17 Best Hikes in Oahu Hawaii in 2023
Oahu is located in the beautiful Hawaiian island chain, a place known for its stunning natural landscapes, picturesque beaches, rolling hills, and dense rainforests. This island is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with a plethora of diverse trail systems that lead to spectacular viewpoints, secluded waterfalls, and hidden valleys.
As a visitor to Oahu in 2023, there are several must-visit hikes that will offer you the ultimate hiking experience. Keep reading to explore Oahu’s best hiking destinations and their unique features that will make your hiking trip unforgettable.
1. Manoa Falls Trail
The Manoa Falls Trail is a 1.5-mile trek that takes you through a verdant rainforest, featuring graceful bamboo groves, trickling streams, and a stunning 150-foot waterfall. This hike is suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, making it a popular tourist attraction.
2. Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
The Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is a 2-mile walk that offers some of the most breathtaking coastal views of the Pacific Ocean. This hike is relatively easy, making it family suitable. The trailhead is located near the Makapu’u Lighthouse and ultimately leads up to the lighthouse itself, providing panoramic views of the eastern coast of Oahu.
3. Koko Head Trail
The Koko Head Trail, also called the Koko Head Stairs, is a challenging, vertical climb featuring 1,050 steps that will test your physical and mental endurance. This hike covers an elevation gain of over 1,200 feet and rewards climbers with stunning views of the east coast of Hawaii.
4. Diamond Head Trail
The Diamond Head Trail is a half-mile walk that leads to the top of a volcanic crater, offering a 360-degree view of the coastline and the city below. This hike is an ideal destination for sunrise or sunset, as the views are more dramatic.
5. Wa’ahila Ridge Trail
The Wa’ahila Ridge Trail is located in Honolulu and is an 8-mile hike that takes you through diverse landscapes, including verdant forests, fern groves, and breathtaking vistas. This hike is ideal for experienced hikers.
6. Kaena Point Trail
The Kaena Point Trail is a 4.2-mile walk that takes you along Oahu’s western coastline and features striking views of the ocean. This hike is ideal for nature lovers, offering a glimpse of Hawaii’s diverse marine species and birdlife.
7. Olomana Trail
The Olomana Trail is a 4-mile trek that ascends three peaks, each offering a different perspective of the surrounding landscape. This hike is considered to be challenging and should only be attempted by experienced hikers.
8. Pu’u Mahuka Heiau Trail
The Pu’u Mahuka Heiau Trail is an 18-mile trek that takes you through a lush forest, overlooking Oahu’s North Shore. This hike is ideal for those who wish to explore Hawaii’s rich history, as it leads to ancient temple ruins.
9. Kulepeamoa Ridge Trail
The Kulepeamoa Ridge Trail is a challenging 7-mile hike that offers breathtaking views of Oahu’s mountainous interior. The trail is steep and requires experienced hikers to navigate.
10. Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail
The Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail is a 4.5-mile trek that requires several steep climbs, but rewards hikers with views of Honolulu, Diamond Head, and the coastline.
11. Kealia Trail
The Kealia Trail is located in the Kealia Kai State Park and offers a serene walkthrough a native forest, eventually ascending to a stunning viewpoint overlooking Oahu’s coastline. This hike is 7.4 miles long and is recommended for experienced hikers.
12. Aiea Loop Trail
The Aiea Loop Trail is a 4.8-mile hike that takes you through a dense forest, featuring beautiful babbling streams, lush landscapes, and stunning views of Honolulu.
13. Sacred Falls Trail
The Sacred Falls Trail, now closed to the public, was a popular tourist attraction that led to stunning views of an 80-foot waterfall. Although the trail is now closed, it is still considered to be one of Hawaii’s best hikes.
14. Pu’u ‘O’ Hulu Trail
The Pu’u ‘O’ Hulu Trail is a 5.5-mile trek that takes you through a diverse landscape of forests, open plains, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. This hike is ideal for nature lovers and is suitable for all fitness levels.
15. Mount Ka’ala Trail
The Mount Ka’ala Trail is an 8-mile trek that leads to the highest point on Oahu, offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands. This trail is considered to be challenging and should only be attempted by experienced hikers.
16. Kuaokala Trail
The Kuaokala Trail is an 8.5-mile hike that takes you through a lush forest, culminating in a stunning ocean view. This hike is suitable for experienced hikers who want to challenge themselves.
17. Kolowalu Trail
The Kolowalu Trail is a 2.5-mile trek that takes you through a densely forested valley, featuring lush vegetation, bubbling streams, and stunning cliffs. This hike is ideal for families with small children or novice hikers.
Oahu is a destination that offers spectacular hiking experiences for all. The hikes listed above showcase the different terrains of Hawaii, including coastal, forest, and mountain hikes. Oahu’s natural landscapes can only be explored through hiking, making it an essential addition to your travel itinerary.