Easy thrill: Manoa Falls, Oahu

Not far from Waikiki, Manoa Falls Trail sees a lot of footprints, among them unsuspecting tourists who sign up with a tour guide and pay for an “adventure hike.” Still, the 1.5-mile roundtrip jaunt climbs about 800 feet into the jungly Manoa Valley and delivers the goods for hikers looking for a quick getaway. The falls is a tropical classic, a 200-foot white ribbon tumbling down a cliff into a large pool. A parking fee of $5 is charged at the trailhead.<br><br>

If you go to Manoa Falls, be sure to also stop in at Lyon Arboretum, which is just up the hill before the falls trailhead. A spiderweb of trails cover the garden’s 200 acres, which were planted nearly 100 years ago. The plantlife is truly astounding. The University of Hawaii took over in 1953. Also in the neighborhood is a short (2 miles roundtrip, 375 feet elevation) to Pu’u Pia, an extinct volcanic cone now covered with greeney that affords a view of Manoa Valley and the Ko’olau Range. The Oahu Trailblazer guidebook has more details, beginning on page 79.