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Kailua, Hawaii, United States

Maunawili Falls Trail

A nice hike through the jungle to great view of Kailua, Maunawilli Falls, and a swimming hole

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 (7 votes, 7 reviews)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 3.2 miles / 5.2 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Overview: The Maunawilli Falls Trail is a great hike in Kailua along the river that eventually stops at a beautiful waterfall with a great swimming hole below. Many people like to jump from the waterfall into the pool below, and some with a bit more courage even climb higher to the side of the waterfall to jump further (try at your own risk).

The trail is often muddy, especially after rains, and you will cross the river several times along the trail. About half way through the hike you will break out of the trees for some nice views of the surrounding mountains and views towards Kailua in the distance.

Tips: Park far from the trailhead--there are strict parking regulations and you don't want a ticket.

This trail follows creek and is usually very wet and muddy. Wear appropriate shoes (sandals are very hard to walk in once they get muddy).

Almost all of this hike is covered, but mosquitos and other bugs can be a pain. Wear bug spray or keep a good friend close behind you to swat away the pests or you will end up with quarter-size bite marks.

Points of Interest



Parking is strictly enforced near the trailhead, so it is best to park on the other side of the bridge in the more residential area. Follow the signs for the Maunamili Trail.

Maunawili Falls Trail

Follow the sign for the Maunawili Falls Trail. You will cross the river a couple of times, and there is a good chance that some of the trail will be very muddy and slippery, so watch you step.

Nice Views

After the uphill climb you will have nice unrestricted views of Kailua towards the ocean. After this you will hike back down hill, and the trail to the waterfall is nearby.

Trail to waterfall

Turn left here and follow the creek upstream. After a couple of minutes you will arrive at the swimming hole at the base of Maunawili Falls.

Maunawili Falls

There is a great swimming area at the base of the falls, and many people like to climb up the falls and jump into the water below. If you decide to jump, be careful and make sure you land far enough away from the rocks.

When you are done hike back the way you came.
Pictures in this guide taken by: chris, AJS28
Don't recommend. This is my 2nd visit after my first visit 20 yrs ago made me long to come back....

- trail is not maintained, so it is *completely* eroded. The muddiness wasn't too bad, but 90% of this hike was literally an obstacle course of huge exposed roots. not recommended for anyone under 10 yrs or over 50 yrs.

- it didn't seem as 'wondrous' as it had 20 yrs ago. sure enough, my before and after pics showed foliage was almost nothing compared to years past... with huge trees, leaves and wild orchids. no more.

- waterfall was crowded and dangerous...on a Tuesday. super deep diving water really took a lot out of howli tourist divers. One college girl even dislocated her arm upon impact after copying the locals jump from the highest point. bad idea.

There's gotta be better, more pristine locations?

Visited on Mar 29, 2015

by mirandafam on May 07, 2015
This hike is great if it wasn't for the crowd. I would recommend doing it on the weekdays as the weekends can get quite crowded. If you don't mind the crowd and want to take the family to a simple hike, I would recommend Maunawili. As a local (born and raised on Oahu) i can say there are many other less-crowded hikes with similar views and terrain on the island. I have some pictures and information about adventures
Visited on Jun 30, 2013

by captaincrunches on Jul 24, 2014
The trailhead is located in a residential area, but the trail shortly leaves a private road and delivers sub-tropical delights.

This canopy covered trail is lush with flowers and fruit trees. After fording the stream several times and a brief clime to the spur, we enjoyed fresh mango from trees along the trail. We even saw someone harvesting leafy greens just off the trail.

At the falls, we enjoyed the cliff-diving. Several dare-devils were cannon-balling from the highest cliff on the left as you walk up to the waterfall.(The jumping point is well concealed... maybe 30+ft above the water, yicks!).

Visited on Aug 08, 2012

by JRLuker on Aug 21, 2012
Good hike although it can get rather crowded on a weekend. Great views on the hike and not very difficult.

I've done this hike a number of times and it can get very muddy after some rain. Don't expect to come back clean!

Visited on Aug 13, 2011

by Wads on Aug 22, 2011
This was a really fun hike...not too long or difficult but with a phenomenal waterfall at the end. There was definitely a lot of mud (I slipped a couple times...) but soon you forget about being dirty because the views are so great.

There are a couple places where you have to cross a stream in order to follow the path, so be ready to get your feet wet. Also, swimming in the waterfall at the end is super fun, and jumping off the small cliff into the water below is exhilarating and also safe because the water is deep.

Bring a change of clothes to keep in your car, so you don't get your car muddy and wet when you get back from the hike like I did!

Visited on Feb 22, 2011

by mbhafer on Mar 14, 2011
A great hike, with a really beautiful potion along a ridge. The lower parts were muddy (I went in the winter) and the soil is clay-y so it was slippery. If it's been rainy, expect to put your hands/butt in the mud a couple times!

The waterfall at the top is soooo beautiful. Wish I could be there now!

We didn't have any trouble with parking in the neighborhood nearby.

Visited on Feb 21, 2011

by smaatta on Mar 11, 2011
This is a great hike, probably one of my favorite on Oahu, and I have done it probably 3 times. The hike itself isn't too hard (but wear shoes, because the trail can get muddy which makes it very slippery if you are wearing sandals--trust me!).

At the waterfall you can jump off the side into the pool below. If you are a little more brave, you can climb up a bit higher on the left side of the waterfall (standing on the top of the waterfall, looking at the pool).

To extend the hike further, you can hike along the creek further until you find a ladder and a bridge. Climb up and turn right and follow the concrete ditch a ways and you will end at a small opening with some slippery rocks that you can slide down.

Watch out for mosquitos, or you will have quarter-sized bite marks.

Visited on Feb 22, 2007

by chris on Feb 10, 2011

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