualama Falls is one of the better places to go for a mile hike there and another mile back down. The trail is well maintained and it isn't too difficult to climb. We recommend taking the entire family to see this lovely waterfall. It's located on the inside of the Lyon Arboretum. Everyone will marvel at the diverse flora and fauna, complete with educational signs that tell you the name and give a description of the plants and flowers. The Lyon Arboretum combined with Aihualama Falls is like taking a nature walk, complete with a trail map so you won't miss any of the points of interest.

1. Waipuhia Falls

Waipuhia Falls may be one of the most famous waterfalls in Oahu. it is nicknamed the upside-down Falls because of its unique water flow patterns in wind and rain. You'll find Waipuhia Falls off the Pali Highway. The trail leading to the Falls is just a hair over a half-mile. Waipuhia sounds like an easy place to find, but it isn't. If you're not familiar with the area you could get lost because of the overgrowth on the trails. They're not maintained, but if you get directions from the locals it's much easier to find. This is a challenging location for experienced hikers.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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