Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
2,028.00 ft (618.13 m)
Trail type
4.70 mi (7.56 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

On the official map, the lookout at the bottom of the Konahuanui (K2) Trail is marked as Pauoa Flats Lookout Bench. It offers staggering views of the valley that is home to the Kaniakapūpū Ruins and Nuuanu Reservoir guarded by the peaks of Pu’ulanihuli and Nāpuʻumaiʻa. It’s also the place where you can see five rainbows in less than eight minutes appear and disappear again when the conditions are just right.

Start at the Lyon Arboretum, Manoa Falls Parking. You can take the bus (no. 5 to Manoa Rd + Kumunoe St, then a short walk) or drive there (the Manoa Falls parking lot, the only one that’s always open, isn’t big so either come earlier in the morning or take the bus). There’s a small shop with fruits, drinks, and a bathroom.

Head out on Manoa Falls Trail and follow it as it crosses a small creek. You’ll arrive at a place you might recognize from a film or a show you’ve seen; it was the filming location for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Hawaii Five-0, and Lost. Cross another bridge and follow the trail as it gets swallowed by the jungle. It starts to climb here as it follows Waihi Stream toward Manoa Falls.

You’ll arrive at Manoa Falls after about ¾ of a mile. Depending on the season and how much it had rained in the previous days and weeks, it might come crashing down in an impressive show of power or it might be just barely trickling down the rocks. There’s a sign that prohibits entry all the way to the base of the waterfall and even a low wall for those who didn’t learn how to read in elementary school but you’re probably going to see a few people who ignored both. Please respect the place and have a regard for your own safety and listen to the posted signs.

From the falls, take a few steps back down the stairs and onto the trail and head up Aihualama Trail. If you decide to skip the falls, Aihualama Trail will appear as a sharp left-turning switchback to you. From the falls, simply keep right to get onto it.

For a mile and a half, the Aihualama Trail will lead you up to the top of the ridge in a series of switchbacks. You’ll go through bamboo groves and over banyan tree roots. There’s a section of the trail that’s about 5% trail and 95% root. It looks almost as if the trail had disappeared. There are three enormous, ancient banyans near that section. Unfortunately, people have felt the desire to carve their initials and other things into the bark of these gorgeous trees, so be prepared to see that.

Be very careful with your footing as Aihualama Trail has some sections where it’s quite easy to turn an ankle. The mud and roots are slippery, especially after it rains, so choose your footing wisely. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad trail for children; they’re likely to have a lot of fun scrambling up and down the roots and rocks. (Just be ready to do a lot of laundry afterward.)

Aihualama Trail eventually joins Pauoa Flats where the climb levels off for a tiny bit. Take a sharp right on the Pauoa Flats Trail around a massive tree that sometimes has a small warning sign concerning local flora. This portion of the hike is more or less level, especially compared to where you just came from. If it rained recently, you’ll most likely have to utilize the bamboo trunks and wooden planks laid onto the trail to avoid the deep puddles that tend to form there.

This section of Pauoa Flats Trail is only 0.3 mile long. After a last short climb, the trail will spit you opposite a steep cliff where the ridge falls off into the valley below; you’ve reached the lookout.

There will be a trail to your right and left; the one on the right, the Konahuanui Trail, leads to the top of K2. It’s a very strenuous trail that follows the ridgeline and is definitely NOT kid-friendly. Depending on conditions, it can be extremely dangerous, and it’s not uncommon to see helicopters circling the area, looking for someone who attempted it at the wrong time. Do not attempt this trail unless you know what you’re doing; even people who’ve lived in Hawaii for years don’t take this trail lightly. If you lose footing, the helicopter that comes for you might not be on a search and rescue mission but a body recovery mission.

The trail on the left (when facing the valley) is marked on some maps as closed, even though there aren’t any signs that would claim that. You can scramble through the greenery to get to the bottom of some power lines but the best view is served for you right at the bench where Pauoa Flats Trail takes you. Enjoy the view, have a snack or a lunch, and when you’re ready to return, all you have to do is simply retrace your steps back down to the Lyon Arboretum, which means taking a left turn onto Aihualama Trail and then a right onto Manoa Falls Trail which will bring you all the way back to the trailhead.

Please note the trail may be periodically closed after strong rains. Always obey posted signs.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Car fee

Open Year-round



Great views. Fun, challenging trail. Old banyan trees. Close to the city (accessible by bus).


The trail may be too challenging for some. No water along the trail/at the top.

Trailhead Elevation

473.00 ft (144.17 m)

Highest point

1,656.00 ft (504.75 m)


Geologically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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