The Lyon Arboretum is truly a hidden gem in the back of Mānoa Valley. It's quiet grounds offer an array of native and introduced plant species spread out over a surprisingly expansive area. Owned and operated by the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum boasts over 5,000 species of tropical and sub-tropical plants and a maze of over 7 miles of hiking trails. This well-maintained green space is perfect for a self-guided excursion with the help of informational signage. Along with conducting research as a field station for ecologists and biologists, the arboretum also hosts cultural and community services specializing in Hawaiian ethnobotany. With an average rainfall of over 160 inches per year, the back of Mānoa Valley is oftentimes wet or muddy. At the end of the main hiking trail is a serene waterfall situated among dense forest canopy. Themed areas include: Herb and Spice Garden, Native Hawaiian Garden, Bromeliad Garden, and the mature forest upper sections. Private tours can be arranged for $10 per person through the Education Office at 808.988.0461.
Although there is no entrance fee to the park, visitors are requested to make a donation and check in at the visitor center adjacent to the parking area. The arboretum is open on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Many tourists visit the nearby Mānoa Falls Trail, which becomes extremely crowded during the day, but rarely do they venture into the arboretum. That being said, parking is limited at the Lyon Arboretum, so plan to arrive early! For more information on details and events, please visit the UH Manoa Lyon Arboretum website.