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“Gorgeous hike into the rainforest”
Review of Lyon Arboretum

Lyon Arboretum
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US$69.00*
and up
Go Oahu Card
Ranked #51 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Part of the University of Hawaii, the Lyon Arboretum offers 194 acres and a research facility.
Reviewed 2 February 2014

I love visiting botanical gardens and this one was very special. There are trails going through different sections, into the mountains with a supposed waterfall at the end, I didn't see it, it was too dry. But nonetheless it's amazing to see the diversity of ecosystems on the island and see this jungle so close to the beach, with birds singing and clouds floating through the tops of the mountains. I highly recommend making a trip here and taking a relaxed hike, would just advise to be aware that the mosquitos can come out, so bring some bug spray.

1  Thank ABee_NYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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163 - 167 of 344 reviews

Reviewed 26 January 2014

You must visit the arboretum while you are there. The whole walk is only about an hour and a half, out and back, and you see some of the most beautiful scenery on the island. It is also just up the road from the hiking trail to Manoa Falls, which you should hike to while you are there.

3  Thank Chuck C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2014

Wasnt really expecting much at this FREE attraction, but boy was I surprised. The Arboretum is basically embedded into the Hawaiian mountainside landscape and its HUGE. There are dozen of trails going into the woods and makes you feel like your in an actual jungle. The different plants and trees were just amazing. Also the birds living in that area were really pretty too making very pleasing and relaxing noises.

Since the place is a bit big, as long as you stick to the map and check where you are every once in a while you should be okay. There are markers around the trails that tell you were you are on the map, so just look out for those. Also it must have been a huge effort for the University of Hawaii to keep track of all the plant life there and labeled the majority of the plans on all the trails.

I really really enjoyed this hike and its perfect for photos. Make sure you bring a camera. The only disappointment was the waterfall at the end of the main trail or the tip of the park. It barely was anything even after it raining for an hour, it was just basically a tiny stream of water coming down a 20 foot dirt face.

1  Thank Navid W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2014

The Lyon Arboretum is run by the University of Hawaii and is located in Manoa Valley, in back of UH. It covers almost 200 acres and is the only university botanical garden located in a tropical rainforest in the US and is the only easily accessible tropical rainforest on Oahu. Be sure to bring an umbrella and shoes that are good for walking on wet, slippery surfaces. About 2 blocks below the arboretum, it can be sunny and clear, but once that magical line is crossed, you’re in a rainforest, and it can be pouring rain. Be prepared.

The arboretum closes at 4PM during the week, 3PM on Saturdays, and is closed Sundays and holidays. Stop by the Visitor Center to make a suggested $5 donation and pick up a map and some insect repellent (definitely recommended). The map takes you through the arboretum, but it was a little hard to follow. Lots of trails loop into each other. Trails on the map weren’t apparent in the arboretum. We wandered around a bit, but eventually found trails that were on the map and we were able to walk through some of the various gardens.

There are over 5000 tropical plant species at the arboretum, including bromeliads, native Hawaiian species, heliconias, palms, an ethnobotanic garden, etc. We saw some of the most amazing, beautiful flowering plants I’ve ever seen. Some of them looked more like science fiction than reality.

If you like plants, being in a natural environment that is easily accessible from an urban area, walking in a rainforest, and exploring, then check out the Lyon Arboretum. They have an amazing collection of plants, and it really is worth a visit.

5  Thank Erica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2013

Easy bus ride to get there leaving from the Ala Moana Shopping Mall with a 10 to 15 minutes walk to get to the entrance of the Arboretum.

There's no entrance fee but a self donated contribution is well accepted. The view is spectacular and it's a feast for the eyes. Flowers, majestic trees, birds (red-crested cardinals, white-rumped shamas, etc.). Better to have good walking shoes because the grounds can get slippery during and after the expected rainshowers.

Nice and quiet. Not too much crowded.

A definite yes!

3  Thank Loucla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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