Hiking on Oahu
Take a hike on Oahu and reward yourself with panoramic ocean views and lush mountain scenery. One of Oahu’s most famous landmarks and most accessible hikes is up the slopes of Leahi (Diamond Head). Just minutes from Waikiki, this moderately challenging trail includes two sets of stairs as well as dark tunnels and old military bunkers that open out to stunning panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu.
On the eastern tip of Oahu is the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail, which features breathtaking views of the indigo Pacific Ocean. For a more off-the-beaten-path hike, travel to the western tip of the island to Kaena Point. This sacred area offers a dramatic lava shoreline and views of the Waianae coast. For a lush hike not far from Waikiki, take a short drive to Manoa Valley and hike through beautiful rainforests full of bamboo trees and native flora, ending at a beautiful Manoa Falls. In Central Oahu, the challenging Aiea Loop Trail offers phenomenal views of Halawa Valley and the majestic Koolau mountains.
You can also go on guided educational hiking tours. Waimea Valley on the North Shore offers valley hikes every Saturday perfect for families. Discover stunning views as guides help you identify native and exotic plants, showcase the valley’s indigenous birds and lead you to various streams including the beautiful Waimea Waterfall. Back in Honolulu, venture to lush Makiki and go on a tropical forest hike at the Hawaii Nature Center. See and learn about some of the most varied tropical plant life in the Islands as you and your guide trek along this moderate loop hike.
When hiking on Oahu, be sure to be prepared with these essentials:
- Good hiking shoes with tread
- Light pants to keep cool or shorts (but beware that you may get scratches from branches)
- Light shirt to keep cool
- Light rain jacket and mosquito repellent (especially if you are going into rainforests or valleys)
- Backpack with enough water, lunch and sunscreen (depending on length and intensity of hike)
- Cell phone
For longer, tougher hikes you may want to also include:
- Work gloves
- First Aid Kit
- Additional water and food
For safety reasons, DO NOT hike alone if at all possible, but if you must, make sure to tell someone where you are going. DO NOT drink water from freshwater ponds or streams you may encounter during your hike. Avoid entering streams or ponds with open cuts. Stick to the trail and follow trail head markers to avoid getting lost. With a little preparation, your Oahu hike will reap unforgettable rewards. With a little preparation, your Oahu hike will reap unforgettable rewards.
Learn more about the State of Hawaii Trail and Access Program - Na Ala Hele.