A mostly flat, paved trail leads visitors to Waimea Falls. The relatively short and easy walk leads past a variety of flora, such as giant ferns and lily ponds, and culturally significant archaeological sites including a series of reconstructed Hawaiian Hales (houses)—look out for the interpretive signs to learn more. When you reach the falls, take a dip in the clear water to cool off. Waimea Falls is a typical stop on Oahu circle island tours and guided tours of the North Shore: booking one of these is a great way to explore multiple attractions in a single day.
Things to Know Before You Go
There is an admission fee to enter the privately owned Waimea Valley.
The pool has a rocky floor—wear waterproof shoes if you plan on swimming.
There is a shuttle service available for those who cannot hike the trail to the falls.
You will find lifeguards on duty at the falls, and life jackets are available at no cost.
How to Get There
Located on the North Shore of Oahu, the Waimea Valley is around a 45-minute drive from Honolulu. Take the H1 and H2 highways to Haleiwa, then the coastal road to Waimea Valley, which you’ll find on your right-hand side when facing Waimea Beach.
When to Get There
If you want to see the waterfall at its best, try to visit after a period of substantial rainfall. On drier days, the teeming falls can appear more as a trickle. Waimea Falls is a very popular attraction—to avoid the biggest crowds, arrive early in the morning close to opening time.
While the waterfall is the region’s top attraction, it would be remiss to skip the rest of Waimea Valley. The Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden, for example, offers dozens of native Hawaiian botanical collections, emphasizing the valley’s cultural and ecological resources. Throughout the week, the non-profit organization that manages Waimea Valley offers cultural demonstrations and workshops involving feather work, lei making, lomi lomi massages, and stone carving.