There’s no doubt that Oahu is a hiker’s paradise. With so many different trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike that the whole family can enjoy or a more challenging trek through the wilderness, Oahu has it all. So lace up your boots and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful hiking destinations in the world!
Here are just a few of the best hikes in Oahu, Hawaii that I recommend based on my experience:
(1) Diamond Head Summit Trail
This iconic hike is a must-do for any visitor to Oahu. The Diamond Head Summit Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Oahu, Hawaii. The trail takes hikers to the summit of Diamond Head crater, offering stunning views of Waikiki, the crater, the Pacific Ocean, and the city of Honolulu. The trail is just under two miles long and is considered to be moderately challenging, with an elevation gain of over 600 feet. Along the way, hikers will pass through a number of tunnels and caves, as well as an old military bunker. The hike typically takes about two hours to complete, and is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while taking in the beauty of Diamond Head crater.
Difficulty level: moderate to challenging (in some sections)
Duration: 2 hours
(2) Koko Crater Arch Trail
Towering over the city of Honolulu, Koko Head is a popular hiking destination for locals and visitors alike. The Koko Crater Arch Trail is one of the most popular routes to the summit, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The trailhead is located near Hanauma Bay, and the hike to the top takes about an hour. Along the way, hikers will pass through a lush rainforest before emerging onto a rocky ridgeline with sweeping ocean views. At the top of the trail, there is an awe-inspiring natural archway formed by lava flow. The Koko Crater Arch Trail is a bit challenging but is a great way to experience the beauty of Hawaii’s natural landscape. The strenuous trail takes you up 1,048 feet to the summit, where you’ll be treated to some of the best views on Oahu.
Difficulty level: little bit challenging
Duration: 1 hour
(3) Olomana Trail
Olomana Trail is a moderate to difficult 3-mile round trip hike located in the Kailua area of Oahu, Hawaii. This hike is not for the faint of heart. The trailhead begins at the end of Pali Lani Place and follows an old jeep road up to the top of Olomana, also known as “Three Peaks”. These three peaks of Olomana offer a challenging but rewarding hike for experienced hikers. The first section of the trail is fairly steep, but it levels out after a short while. The views from the top are breathtaking, and on a clear day you can see all the way from Kaneohe Bay to Diamond Head. There are three main peaks to Olomana, and most people only hike to the second peak before turning around. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can continue on to the third peak. Just be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as there is very little shade on the trail.
Difficulty level: extremely challenging
Duration: 3-4 hours
(4) Lanikai Pillbox Hike
The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is s perfect for families or anyone looking for a leisurely hike. The trail takes you to two World War II-era pillboxes, offering great views of Lanikai Beach and the surrounding area. The trailhead is located in the town of Lanikai. The views from the pillboxes are absolutely breathtaking, and on a clear day, hikers can see all the way to Molokai and Maui. The hike is fairly short, but it is very steep in places. There are also a few ladder sections that can be tricky for some hikers. However, the effort is definitely worth it, and the Lanikai Pillbox Hike is an experience that should not be missed.
Difficulty level: easy with a few steep sections
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
(5) Makapu’u Tidepools
The Makapu’u Tidepools Hike is perfect for those looking for a little bit of everything. The moderate trail takes you through the rainforest, up a ridge, and down to the rocky coast, where you’ll find a beautiful tidepools area.. The trailhead is located at the east end of the island, and the hike takes you along a coastal cliff with breathtaking views of the ocean. The highlight of the hike is the tidepools, which are pools of water that have been formed by the waves crashing against the rocks. These tidepools are a great place to cool off after a long hike, and they are also home to a variety of marine life. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, as the rocks can be slippery. And, be sure to bring plenty of water, as there is no potable water available on the trail. The Makapu’u Tidepools Hike is a great way to experience some of the best that Oahu has to offer.
Difficulty level: moderate to little difficult (in some sections)
Duration: 1-2 hours
(6) Kaena Point Trail
Nestled on the southeastern tip of Oahu is the peaceful and beautiful Kaena Point Trail. This two-mile remote hike is perfect for those looking for a moderate challenge with some of the best views of Oahu. The trailhead is located at the end of Farrington Highway, and it’s best to hike it during the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat. The trailhead starts at Kaena State Park, where plumerias and ironwoods provide shade and a welcome respite from the sun. The first part of the trail follows an old jeep road as it winds its way up to the coast. Along the way, hikers are treated to sweeping views of Mokuleia Beach and the adjacent coastline. As the trail nears the shoreline, it becomes more rugged, with steep cliffs and crashing waves. However, this is also where the trail provides some of its most breathtaking views. On a clear day, hikers can see all the way to Molokai Island in the distance. After enjoying the views, hikers can return the way they came, or take a shorter shortcut back to the state park.
Difficulty level: moderate challenging
Duration: 1-2 hours
Ready for the hike?
Oahu is an amazing island with plenty of trails to keep hikers busy for days. With everything from easy family-friendly hikes to more difficult trails through the wilderness. There is something for everyone.
So what are you waiting for? Get out and explore the best hikes Oahu has to offer! You won’t be disappointed.
Here is a complete list of hikes in Hawaii that you can explore in addition to those mentioned here.
You can also take Oahu Hiking Tours. It’s the best way to explore the terrain of Hawaii alongside a local, while also discovering the culture and places of the island.
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