Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

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Waterall in mountains

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is a stunning 400-acre garden located on Oahu’s windward coast. There is no better place to take in views of the Ko’olau range, especially after it rains when waterfalls cascade through the ridges. Plus, it is free to visit and explore!

Ko'olau Mountain Range topped with clouds


In ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i Hawaiian language), Ho’omaluhia means “a peaceful refuge” — I think every visitor would agree that the name fits well! The garden is situated against the steep Ko’olau mountains, which were once part of a volcano that dominated the island of Oahu.

The garden was opened in 1982 and was designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood protection for Kāneʻohe. Today Ho’omaluhia serves as Oahu’s largest botanical garden offering unparalleled views and offers a variety of fun, family-friendly activities including painting, fishing, bird watching, camping, and walking trails.

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden entrance from road

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is located within a neighborhood in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Once you drive past these gates, the road opens up to its famous palm-lined entrance.

The Famous Entrance:

The palm-lined entrance of Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden is one of the most photographed spots on Oahu. Unfortunately, the garden now enforces a no-stopping rule on the road into the garden since so many people were impeding traffic by standing in the middle of the road trying to get that perfect shot.

Palm-lined road entrance to botanical garden

There are now signs enforcing their new rules that read, “No camera or mobile phone photography on or near the road” but don’t be disappointed if you don’t get that same shot you’ve seen all over Instagram; there are so many other photo worthy spots within the garden!

Driving and Walking through the Garden:

The cool thing about Ho’omaluhia is that you can drive through most of the garden. If you prefer to explore on foot, you can park in one of the many lots located throughout the garden.

Ho’omaluhia features plants and trees from major tropical regions around the world grouped geographically. You can refer to this map to find out which species are located in each area.

If you prefer driving through Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, you can take the singular access road all the way to the end. You’ll get amazing views of the rainforest and mountains right from the car, but I encourage you to get out and explore a few of the scenic stops along the way.

The Best Views Inside Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

If the guard stops you from taking that coveted photo in the garden entrance, you can still get a fantastic pic inside of the garden.


For up-close views of the lake, you’ll have to take one of the walking trails. The first option is a path from the Visitor’s Center to the lake, which will take 20-minutes each way. 


If you continue driving past the Visitor’s Center, you’ll reach the Kahua Kuou campground — there are trails to the lake stemming from this location as well. The trail here connects to the Loop Path which offers Island Views. Refer to this map for more information on how to get to these scenic viewpoints.



As you drive along the access road, you’ll see marked signs indicating a new section of the garden. Both Kilonani Mauka and Kahua Nui offer stunning views of the majestic mountain range. These are worth a stop!

Kilonani Mauka Sign
flower in front of ko'olau mountain range
Lauren twirling on jungle road

Kahua Nui is further down towards the end of the main access road. Walk up to the pavilion for the best mountain views.

The Perfect Rainy Day Activity

If it rains during your trip to Hawaii, don’t get too sad. You may have the unique opportunity to see hidden waterfalls flowing down between the ridges of the Ko’olau Mountain Range. After seven years of visiting Oahu, Hawaii, I finally experienced it for the first time in February 2021. It is a truly spectacular sight to see.

Waterall in mountains

I headed straight to Ho’omaluhia when I saw the rainy forecast for the day. Unfortunately, the garden was closed due to some fallen trees falling, but I was still able to see the beautiful falls from right outside the entrance.

More to Do at Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

Note: Fishing at Ho`omaluhia Botanical Garden is not allowed at this time. Check here for current updates.


The lake is a short 20-minute walk from the visitor center where you can ask to borrow bamboo fishing rods. Don’t forget to bring your own bait — fresh white bread works great! Common fish include tilapia and midas cichlid. Fishing is catch and release only and is available on weekends between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.



Please note that swimming is strictly prohibited due to impurities in the lake.

Upon entering the garden, you’ll see the visitor’s center which is also the location of an interesting art gallery that displays the work of local artists. Make sure to check this out if you have time!



You can even create your own masterpieces with Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden’s free self-directed painting sessions on Wednesdays from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM. Participation is free, but you need to bring your own supplies (watercolors, pencils, and paper.) Call 808-233-7323 for more information.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is also a popular spot for camping! There are seven available campsites, each offering picturesque scenery for those looking for a long weekend escape. Camping is allowed starting 9:00 AM Friday to 4:00 PM Monday. A printed permit is required to camp in this park. You can make a reservation up to two weeks in advance by visiting the Honolulu Parks & Recreation website.

There are tons of picnic tables and benches scattered throughout the garden, making it a perfect spot to bring lunch or a snack!

The Details

Free! Exploring Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is free.


There is also no additional fee to participate in activities such as fishing (poles can be borrowed free of charge) and painting. However, you will need to pay a fee for a reservation if you want to camp at Ho’omaluhia

Don’t touch or handle the plants. Picking/gathering fruits, flowers, seeds, plants is prohibited. Never put anything in your mouth – some plants are poisonous and may cause adverse reactions. If you’re visiting with small children, be sure to keep this info in mind!


You may encounter slippery surfaces, loose rocks, falling branches, thorny plants, and exposed roots during your visit. Use caution when exploring!



Swimming in the lake is prohibited due to impurities in the water.


There are restrooms located throughout the garden. View this map for more information. There are outdoor showers available at the campsites.

Hours & Location:

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is located in a neighborhood at the end of a street lined with houses. Continue driving through the gates — this is the access road that you can follow to drive through the entire garden.

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden entrance from road

Parking: There is free parking located throughout the garden 

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About Laur

Aloha, I’m Lauren! One of my favorite things to do is explore the Hawaiian island of Oahu and nothing makes me happier than sharing what I’ve learned over the past 7 years with those planning their own adventures. I started Lauraloha Travel to help you enjoy every minute of your experience from planning all the way to paradise. Mahalo for exploring with me!

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