Hawaii Hiking Oahu Travel Travel Lists

13 Best Hikes in Oahu [The Complete 2019 Guide]

Diamond Head Oahu aerial shot

In the event you’re on the lookout for some critically surreal hikes with jaw-dropping views by way of lush jungles, then Oahu is beckoning. A part of the chain of islands that make up Hawaii, Oahu boasts a few of the greatest hikes in Hawaii.

Alongside any considered one of them, you will get the prospect to discover the island at your personal tempo, soaking in the wild nature and beautiful surroundings.

Even for those who’re not an avid hiker, nevertheless, there are some simpler and less-intimidating trails so that you can give a go. From the leisurely climb up the Manoa Falls Path to the hair-raising sheer drops of the Seven Falls Path, Oahu has one thing for everybody—all surrounded by indigenous crops and wildlife.

So in case you’re hungry for an journey and keen to go out into the dense wilderness, then let’s chat.

One of the best hikes on Oahu are the sort of hikes that you simply’re going to recollect perpetually, and we’re right here that will help you get began.

The Best Hikes on Oahu, Hawaii

Best Hikes in Oahu Problem Size Location 1. Diamond Head Hike  Average 1.5 miles Kapahulu 2. Manoa Falls Path Straightforward 1.6 miles Honolulu three. Seven Falls Hike Average-Onerous 2.1 miles Honolulu four. Ehukai Pillbox Hike Average 2.1 miles Haleiwa 5. Crouching Lion Average .four miles Koolauloa 6. Pali Notches Onerous .7 miles Kailua 7. Wiliwilinui Ridge Path Average four.5 miles Honolulu eight. Pink Pillbox Hike Average 1.2 miles Nānākuli 9. Ka’au Crater Hike Arduous 5 miles Honolulu 10. Koko Head Path Arduous 1.eight miles Honolulu 11. Three Peaks/Olomana Path  Exhausting  four.5 miles Kailua 12. Tom Tom Path  Exhausting  6.6 miles Honolulu 13. Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven) Onerous  2.four miles Honolulu

1. Diamond Head Hike

Because it’s near Waikiki—probably the most well-known of all Oahu seashores—it is sensible that Diamond Head is among the most well-known Oahu hikes. The views from Diamond Head itself are spectacular, and also you don’t even have to work so onerous to get there.

However truthful warning: That signifies that it’s touristy, too.

Initially named by historic Hawaiians as Le’ahi (which interprets to “tuna ridge”), this previous volcanic crater is definitely fairly straightforward for all ranges of hikers. It’s the type of trek that appears prefer it’ll take you days with a information and a donkey practice to navigate, however the actuality is fortunately far much less daunting.

Diamond Head Oahu aerial shot

Diamond Head from above

The Diamond Head Path hike time is simply 40 to 70 minutes, which will get you as much as round 760 ft above sea degree. That’s the place there’s a wonderful 360-degree vista; you’ll be able to see the skyline of Waikiki, look down into the volcano’s caldera, and stare proper into the blue oblivion of the neverending horizon. No marvel it’s so widespread and thought of the most effective hikes in Oahu, proper?

Problem: Average
Size: 1.5 miles
Location: Kapahulu

2. Manoa Falls Path

For those who’re extra a few good stroll moderately than an enormous, sweaty hike, Manoa Falls path is for you. It could be slightly busier than others trails round Oahu, as a result of its ease (it’s solely a mile and a half!), however that doesn’t imply it isn’t value your time.

The trailhead begins on the Paradise Park constructing on the prime of Manoa Street, just a bit approach from Honolulu, the place you possibly can catch a bus. It’s truly a really well-maintained route, and the trail gently winds its method by way of the luxurious rainforest underneath the shade of the twisting timber.

The views alongside the best way are fairly unimaginable, and the eventual sight of the gushing, 150-feet-tall Manoa Falls will reward you on your efforts. Who doesn’t like a waterfall?

Sadly, you’re not allowed to swim in the pool beneath the falls. It’s forbidden (and ill-advised, rule-breakers!) because of the water-borne micro organism that lurk in the stagnant decrease pool. In different phrases: You will get actually sick in case you take a dip in there.

Hawaii aerial shot with hand.Hawaii aerial shot with hand.

Getting some aerial views earlier than heading out on some hikes in Oahu.

Problem: Straightforward
Size: 1.6
Location: Honolulu

three. Seven Falls Hike

This one is actually for the hardcore hikers on the market. The Seven Falls hike will get your coronary heart pumping. Be prepared for dense jungle and rocky terrain. Don’t anticipate to see any locals or different hikers out and about in your stroll; few individuals know the path. Nevertheless, it’s the shortage of different folks that makes the expertise much more unimaginable.

The primary a part of the path runs alongside the underside of the valley. Nobody sign-posted it very properly, however, so long as you comply with the valley, you ought to be high quality. It’d take a few hours till you attain the primary waterfall. However, when you’re there, splashing in the water and cooling off will relieve you.

Proceed additional alongside the valley and also you’ll discover greater and scarier waterfalls to climb.

There are ropes that folks have put in place in order that it’s simpler to scramble over the rocks. However, they’re moist, so I counsel a number of warning. And don’t overlook that you simply’ll have to return again down the falls to get residence!

This hike actually is sort of a loopy Indiana Jones-style journey, so simply take care of your self. Put on smart footwear and don’t do something that you simply don’t assume you are able to do. Know your limits.

Problem: Average-Exhausting
Size: 2.1 miles
Location: Honolulu

four. Ehukai Pillbox Hike

I really like a path with a bizarre identify, and the Ehukai Pillbox Hike does get you questioning about the place the hell you’re going. This prime hike is just a little like a hidden gem, recognized primarily to the locals who typically take pleasure in climbing up for sundown views.

Beginning on the Sundown Elementary Faculty (why didn’t my faculty have such a cool identify?), the path makes its means uphill fairly steeply over the roots of timber and large rocks.

The hike itself solely takes round half an hour in complete, however it’s an arduous climb. The path will get so steep after a short while that ropes have been tied on the aspect of the hill to make it simpler to climb up.

Ehukai PillboxEhukai Pillbox

Ehukai Pillbox—One of many lesser recognized hikes in Oahu

When you attain the highest, there are two pillboxes right here. The decrease one has good views of the North Shore Shoreline. However, in case you make it to the second pillbox greater up, you’ll be greater than happy with your self for positive. And the views are much more spectacular, too.

Problem: Average
Size: 2.1 miles
Location: Haleiwa

5. Crouching Lion

Probably one of many coolest-named hikes in Oahu, Crouching Lion—close to the group of Kaawa, Kaneohe—provides up some panoramic delights. However that’s solely after a steep and pretty difficult climb up the “Crouching Lion” itself. I imply, it’s going to be a steep hike should you can attain views this astounding after solely 30 to 45 minutes of trekking.

Once I say trekking, it’s extra like… yeah, climbing. Parts of this hike contain counting on ropes, however that’s solely in the extra slippery patches for stability. So your life is actually in the arms of a stranger’s rope-tying expertise. A few of the ropes are a bit sketchy, which may be the rationale why Crouching Lion isn’t formally open.

Hiking Crouching Lion in OahuHiking Crouching Lion in Oahu

These views are value it!

Nevertheless, that doesn’t deter a variety of intrepid hikers, vacationers, backpackers and outside lovers from making the strenuous scramble as much as the highest of Crouching Lion for its breathtaking views of the encompassing jagged surroundings.

Tip: Climbing boots with good traction would make this hike more easy, for positive.

Problem: Average
Size: zero.four miles
Location: Koolauloa

6. Pali Notches

The Pali Notches obtained a little bit of a reputation for itself as being (greater than) fairly harmful, so I would not attempt it out until you are a assured hiker.

This hike heads steeply upwards, the place superb views of the Pali Freeway to your left and Kaneohe to your proper will greet you. The trail does truly get harmful in elements; there are sheer drops and powerful gusts of winds that may blow you off at sure factors. No, actually. Some spots even have an anchored rope to carry onto that may show the distinction between life and demise.

Oahu's Pali Notches viewOahu's Pali Notches view

Pali Notches—Top-of-the-line hikes in Oahu but in addition some of the demanding.

There are additionally some elements of the path that require you to climb up a vertical rock, however so long as you’ve received good footwear (Learn: traction and grip), and somebody to hike with, you need to survive.

Problem: Arduous
Size: 7 miles
Location: Kailua

7. Wiliwilinui Ridge Path

The Wiliwilinui Ridge Path is a superb four-and-a-half-mile out-and-back hike that heads proper as much as the highest of a mountain… after which down once more. It’s cool as a result of, whenever you get in the direction of the highest, you find yourself strolling by way of the cloud. That is a reasonably surreal expertise.

All it’s a must to do is head east out of Waikiki on the Kalanianaole Freeway. Then flip left onto Laukahi Road and keep it up in the direction of the mountain. You must examine in with safety sooner or later. You then go left once more on Okoa Road and the parking zone is on the finish. There, you’ll additionally discover the trailhead.

You will then discover a calmly difficult combo of climbing stairs and low-key climbing rocks. Though there aren’t any cliffs concerned, so mortal peril stays fairly low on this path. It may get fairly muddy on this one, although, so watch out of slipping.

Problem: Average
Size: four.5 miles
Location: Honolulu


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eight. Pink Pillbox Hike

The Pink Pillbox Hike to a, uh, pink pillbox, is brief. Nevertheless it’s additionally slightly dangerous. Situated on the west aspect of Oahu, the beginning of the stroll is alongside Kaukama Street, the place you’ll discover loads of parking.

It is truly fairly a flexible hike in Oahu because it’s obtained two problem modes in the type of two totally different routes: One is a bit of simpler however longer, whereas the opposite rather more difficult and in addition shorter.

Primarily a ridge hike alongside what’s generally known as Pu’u O Hulu, the better path winds across the ridge itself. However, the harder model of the Pink Pillbox Hike is a tough climb up steps which were shaped in the rocks over many, many, a few years.

Relying on whichever route you’re taking, breathtaking views of the Maili shoreline will greet you from the pink pillbox on the prime.

Although exploring the pillboxes up right here is enjoyable, there’s a poignant cause behind the brilliant pink one; it’s a dedication to “the survivors, the fighters and to those who have lost their battle to cancer.” So right here’s an opportunity to take a seat and ruminate on life, excessive above the highly effective surroundings under.

Problem: Average
Size: 1.2 miles
Location: Nānākuli

9. Ka’au Crater Hike

Followers of feeling like they’re trekking via a rainforest in survival mode will love the Ka’au Crater Hike in Oahu. Actually about 5 minutes after you embark on this hike, you’re in a world of tall timber, vines and muddy trails, which makes this really feel like an actual journey in the wilderness.

It’s not solely jungle trekking that you simply’ve gotta have the ability to deal with although; there’s some rope climbing and rock scrambling to be completed on this prime Oahu hike, too. They make it fairly the problem. For this one, I’d advocate adventurous (and match) hikers solely. The uneven terrain and the size of the hike (5 miles in about 5 hours) make it a reasonably strenuous journey.

It’s not all difficult although; there are some superb elements to this hike. For example, you get to cross three gushing waterfalls, do some ridge mountaineering, marvel on the rainforest… Simply be certain that your footwear are sturdy and have good grip. And don’t overlook lunch. Nobody needs to get hangry on a difficult hike, do they?

Problem: Onerous
Size: 5 miles
Location: Honolulu

10. Koko Head Path

In case you really feel such as you want a very good exercise, the Koko Head Stairs is the hike for you. Whereas strolling as much as the tops of hills, ridges, mountains and cliffs to get superb views is a reasonably cool factor to do in and of itself, doing it alongside a path or path that’s obtained a little bit of originality to it all the time makes the journey slightly extra enjoyable. That’s what makes the path as much as Koko Head so distinctive: It’s alongside an deserted railway!

Aerial shot of Koko Head OahuAerial shot of Koko Head Oahu

Koko Head

As with most of the hikes on Oahu, the Koko Head Path runs via and up the aspect of a volcanic crater. The plus aspect is that the previous railway monitor acts as stairs on the climb as much as see the dramatic views this hike provides. The draw back is that, properly, they’re stairs. There are 1,048 railroad steps to the top of the railway, after which about one other 30 ft of strolling to get to the lookout factors.

Although this can be a short-ish hike, it nonetheless takes between 30 minutes and one hour to succeed in the summit. You then’ve obtained time to chill out, admire the view and drink some water (keep hydrated, individuals!) earlier than you even ponder the best way down. Locals who’re used to this stroll truly run up this path—despite the fact that it’s additionally regionally referred to as the “Stairmaster from Hell.”

Problem: Arduous
Size: 1.eight miles
Location: Honolulu

11. Three Peaks/Olomana Path

On the lookout for an excellent, old style arduous hike? Then it is best to check out the Three Peaks Path, also referred to as the Olomana Path. In fact, a path referred to as Three Peaks was by no means going to be straightforward, and this one completely isn’t.

Beginning close to Kailua, the primary of the three peaks is definitely fairly easy. Surrounded by wildflowers, it’s additionally tremendous scenic. There are some elements the place you must climb over rocks, however it’s nothing too troublesome.

It’s when you need to ascend the second peak that issues begin getting so much more durable. There are some tree roots and ropes alongside the path that will help you out. And, as you make your approach alongside the trail, issues begin to get much more slender and, nicely, terrifying.

The third and ultimate peak may put you off the hike altogether. You are going to want some good higher physique power to haul your self up there. However simply consider the satisfaction and the immense views throughout the treetops whenever you do. Match, assured hikers solely on this four-and-a-half–hour, four-and-a-half-mile hike.

Girls on a windy in OahuGirls on a windy in Oahu

*These publish hike feels*

Problem: Arduous
Size: four.5 miles
Location: Kailua

12. Tom Tom Path

The Tom Tom Path won’t be one of the crucial well-known hikes on Oahu. Nevertheless it’s probably the most spectacular. Starting on the Makapu’u lookout, the trail runs alongside a fence the place you’ll be able to come throughout for pretty superb viewpoints.

The advantage of this hike is that, as a result of there are such a lot of fairly vantage factors so early on in the path, should you don’t really feel like strolling the entire approach, you don’t have to.

However it is extremely steep from the beginning. It might make you marvel why you didn’t determine to have a day on the seashore as an alternative of doing a loopy onerous hike. However the climb doesn’t final lengthy. And panoramic views over Makapu’u Lighthouse, the seashore and the deep blue ocean under might be a deal with.

Problem: Onerous
Size: 6.6 miles
Location: Honolulu

13. Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven)

Like Diamond Head, the Haiku Stairs—aka the Stairway to Heaven—is a well-known hike in Oahu. Or perhaps the phrase ought to be notorious. There are two methods to the Insta-famous viewpoint on the prime: one completely authorized, and the opposite completely unlawful.

You’ll be able to attempt to ascend the steps from the entrance, however there are safety guards on obligation 24/7 who will name the police in the event that they catch you. Upon return, the cops will probably be ready for you with a hefty high-quality of $1,000 USD.

In the event you’d slightly not run the danger of a run-in with the police, there’s a again method.

Haiku Stairs viewHaiku Stairs view

View from the highest of the Haiku Stairs, probably the most well-known hikes in Oahu

The steps themselves result in a US Navy Radio Station antenna and have been initially constructed as a backup means to entry the antenna ought to different types of entry—like helicopter—not be attainable.

Used formally till the 1950’s, the three,992 stairs to the highest have been closed to the general public in 1987. Now, “No Trespassing” indicators are in all places, although they’re typically ignored.

US Navy Radio Station antenna at the top of the Stairway to Heaven hikeUS Navy Radio Station antenna at the top of the Stairway to Heaven hike

The radio antenna on the prime of the well-known Stairway to Heaven hike in Oahu

However concerning the again method… It’s a more durable hike, it’s longer (9.three miles of longer), however you don’t run the danger of operating into regulation enforcement. Plus, isn’t it higher to be rewarded for a troublesome hike?

So get your self on the Moanalua Valley Path. Steep, muddy, and with close to vertical sections to haul your self up, this isn’t for the informal stroller, however it can get you a similar views. In case you want a information—which I extremely advocate for the again means—contact @mike.karas on Instagram who runs excursions to the highest each Saturday.

Views along the back way to the topViews along the back way to the top

You will catch views like this on the again strategy to the highest

When you get to the summit, you possibly can stroll partway down the forbidden steps themselves since they aren’t patrolled. Solely the world across the backside close to the gate is guarded by safety.

Although technically, when you step foot on the steps, you’re trespassing, however let’s simply fake we didn’t know. Cool?

Problem: Onerous
Size: 2.four miles
Location: Honolulu

Which of those hikes in Oahu are you most wanting ahead to? Tell us in the feedback!


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