Maunawili Falls

Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Maunawili Falls

Maunawili Falls Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This is a very popular hike to a pretty little waterfall and pool. You will probably enjoy it more if you get there early in the day. The surrounding area was once farmed by the early Hawaiians, later planted with sugar, coffee, and rubber, and grazed by cattle, but is now lush and green again and blooming with flowers. It is shady most of the way, usually damp and sometimes muddy, with three slippery stream crossings.

Follow the shady private paved road alongside Olomana Stream, which is audible but not visible, to where the road is very clearly marked closed. Turn right (north) onto the Maunawili Falls Trail, which is fairly flat and wide at first beneath tall straight trees draped with huge houseplants. Alongside the trail you’ll see several different kinds of colorful gingers, showy heliconias (lobster claws), and birds-of-paradise, as well as occasional coffee plants left over from
agricultural days."

More Maunawili Falls Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking the Hawaiian Islands (Falcon Guides)
Suzanne Swedo
View more trails from this guide book
"This is a very popular hike to a pretty little waterfall and pool. You will enjoy it more if you get there early in the day to avoid the crowds. The surrounding area was once farmed by the early Hawaiians, later planted with sugar, coffee, rubber, and grains. Follow the shady private paved road alongside Olomana Stream, audible but not visible, to where the road is very clearly marked closed. Turn right (north) onto the Maunawili Falls Trail, which is fairly flat and wide at first, passing beneath tall straight trees draped with huge houseplants." Read more
Day Hikes on Oahu (Day Hike Books)
Robert Stone
View more trails from this guide book
"Maunawili Falls is an alluring 20-foot cataract that cascades off rocky cliffs into a deep pool. The trail to Maunawili Falls is set in a beautiful forest on the slopes of the Koolau Mountains near the town of Maunawili. The path follows Maunawili Stream, and the cascading sounds of the stream are constant throughout the hike. The forested area is rich with banana, papaya, ginger, ti and taro plants." Read more

Maunawili Falls Reviews

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3/1/2011
This trail was fun and beautiful. It is very muddy so it can be difficult from novice hikers. The waterfall is nice but what's really great is that you can cliff dive into the pool. There is a second pool above the waterfall.
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1/3/2011
My wife, mother-in-law, and I hiked this soon after our wedding in Honolulu. My wife who is from Kailua wanted to "trash" the dress (bought used, didn't want to fly back with it) so we decided the falls would be a neat photo-op. She said that I would be okay to do the hike in slippers (flip-flops). If you're not an experienced hiker and in good shape, then I wouldn't recommend going in something less than a sturdy shoe/hiking boot. Look for the side trails that go AROUND the mud pits. If you're in HI for a visit don't have more than a week I would say try and find some other trails, drive to the North Shore, Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden, etc.
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6/5/2010
The trip was okay. Some good scenary and some okay hills, but the whole trip is for the amazing falls at the end. There are three jumps at the falls (easiest to scariest) - on top of the falls, the cliff to the right of the falls and a cliff to the left of the falls (you take a trail to get to this one). I'm guessing the heights but here they are in the same order as above - 15 feet, 30-35 feet, 50 feet. The water is plenty deep but freezing cold. Oh yeah, and don't pee in the water or drink the water (ever see Rundown? Same principle).
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4/19/2009
The ground was very uneven on the trail. Saw a lot of people with flip flops on...seemed like a really bad idea. When we got to the falls it seemed the large gathering of people there were more concerned with cliff jumping than with enjoying the falls with a large pool at the bottom. Would have been nice without the people. The trail up the valley (Maunawili trail) was better.
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3/28/2009
One of my favorite hikes on the windward side of the island. Absolutely beautiful falls and the hike / walk up to them is pretty spectacular too. There's lots to do further on in the valley too if you're feeling more adventurous.
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9/23/2007
This begins as a nice stroll in the woods and then starts to pick up steam a bit. I'd say this is a novice hike, but you will be going up/down approx.240 steps in the duration of the hike (steeper by the falls), so be warned if you have knee problems. As I have stated in other reviews, bring hiking boots! If you can, bring a walking stick also. I used a bamboo stick to help me cross the stream, it was extremely helpful. Though the "guidebook" to this hike was very helpful, it was inaccurate in some instances. There was a fork after the first crossing and then a few more thoughout the hike. Just stay to the left on all of them. The closer you get, there will be signs pointing you in the right direction. The last portion of the hike, the stream becomes the actual trail. I'm not great with distances, but I'd say for about 75ft (or less) you will be boulder hopping until you can climb up on the trail again on the right by "the tree" (you'll see), that will take you to the falls. I believe swimming is permitted here, so bring a bathing suit. If you feel to urge, climb up to the falls and jump in. This hike took me approx 2 1/2 hours to complete. Would have been faster if it wasn't for those steps! Oh, and I don't think this is a hike for babies. I myself was weary at times crossing the stream and almost took a dive a few times, so trying to cross while holding onto a baby just seems like a big "no-no". I saw this happen and was stunned by it. But if you're an advanced hiker and are comfortable toting a baby along, feel free, but if you're on vacation without experience and read at the hotel kiosk that you can walk to a waterfall and decide to do it on a whim because it'll be fun for the baby to play in the water, I'd say don't do it.
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3/11/2001
This trail is rated as a novice trail in one of the local island trails book. It is easy if you are in shape. If you have knee problems, don't try it. The trail has lots of steep steps going up and down. The trail is located on the windward side of the island thus the vegetation is a bit different from the leeward side. The trail is popular amongst the locals as a swimming hole. However, there are signs posting a health risk if you decide to swim in it. The trail crosses a stream several times which can be challenging to those whose equalibrium is off. And it definitely an adventure in the rainy season. Parking is restricted and quite limited. The trail is well travelled on the weekends and during the school breaks. The scenery and views are well worth the effort. At one point in the trail, you can view the Kaneohe Bay. The trail is on private property so please follow the rules posted at the beginning of the trail. And while you are treking, you can look for the rehabed wild pig. The pig's story is posted on signs at the beginning of the trail.
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Trail Information

Kailua
Nearby City
2.8
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Easy
Skill Level
2 to 3 hours
Duration
All year
Season

Activity Feed

Dec 2018