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The Tropical Rainforest

Lyon Arboretum and a hike through Hawaii's lush tropical rain forest

Lyon Arboretum
Tropical rainforest hiking route map





3.5 Hours

Hike begins at 9AM on weekdays, Lyon Arboretum is closed on weekends

Available all year, excluding major federal and state holidays


Lyon Arboretum, Manoa Valley rain forest


Meet your private guide at the office entrance to the Lyon Arboretum. Private transportation for pickup and dropoff can be arranged for you at additional cost.

Using the Lyon Arboretum as an entry point into Hawaii's jungle, we'll show how tropical plants battle each other for their right to survive in the crowded jungle or rain forest: Toxic poisons, strangling, blocking the sunlight, symbiotic relationships with insects and spectacular exotic flowers are just some of the ways to thrive when light, warmth and rain are no longer a limiting factor for survival.

We will also show the canoe plants that the Polynesians brought with them to Hawaii including kalo (taro), sweet potato, breadfruit and the kukui. Even the coconut is not native to Hawaii and was brought by the Polynesians.

Amazing vistas of the Ko'olau mountains can be seen through clearings in the rain forest which becomes more wild as we approach Aihualama Falls, the small waterfall at the end of the trail. Manoa Valley's spectacular, luxuriant tropical foliage you have seen in Jurassic Park, Lost and Raiders of the Lost Ark (which were filmed here) surrounds you. If you are lucky, you will hear the song of the shama, the nightingale of the Hawaiian rain forest or the squawk of the large cockatoo parrots that live in this area.

We will return to the entrance of Lyon Arboretum where the tour concludes.


  • The hike is rated "easy to moderate" and about 1.2 miles round trip (1.9 km) with a 358 feet (109 m) elevation gain

  • This tour is not appropriate for disabled persons or anyone with unsteady footing. The Arboretum tries to keep most of the path laid with gravel but after heavy rains this cannot be guaranteed.

  • All tour participants should wear sturdy hiking footwear you should expect to be very muddy by the end of the hike. Regular, closed toe shoes are required in order to wear provided micro spikes. The tour will not leave if any participants are without shoes or wearing flip-flops

  • Wear mosquito repellent, bring an umbrella or light rainwear with hood

  • Aihualama Falls is not active during periods of dry weather

For more information you can request info, call 808-762-1500 or e-mail

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