Oahu Hiking Trails: A Guide to Hiking on Oahu | Go Hawaii

Hiking

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Hiking on Oʻahu

Take a hike on Oʻahu and reward yourself with panoramic ocean views and lush mountain scenery. One of Oʻahu’s most famous landmarks and most accessible hikes is up the slopes of Lēʻahi (Lēʻahi Head). Just minutes from Waikīkī, 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 Oʻahu is the Makapuʻu Lighthouse Trail, which features breathtaking views of the indigo Pacific Ocean and whale watching in winter months. For a more off-the-beaten-path hike, travel to the western tip of the island to Kaʻena Point. This sacred area offers a dramatic lava shoreline and views of the Waiʻanae coast. For a lush hike not far from Waikīkī, take a short drive to Mānoa Valley and hike through beautiful rainforests full of bamboo trees and native flora, ending at a beautiful Mānoa Falls. In Central Oʻahu, the challenging ʻAiea Loop Trail offers phenomenal views of Hālawa Valley and the majestic Koʻolau mountains.

Enjoy a leisurely afternoon stroll with a Botanical Collections Specialist as they take you on a journey through Waimea Valley on the North Shore, highlighting beautiful blooming plants and fruits along the way. This walk is offered on Thursdays at 12:00pm starting at the ticket booth. 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 Hawaiʻi 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.

Oʻahu Travel Tips: Land Safety and Conservation

Oahu Travel Tips: Land Safety and Conservation video
Before you hit the ground running (or walking) on Oʻahu’s trails, it’s always best to be mindful of your surroundings. Nature conservationist, Ulalia Woodside, is here to help with a few hiking tips.

Hiking and Guides on Oʻahu

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Hiking Safety

When hiking on Oʻahu, 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)
  • Cellphone

For longer, tougher hikes you may want to also include:
  • Work gloves
  • Sweater
  • First Aid Kit
  • Additional water and food
  • Flashlight
  • Compass
  • Map


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 Oʻahu hike will reap unforgettable rewards. With a little preparation, your Oʻahu hike will reap unforgettable rewards.

Learn more about the State of Hawaiʻi Trail and Access Program, Nā Ala Hele.