Hiking in Oahu, Hawaii is incredible! The views never disappoint, and it’s a great way to explore the island. Wherever you go, there is a mountain nearby to climb so there are plenty of options to choose from.
The Best Hikes on Oahu
Located near Kailua, this hike can be challenging but you’re guaranteed beautiful ocean and mountain views. On the way up to the first peak, you’ll walk through different terrains (mud, red dirt, a forest) and there are sections where you won’t want to look down at all. An adrenaline rush for sure.
Just off the Pali Highway, this short but steep hike has gorgeous views of Oahu. If you aren’t a fan of narrow ridges and steep cliffs then this hike is not for you. There are several ropes along the trail that you can hold onto. It can also get pretty muddy here when it rains. If you can’t find the puka, (hole) just remember to look down.
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This trail has 360-degree views of Oahu. The adrenaline kicks in when you are hanging on the side of the mountain as you scale both notches. This is a super fun hike that can be challenging. It can also be very windy up here and there isn’t much shade.
Crouching Lion Trail is located near Kaaawa, Oahu. The trail has a steep incline and offers remarkable views of the island.
(Know your limits! Never hike alone and if it’s your first time on a trail, find someone who can guide you. Bring lots of water, and this is obvious, but don’t hike in the rain.)
To get to Makapu’u Tidepools, it’s a steep climb down rocks to get to the tidepools. There is a blowhole and you should watch out for crashing waves before entering the tidepool. This is a great place for whale watching.
Lanikai Pillbox is an easy and busy hike that offers spectacular views of the ocean and the East side of the island. There are two pillboxes that you can go inside or climb on. This hike doesn’t offer much shade protection. Bring a hat and avoid hiking during the hottest time of the day.
Hiking North Shore, Oahu
Ehukai Pillbox Trail
Perfect views of the North Shore and probably one of the hikes I’ve done the most. The entrance is located at the Sunset Beach Elementary School parking lot. There are 2 pillboxes with equally stellar views and this is a great place to unwind and watch the waves.
I spent a lot of time discovering new tide pools at Kaena Point – where the North Shore meets the West side. There is a beautiful bird sanctuary here too. There isn’t much shade on this trail, bring a hat and comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking a lot. I’ve also seen a lot of whales breach during whale season and Hawaiian monk seals resting on the shoreline.
Hiking in Oahu, Hawaii – Waterfall Hikes
This is an easy 1.7-mile trail that’s perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a beautiful hike in nature. When I lived in Hawaii, we used to go beyond the first waterfall to Upper Manoa Falls to swim in a secluded pool. This climb can be very challenging and the last time I visited, the trail to Upper Manoa Falls was closed.
Lulumahu Falls is an easy and very busy trail. This 1.7-mile hike off the Pali Highway features a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail. Bring your bathing suit to swim in the pool.
This is a very muddy trail, and it can get slippery at times. Be prepared to walk away with dirty hiking boots. Maunawili Falls is located near Kailua and features a beautiful waterfall. You can also jump off rocks into the pool, or go for a swim.
This hike is challenging. In some areas, you’ll be scaling waterfalls and stepping on wet rocks that can be slippery. The 7.3-mile loop trail has several tiers to climb. The view from the top of the ridge is spectacular.
Hiking in Oahu, Hawaii is a must-do on your holiday. Enjoy the best views of the island by hiking any of these Hawaii hikes. If you have any questions about your visit to Hawaii, send us a message.
Where to stay on Oahu
- The Modern Honolulu – Waikiki
- Turtle Bay Resort – North Shore
- Laylow Waikiki – Waikiki
- Prince Waikiki – Waikiki
- Moana Surfrider – Waikiki
- The Royal Hawaiian – Waikiki
- Aulani, A Disney Vacation Club Villa – West side
- Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina – West side
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I lived on Oahu for three years in Waikiki and the North Shore. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. I’m happy to answer any questions to help you plan your trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Send me a message anytime!
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