Fun Hikes on Oahu
I wanted to share some of my favorite hikes that I've done on island.
Download an app like AllTrails for specific details on any of these hikes including mileage, difficulty, maps, and GPS tracking. Please remember to be safe.
Bring extra water and snacks, tell someone where you'll be, pack sunscreen, don't leave valuables in your vehicles, and most importantly- have fun!
*Excuse the photo quality, all photos taken on my iPhone, because the best camera is the one you have with you ;)
It's a long trip up. Like, really really long. Imagine walking up stairs for 30-45minutes straight. That's this hike. People bring kids and babywear, but I'm not brave enough to try it. It's hard enough getting my own body up this thing.
Anyway, it's a super popular hike with amazing views!
Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail
The Makapu'u lighthouse trail on the east side of Oahu is a paved path in full sun with a pretty steep incline/decline. The views are worth it, but don't forget sunblock and extra water!
If you go in February or March you can see the whales playing!
Wa'ahila Ridge is a beautiful spot for a picnic! There are several trails (download AllTrails for a complete list), and there are also several lookout spots.
Pink (Ma'ili) Pillbox
This is a fun one, and a trail we've taken many guests on, but it's not easy. There are several very rocky parts and one wrong foot could be catastrophic. That being said, my 7yo has done this one many times as well as two sets of grandparents, so it's definitely doable for families. I just want to make sure not to undersell the difficulty because I've been known to do that according to some friends :p
This one is super fun! It's definitely challenging in parts, but it's fairly short which makes it not too bad.
Remember how I said I sometimes undersell the difficulty? My friend Fabio here said this one was much harder than I said.... Whoops! So be warned, basically all the hikes here are next level, but also have next level views <3
Ehukai Pillbox up in the North Shore is definitely a must do hike! It's one of the easier ones (although still uphill), with beautiful views and lots of offshoot trails to explore.
When you reach the summit there's a wonderful view of the Banzai Pipeline where you can even watch some surfers doing what they do best!
Koko Crater Botanical Garden
We like this one because its fairly easy. There are lots of themed gardens along the way with cacti, plumeria, and bougainvillea. It's a beautiful place to take an easy(ish) stroll.
Wahiawa Hills Trail
This one is hands down my favorite, but I'm weird and just absolutely love being in the woods under full tree coverage :p
If you want to trade some ocean views for a trek in the woods (bonus, no crowds), this is the hike for you!
Just be careful, and download AllTrails or a similar GPS tracking app and follow the trail, there are lots of offshoots to potentially get lost on.
I mean if you feel like you have to do this one, go for it, but it's absolutely littered with people now (this photo was covid times before travelers, and even then I had to wait for this shot). Now, it's basically one giant long line to see the view at the top. Save yourself time, money, and energy and pick any other hike on this list first :p
Another one of my favorites with a beautiful view of H3. This one is not as crowded as many others, and is in a state park with lots of free (safe-ish?) parking. I think its about 4 miles long and took us a little over 2 hours with lots of stopping for photos and to check things out.
Waimea Botanical Gardens
Is this really a hike? I don't know, if you ask the mom groups on Facebook it is, so we'll go with it <3
This one is fairly easy with some steepish hills, but its basically all paved, and I hear there's even transportation should anyone need it. Alternatively, you can swim in the super cold waterfall at the end to reward your efforts exploring this place. They have lifejackets for you to borrow, but don't forget your own sunscreen and bug spray for this one.
Admission is pretty steep, so if you plan on going more than once get the season pass.
Maunawili Falls Trail
Speaking of waterfalls, this waterfall hike is the first hike I did when we arrived on island.
Like an idiot I did not bring water. Don't be like me, bring EXTRA water.
Wear waterproof hiking boots because you will be walking through streams if you want to make it to the falls.
Also, even though other people jump in, please please don't! If you heard the horror stories.... Just please be safe.
This trail is gorgeous and it feels like a little slice of heaven. It usually gets crowded after 9/10am though.
[Closed until 2023, but the falls can still be accessed from Old Pali Road, see all trails for more info]
This is another somewhat easy one that we like to take visitors on because everyone loves a good waterfall!
Also one of my favorite breakfast spots (Wai'oli Kitchen & Bake Shop) is right down the road, so that's always a good excuse for me to pick this hike.
If you're a Jurassic Park or Hunger Games (Catching Fire) fan you'll definitely wanna check this one out as scenes for both movies were filmed here!
You can access this 0.9 mi offshoot hike right from Manoa Falls. It's a hairpin turn up the hill right before you go down to the falls overlook. It will bring you to a clearing with a pretty nice view.
This one is full sun, so go early or go for sunset, but probably best to avoid hiking it midday. If you walk along the coast the whole way you'll be able to explore lots of tide pools, and you might even see a monk seal napping on the shore. At the end (the point) is baby Albatross nesting grounds, so stay on the trail and leave your pups home. Oh, and keep lots of distance (50ft to be exact) between you and any monk seals you might come across.
Tripler Ridge [Military Access Required]
This trail, like the title says, requires a military ID or chaperone to get on base. A great trail for strollers as it's paved a good chunk of the way (although the incline/decline is pretty steep).
At Christmas time people bring ornaments to leave on this Norfolk pine.
If you keep going past the paved part, this trail goes on for like 9 miles. Needless to say, I haven't done the whole thing haha.
Radar Hill [Military Access Required]
Located on Fort Shafter, this is another one that requires a military ID or chaperone. The summit has a beautiful view of Tripler Medical Center (the pink hospital). It's hilly, but on the easier side compared to some, especially since it has ample shade. Almost never see people out here, so make sure you bring a friend and let people know where you'll be.
And that's it!
There are tons and tons of hikes not listed here, so head on over to AllTrails for a more comprehensive detailed list.
Big thanks to all my friends and family whose faces have made an appearance in this blog.
Love that I have so many adventurous souls in my life.
Here's more Fun Things to do in Oahu!
Happy trekking, friends!