Lyon Arboretum

sights / Parks & gardens

Lyon Arboretum information

Oʻahu , USA
3860 Manoa Rd
Tour reservations
+1 808 988 0461
+1 808 988 0456
More information
donation $5, guided tour $5
Opening hours
8am-4pm Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm Sat, tours usually 10am Mon-Fri
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Beautifully unkempt walking trails wind through this highly regarded 200-acre arboretum managed by the University of Hawaiʻi. It was originally founded in 1918 by a group of sugar planters looking to experiment with growing native and exotic flora species to restore Honolulu’s watershed and test their economic benefit. This is not your typical overly manicured tropical flower garden, but a mature and largely wooded arboretum, where related species cluster in a seminatural state. For a guided tour, call at least 24 hours in advance.

Key plants in the Hawaiian ethno-botanical garden are ʻulu (breadfruit), kalo (taro) and ko (sugarcane) brought by early Polynesian settlers; kukui, once harvested to produce lantern oil; and ti, which was used for medicinal purposes during ancient times and for making moonshine after Westerners arrived. It’s a short walk to Inspiration Point, or keep walking uphill for about 1 mile along a jeep road, then a narrow, tree root–ridden path to visit seasonal ʻAihualama Falls, a lacy cliff-side cascade (no swimming, sorry!).

From Ala Moana Center, catch bus 5 toward Manoa Valley and get off at the last stop, then walk about half a mile uphill to the end of Manoa Rd. Limited free parking is available.