Rainforest, Waterfalls and Movie Sites Hike – Oahu

Explore the natural world just outside of Honolulu on the Manoa Falls Trail, located near the expansive Lyon Arboretum. This scenic, self-guided tour is a delightful excursion into the Hawaiian rainforest. It also shows just how wild Oahu can get in such a short distance away from the big city!

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You’ll see vast stretches of undisturbed trees, watch small streams feed into an impressive waterfall, and spot places where famous movies and television shows have been filmed. It’s roughly a .8-mile hike, so it’s just under 2 miles both ways. The terrain is gentle and suitable for novice hikers, although it can get slippery and you do need to use caution while walking.

There are two primary tour companies in Oahu that offer this attraction: Kaimana Tours and Kealoha Tours. You can purchase your tour through either company; they are very similar. While the excursion is unguided, your tour provides transportation to and from your Honolulu hotel as well as some extras like water and bugspray.

What’s at the Rainforest, Waterfalls and Movie Sites Hike

The Rainforest, Waterfall, and Movie Sites Hike is an excellent introduction to all that the natural world in Oahu has to offer. It’s an easy hike that’s enjoyable for novice hikers and experienced trail explorers alike for the sheer beauty of its scenery. Manoa Falls Trail is one of the oldest trails in the region, and there are legends about ancient Hawaiian people using this pathway through the jungle in times of war.

You’ll enjoy lush rainforest, from eucalyptus to bamboo and beyond. There is a magnificent, 150-foot waterfall at the terminus of the trail, known as Manoa Falls (also giving the trail its name). You’ll also find a significant collection of native Hawaiian plants and tropical birds in this area. There is a viewing area with a bench where you can pause and admire the waterfall, too.

Film buffs will also love this tour, as will visiting families. You’ll see sites where blockbuster movies such as Jurassic Park and Hunger Games: Catching Fire were filmed – it’s a fun game to see if you recognize the exact scenes! As far as television shows, keep an eye out for scenes from Lost and Hawaii Five-O.

The one major difference between the two tour companies is the length (and subsequently, the price). Kealoha Tours offers a 3.5-hour excursion that includes lunch at the TreeTops Restaurant, whereas Kaimana Tours offers a 2-hour tour that’s just the hike itself. Both are nice options, although Kaimana is more affordable. It really depends on how much time and energy you want to devote to your Hawaiian rainforest experience!

Tips for the Rainforest, Waterfalls and Movie Sites Hike

  • Regardless of the company you choose, the entire excursion takes a few hours, including hiking time and time spent at the falls. Be prepared with water to stay hydrated.
  • This trail goes right through the jungle, and attracts bugs of all kinds. Wear bug spray!
  • Wear comfortable athletic shoes and expect them to get a little muddy, especially near the waterfall. The trail is not paved.
  • The end of the trail is clearly marked; do not go beyond the end or you may face criminal charges.
  • If you’re interested in this hike, consider visiting during a rainier season so the waterfall will be at its peak.
  • We don’t recommend swimming in the pool at the base of the falls because of the risk of rockslides, and definitely don’t drink the water.
  • If you’re taking the Kealoha Tours option, you may wish to bring a change of clothes so you’re more comfortable at lunch.