The Lyon Arboretum was established in 1918 by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association to demonstrate the value of watershed restoration, test tree species for reforestation and collect plants of economic value.
In 1953, it became part or the University of Hawai'i. Today, Lyon Arboretum continues to develop its extensive tropical plant collection emphasizing native Hawaiian species, tropical palms, aroids, ti, taro, heliconia and ginger.
After the University took over, the emphasis shifted from forestry to horticulture. During the last thirty years nearly 2,000 ornamental and econmically useful plants have been introduced to the grounds. More recently the arboretum has dedicated itself to becoming a center for the rescue and propagation of rare and endangered native Hawaiian plants.
The garden is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., including public holidays. It is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. General admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children 12 and under.
At the end of Manoa Road is a parking area for the hiking trail to Manoa Falls. While classified as an "easy" .8 mile, two hour round-trip, the hike is anything but easy following heavy rains or for anyone who is not in shape. The trail meanders through a bamboo forest, rainforest, and base of the Ko'oaus Mountains. It is very rocky in places. In other places there are wooden or concrete steps to assist you.
The path parallels the Manoa Stream, whose water is heavily polluted with leptospirosis bacteria. Do not drink or swim in the water. There are also plenty of mosquitos and other biting insects, so a good application of bug spray is a must.
At the end of the path you will find the 150-foot Manoa Falls whose flow ranges from spectacular following heavy rains to mildly impressive on most days. Again, do not be tempted to swim in the water. There is severe danger of falling rocks close to the falls.
For additional information on the Manoa Valley and the sites mentioned in this article, you may wish to check these websites:
University of Hawaii Manoa
Manoa Falls Trail
We have an extensive collection of photos of all of the major sites in the Manoa Valley which is available for your viewing.
Manoa Valley Photo Collection