Hiking Oahu — Mañana Trail to Waimano Pool

Posted by - June 26, 2011 | Category: The Yard

Hawaii’s hottest trail is Mañana – it has everything — waterfalls, crunters (crazed hunters), cardiac arrest patients, mud people, rope burn victims and graffiti trail markers.  Okay, now that I’m done with my little homage to Stefon from Saturday Night Live, let’s get down to the business of the trail.

The entrance to Mañana Trail is located at the end of Komo Mai Drive in the Pacific Palisades region. It’s part of the Ewa Forest Reserve, and yes, hunting is allowed. We didn’t actually see any hunters the day we were there, but guidebooks advise you to wear bright coloured clothing, just in case.

Manana Trail, Oahu HawaiiWaimano Hunting Area Sign, Oahu Hawaii









There are two trails here – the longer one (6 miles) takes you to up to a ridge, and the shorter one (3 miles round-trip) takes you to the waterfalls and pool.  The Waimano Pool hike is not what I would call a typical walk in the park.  It’s classified as intermediate and you should allow about 45 minutes to one hour each way.

The first challenge is what is known as Cardiac Hill (or Cardiac Arrest Hill as some guides call it).  It’s a steep natural tree-root staircase that’s often slick and slippery after the rain.  Sandals are definitely not recommended.

Tree Root staircase, Mañana Trail to Waimano Pool

Once you maneuver your way through the root jungle, the path narrows considerably, and you face the next challenge – mud.  And there is plenty of it to contend with. In some sections the mud can be ankle-deep, and slips and falls are common. Wear shoes (and clothes) that you don’t mind getting dirty.  And bring a bag to put them in after the hike – you don’t want to get mud all over your car, or track it all through your bus.

Library Books Reading VintageIf you’re serious about hiking in Oahu, you might want to pick up a copy of The Hikers Guide to Oahu

The final challenge is the easiest — navigating the ropes.  There are three ropes to assist you along the trail – one on the trail itself in a particularly steep section, and one into each of the two pools at the bottom.

Waimano Pool, Oahu Hawaii

The first pool has a small waterfall, but is deep and has a great jumping spot (top left in the above photo).

Waterfall at Waimano Pool, Oahu Hawaii

The second pool has the larger waterfall, and the water is refreshingly cool.

Underneath the Waterfall, Waimano Pool

Thankfully free from crowds, the trail does put you to the test physically, but the reward awaiting at the bottom was well worth it.  I could have done without the trek back up Cardiac Hill though.

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36 comments - add one
  1. Raymond,
    I didn’t know about this trail when I was in Oahu, which is probably a good thing….those tree roots…gah! But you know, the hike would have been worth it. The waterfalls are amazing!

  2. The photo of cardiac hill reminds me of a hike I took my mom on (it was her birthday) in Bocas del Toro, Panama. But add massive amounts of mud and blistering heat. And yes, we were wearing sandals.

    I thought I was actually going to give her a heart attack on her birthday!

  3. This looks like a great hike. I like the photo of the tree roots; it looks so ancient and slightly mysterious. Out of curiosity – what do they hunt there?

  4. Never made it to this place, but it looks like the waterfalls were a great, refreshing prize for all the hard work in the end. Of course, I probably would never pass cardiac hill anyway, with all those thick roots. Glad you survived without being a rope burn victim.

  5. Those tree roots look nasty and the mud… ugh but the waterfall and pools look worth the effort. Oahu really has some great hidden spots. It looks like you made the most of your time 😉

  6. Raymond, we go there often as we live on island and it’s a short trip from home. We haven’t made it to the summit yet, but will someday.


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