10 Amazing Waterfalls in Oahu

Written by Volia Nikaci
Published: April 27, 2022
Image Credit MNStudio/Shutterstock.com
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Hawaii’s third-largest island, Oahu, is a popular tourist destination in the United States. Thousands of people visit the region each year because of the beaches, the culture, and the waterfalls. If you haven’t visited these waterfalls, you ought to. The following is a list of the best waterfalls in Oahu. We can guarantee that after reading this list, you won’t be putting off your Hawaii trip any longer.

1. Maunawili Falls

Maunawili Falls
Maunawili Falls is one of Oahu’s most popular tourist attractions.

Andrew Korson/Shutterstock.com

Maunawili Falls
Location:Kailua, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Pali Highway
Animals to See:Warbling White Eye, Red-Crested Cardinal

Maunawili Falls can only be reached by hiking 2.5 miles through green rainforests.

The waterfall reaches a height of 20 feet, and one of the things that makes this place so popular with tourists is that you can cliff jump from the rocks! Swimming in the clear, crisp water of the swimming hole makes for the perfect summer day.

2. Kapena Falls

Kapena Falls
Kapena Falls is the most accessible waterfall in Oahu.

mljphotography/Shutterstock.com

Kapena Falls
Location:Honolulu, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Downtown Honolulu
Animals to See:Common Waxbill, Saffron Finch

This waterfall in Oahu is absolutely mind-blowing. While hiking, you will encounter thick vines and gigantic boulders. In the Kapena Falls, there is a beautiful 15ft waterfall that falls straight into a large pool of water. The water can be shallow and get quite dirty after rain, so be careful when cliff jumping off these rocks.

3. Waipuhia Falls

Waipuhia Falls
Location:Honolulu, HI
Nearby Attractions:The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
Animals to See:White Tern, White-Tailed Tropic Bird

One of the rarest waterfalls in the world is the Waipuhia Falls. The reason for this is that it appears to be flowing backward. Rain and wind can strike the water with such force that the illusion is created that the water is flowing backward. There is a short hike to these falls, and it is worth seeing this natural phenomenon.

4. Waimea Falls

Waimea Falls
The site of Waimea Falls is extremely valuable both culturally and archaeologically.

MNStudio/Shutterstock.com

Waimea Falls
Location:Haleiwa, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Waimea Falls Park and Botanical Gardens
Animals to See:‘Elepaio, Apapane

Oahu’s Waimea Falls is a stunning 45ft waterfall. All of the water flowing through the falls is reportedly clean and is often regulated. On a hot day, this stream is the perfect place to swim. The botanical gardens where the waterfall is located are home to many plants and contribute to preserving Hawaiian culture.  

Our next spot is one of the rarer waterfalls in Oahu that not many people know about!

5. LiKeke Falls

Likeke falls
LiKeke Falls is one of Oahu’s hidden gems.

Pikchy/Shutterstock.com

LiKeke Falls
Location:Kaneohe, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Pali Puka Hikes
Animals to See:Hawaiian Coot, Black Crowned Night Heron

LiKeke Falls is a beautiful 15-feet waterfall that falls from rocky terrain down to the riverbed below. When you jump into the cool, crisp waters after completing the four-mile round trip hike, it is absolutely worth it. Because of the moss covering the rocks, they can be quite slippery, so be cautious when walking through the pool of water. 

6. Aihualama Falls

Trail to Aihualama Falls
Hiking trails at the Aihualama Falls are some of the best in the area.

Daniel Ramirez / flickr – License

Aihualama Falls
Location:Honolulu, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve
Animals to See:Common Myna, Java Sparrow

There is a two-mile trail that leads to Aihualama Falls along with views of lush green forest. The great thing about this trail is that you can read signs on the trail along the way that teach you about the plants and nature of Hawaii. This waterfall picks up a lot of volume when it rains and is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It is simply breathtaking.

7. Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls in Oahu, Hawaii
Manoa Falls was used as a popular filming location for Jurassic Park.

Diegomezr/Shutterstock.com

Manoa Falls
Location:Honolulu, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Manoa Falls Trail
Animals to See:White Rumped Shama, Japanese White-Eye

Oahu’s Manoa Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions. A 150-foot waterfall cascades down the mountainside effortlessly. Most people enjoy hiking to these breathtaking falls because the hike is mostly covered by trees, making for a cool, pleasant shady environment. Along the trail and at the falls, rainbows are very common, so be on the lookout!

8. Waimano Falls

Waimano falls
Swimming and cliff jumping are ideal activities at Waimano Falls.

Jason Jacobs / flickr – License

Waimano Falls
Location:Pearl City, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Ko’olau Mountains
Animals to See:Finches, Sparrows

As one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oahu, this one doesn’t get very crowded very often, which is surprising to us. Approximately three miles roundtrip, the trail takes you through an enchanting forest. There are two waterfalls at Waimano Falls, one with a deeper pool than the other. Climbing upward will lead you to a deep pool, where you can take a dip.

9. Laie Falls

Laie Falls
Location:Laie, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Laie Summit Trail
Animals to See:Oahu amakihi, Hawaiian Duck

Laie Falls is a spectacular 15ft waterfall that is definitely worth the seven-mile hike. This is one of those cases in which the journey is equally important as the destination. Throughout the trail, pine trees and guava trees provide shade, providing a stunning scenic view as you stroll. This waterfall is not as easily accessible as some of the other waterfalls we’ve mentioned. However, we recommend trying the seven-mile hike if you are an avid hiker.

10. Kaipapau Falls

Kaipapau Falls
Location:Oahu, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Kaipapau Gulch
Animals to See:Nene, Hawaiian Honeycreeper

The eight-mile hike to Kaipapau Falls is best suited to more experienced hikers because it involves climbing slippery rocks and crossing streams. In spite of the long journey, the end result is incredibly rewarding. There is a waterfall of 90 feet that flows into a large pool. It is a truly spectacular sight to behold.  

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About the Author

Volia Nikaci is a copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in SEO content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College.

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