Manoa Falls to Nu’uanu Overlook

The other day, I made an extended adventure to Nu’uanu Overlook and beyond so that I could familiarize myself with the Tantalus and Konahuanui trail system. Along the way, I braved rain storms and saw many of the numerous flowing waterfalls that make Manoa Valley so beautiful. Then, at the top of several bamboo switchbacks, was one of my favorite views on the island. Please enjoy my adventure as I travel from Manoa to Nu’uanu as I scout my upcoming trips to Upper Lulumahu and Konahuanui.
Nu'uanu Valley

Recently, we have been having some very wet weather on Oahu. It’s starting to feel like summer has ended.
Even so, I felt like hiking so I chose something rather easy this time.
Manoa Falls Construction Sign
The Manoa Falls trail is one of Oahu’s easiest hikes as well as one of my favorites.
Even though it’s a “tourist hike”, the jungle is very scenic and on a weekday it’s actually a fairly pleasant walk.
Workers on Manoa Trail 1
Currently, DLNR workers are hard at work making the Manoa Falls trail even easier than it already is. You can read more about that here.
In this photo, they are jack hammering rocks because rocks can be slippery. lol =p
Workers on Manoa Trail 2
Along the way, I ran into more workers who were digging up rocks on the trail and filling everything in with gravel.
I wonder if Manoa Falls is going to be even easier than Diamond Head after they’re done? lol ^^;
Fresh Trail
A section of freshly manicured trail.
I wonder if they’ll eventually pave it and put in a shuttle service. *shudder* ^^;
Manoa Falls
After meandering along the mountain apple groves (no apples), I arrived at the 150 foot Manoa Falls.
Even though it is touristy, Manoa Falls is probably my favorite waterfall on the island after a good rain (well, not including Sacred which is closed).
Me at Manoa Falls
Even though I said Manoa is my favorite, that’s based on difficulty as well. If difficulty wasn’t a factor, the Koloa Gulch waterfalls are actually my favorite on the island…

A short video of Manoa Falls after a good rain.
I really wish I took more videos of the waterfalls I have already visited. Pictures are nice but you don’t feel like you are there….
Aihualama Trail Sign
After seeing Manoa Falls, I went up the trail you see on your left. It’s called Aihualama Trail.

Aihualama Trail is not the fastest way to reach the Nu’uanu Overlook but it is a way to get more out of your Manoa Falls visit. That is…..if you don’t mind getting really muddy. ^^;
Nanoha Falls
On the way up Aihualama Trail, on my left I saw “Nanoha Falls”.
This waterfall is actually not called that though. It’s the right fork of the same stream that Manoa Falls feeds…..
Muddy Bamboo Tunnel
If you like mud, the Tantalus trail network is for you. The views were almost nonexistent but there was a lot of bamboo and….well….mud. ^^;
Large Tree
There are a few cool things to see on the way up. On the left were two enormous trees that might have been the largest I’ve seen on Oahu so far.
Tropical Forest
The forest is also very pretty. I rather enjoyed this trail…
Yellow Hawaiian Flower
Some of the tropical plant life that can be found on the way up.
Pauoa Flats Trail
After heading up the numerous muddy switch backs, at the top was the intersection with the Pauoa Flats trail. If you make a right here, it will take you to the Nu’uanu Overlook. (:
Strawberry Guava
Along the way were a few ripe strawberry guava fruits.
Kahana Valley Strawberry Guava
A few days ago, I tried strawberry guava for the first time. They pretty much lived up to their name and tasted an awful lot like strawberries.
They were not my favorite but were not that bad….
Nu'uanu Overlook Deadend
On the way up, I was told by several tourists that this path just “dead ends”.
That’s a good thing that they think that but there is an advanced trail hidden up here as well. (:
Me at Nu'uanu Overlook
But, before heading up the advanced trail, I took a while to enjoy the view. Thankfully, the rain let up for a few minutes so that I could check out Nu’uanu Valley from high above. (:
Nu'uanu Overlook
The mountain in the distance is Lanihuli and just below is the reservoir near Lower Lulumahu Falls. To my surprise, there were actually a lot of people working down there.
I thought the reservoir was mostly abandoned. ^^;
Hidden Konahuanui Trail Head
After taking in the view, I headed to the unmarked trail to Konahuanui. It’s purposely hidden so that inexperienced hikers do not accidentally wander down it while on the state trail. ^^;
Go only if you are extremely comfortable with Hawaii’s unique trails.
Freshly Mowed Trail
After the obscure trail head, I was amazed at how maintained the trail was. It look freshly mowed and it was well marked. (:
Steep Contour Trail
The trail to Konahuanui is a long and sketchy one when it’s raining. It contours on the side of the mountain on a very narrow trail that varied from mud to slippery rock.

At times, it felt like I was walking on scaffolding on the side of a skyscraper. This is not a trail to do when it has been raining heavily. ^^;;
Lulumahu Falls
Down below, I could see the waterfalls above Lower Lulumahu Falls. Apparently, there is a trail that can take you to the upper falls further along the trail but I was not going that far on this rainy day….
Konahuanui in Clouds
In the distance, I could see the tallest mountains on the windward side known as Konahuanui (K1 and K2). Due to the rainy weather (which got progressively worse after this shot), I was forced to head home early. I plan to come back here though, when the weather is more favorable.

Likely, I will take Manoa Middle Ridge to K2/K1 and then head down this trail to Manoa. We’ll see…

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little walk. It’s a really beautiful area that I hope to see more of soon.

Till next time….


2 comments on “Manoa Falls to Nu’uanu Overlook

  1. Bryson Wong says:

    How long is the unmarked trail from the top of the Nu’uanu to Konahuanui?

    • punynari says:

      I’m not for certain but it felt like 2 to 3 miles long. The trail contours and then beyond where I turned around, it starts to climb to the summits.

      Expect that this is an all day hike from Nu’uanu, from Manoa Middle/Olympus, Piliwale, or the notches. Hopefully I can do one of those routes soon and get a write up on here. (:

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