At most waterfall locations, the swimming hole at the bottom of the falls is typically very shallow and rocky. You must practice water safety while in unknown swimming holes.
A few other things to mention while hiking and swimming near waterfalls are to never drink the water, wear bug repellent, and if are not sure about the depth of the water do not swim or dive in it. Using your common sense will help you enjoy Oahu’s nature.
Here are a few of my waterfall, hiking and swimming recommendations to cool off from the hot Hawaiian sun.
Located on the North Shore, the Waimea Valley (formerly known as Waimea Falls Park) is a stunning nature preserve, which has it all: the waterfall, the hiking, and the swimming. This exquisite valley has an enormous assortment of plants and flowers, which can be enjoyed on your three-quarter mile hike to the waterfall.
The path is paved and makes for an easy walk for those of all ages. Once at the waterfall, be sure to take in all the beauty Waimea has to offer. On the way back down, be sure to take a dip into the water under the falls, it is quite refreshing. The Waimea Valley offers free kickboards and lifejackets for you. If there is not a lifeguard though, they may not allow you to swim.
It is the easiest waterfall to get to on Oahu, and the safest for sure.
Waimea even offers guided hikes and a night walking tour called, “Whispering Walls of Waimea”. This hidden gem on the island should not be missed.
Manoa Falls, near Waikiki, is nestled in the Manoa Valley and attracts both visitors to the island and even the locals. The hike to Manoa Falls is just under a mile long and can be quite a rugged trail at times.
Since the hike begins at the base of the Ko’oaus Mountains, you must use caution. The trail will take you through a rainforest and even a bamboo forest. Throughout the trail there are some stairs to assist you, but because of the location being at the bottom of the Ko’oaus Mountains it can be quite rocky at times. This 150 feet waterfall is quite impressive and makes for a wonderful photo opportunity.
Finally, I would highly suggest experiencing the Maunawili Falls Trail. Located on the Winward side of Oahu, this trail is a bit more designed for intermediate hikers rather than for beginner hikers. Depending on your pace and how good you are at hiking on a non-paved surface, the average time to get to Maunawili Falls is typically about one hour and forty-five minutes.
Be prepared to get dirty and muddy, but don’t worry. If you make it to the falls, you can jump into the cool refreshing swimming pool that wait for you below to get clean! There are many spots from the falls to jump down from, it just depends how brave you are.
Swim under Hawaii Waterfalls – check out the other islands too, or more Oahu waterfall info here
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