Oahu Hiking Trails

Oahu hiking trails provide access to some of the best views and adventures on the island.  I love the hikes on Oahu, because they remove you from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, and into the natural wild beauty of the island.  You’ll have an opportunity to explore the indigenous plants and animals on these Oahu hikes.  And finally, I’m always up for hiking Oahu because  many of the mapped trails satisfy my sense of adventure and craving to explore the island’s natural beauty .

Oahu Hiking Trails

Picture above taken while hiking up Mariner’s Ridge...one of many great hikes on Oahu

I've found that the best hikes on Oahu tend to be 3 miles or less, and takes 1 to 3 hours to complete.  While some of the Oahu hiking trails lead you climbing up mountain tops and ridges, other Oahu hikes aren't hikes at all, but rather considered more like beautiful strolls, and worthy of a mention.

Join me as I walk you through some of the best hikes on Oahu.  There are some great strolls and hikes in and outside of Waikiki.  In fact there are close to 50 popular Oahu hiking trails located through out the island.   But with limited time, let’s explore a few Oahu hikes you’re going to definitely want to trek!


Hiking Oahu Waterfalls


I'm not sure if there is anything more satisfying than trekking some of the best Oahu hiking trails that come with a prize waiting for you at the end -- a stunning Oahu waterfall!  The 3 Oahu hikes I would like to recommend are fairly easy trekking and family friendly. Waimea Falls Park is the easiest of the three, with facilities on site. The Manoa Waterfall & Mauanwili Falls offers a little more sense of adventure, as you’ll be hiking up jungle trails.

Waimea Falls Park

Oahu Hiking Trails Waimea Falls


This is one of the great Oahu hikes/strolls for the whole family! You mainly walk along a flat road that is surrounded with clean botanical gardens, that will keep you entertained until you reach a bold 50 ft Oahu waterfall.



There is a small entrance fee to enter the Waimea Falls Park, but well worth the bang for the buck. It will take you about 30 minutes to reach the waterfall.

Manoa Falls Trail

Manoa Falls Trail



This Oahu hiking trail is located above Waikiki in the Manoa Valley mountainside.  The Manoa Falls Trail is a somewhat easy but still an adventurous hike through a lush bamboo and guava tree forest.

The prize at the end of this hour hike is a towering 150 ft Oahu waterfall.  Set your expectations high for this Oahu hike!



Maunawili Falls Trail 

Maunawili Falls Trail



Another fairly easy Oahu hiking trail, with breathtaking views of the Kailua Windward side, and a fun 25 ft Oahu waterfall to jump into at the end.  Jump in and swim at your own risk!


It will take you about an hour to trek this mile and a half trail.  It can get a little wet at times, since the Maunawili Falls trail backs up into the Koolau Mountains, so be prepared to trek through some muddy areas.


Climbing Hawaiian Mountain Ridges

Diamond Head Hike 

Oahu Hiking Trails Diamond Head


Hiking Diamond Head is not only one of the best hikes on Oahu, but also happens to be my personal favorite!  The views you'll take in from the top viewing platform are not only beautiful, but are also recorded as the longest land views you'll see in the world.


I was pleasantly surprised to find that it only took a half hour to Hike Diamond Head to the top. You'll find everyone from children to senior vets climbing up to the crater ridge top.

Makapuu Lighthouse Hike 

Oahu Hiking Trails Makapuu Lighthouse


The Makapuu Lighthouse hike is a fairly easy one-mile hike to the 500 ft peak, with a small degree of difficulty towards the Makapu’u Point.

The prize that the end of this hike are stunning views of the Makapu’u Lighthouse & beach  (one of my favorite body boarding beaches in all of Oahu!),


the Windward coast, local Rabbit island & Kaohi’ka’ipu island
, and also an impressive outline of neighboring islands, Molokai and Lanai.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike - Kaiwa Ridge Trail  

Oahu Hiking Trails Lanikai Pillbox Trail


The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a fun little hike that starts at the end of a residential street, and escalates quickly a quarter mile up to the first pillbox.

There are no better views of the pristine Lanikai Beach than on this hiking trail, aside from  standing on the sand itself of course (depending on your preference).

If you are intrigued with your hike to the first bunker, then continue up the Kaiwa Ridge Trail onto the second pillbox, which will extend your hike and views to just under a half hour each way.  Simply stunning views throughout the entire hike!  This is one of my wife's favorite hikes.

Mariners Ridge Hike

Mariners Ridge Hike


Drive 1000 feet up a hill and prepare to start an accelerating hike from there!  The Mariner’s Ridge Hike offers stimulating views of Koko Head and the Hawaii Kai Marina as you test your endurance, step by step, striding up this continuous mountaintop!


Reach the peak and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Windward side of Oahu. The journey will take you about 30 to 45 minutes to reach the top.

NOTE:  This trail has been deemed private and currently closed to the public.  A new gate has been constructed to keep trespassers out.  Consider good alternatives such as Makapu'u Lighthouse or Koko Head Steps.

Haiku Stairs ~ Stairway to Heaven 


4000 steps
will get you pretty close to heaven on this journey up the Ko’olau mountain ridgeThere is nothing easy about this hike, as you will be counting each step you take!

The US Coast Guard originally put a wooden stairway path into place back in the 1940’s, to allow construction and access to a radio tower.


Stairway to Heaven, also known as the Haiku Stairs, is unfortunately closed at this time.  It was originally closed in 1987 for restoration of the stairway, but remains closed today due to property land access issues.  I cannot recommend this hike at this time because it is officially closed, but it seems that people are still making the journey up the newly renovated path although "No Trespassing" signs are visibly posted.


Trekking Raw Beauty in Oahu


Kaniakapupu Ruins

Kaniakapupu Ruins


Located in Nu'uanu Valley off the Pali Hwy are the remains of King Kamehameha III's summer home, originally built in 1847.  Today you can take a short stroll through a bamboo forest and visit the Kaniakapupu Ruins, one of the oldest standing structures on Oahu!


Kanealole Trail 

Kanealole Hiking Trail


The Kanealole trail (Ka ne’ al ole) is considered the heart that leads to many other hillside trails.  This is a moderate 1.5 mile hike that climbs up 500 ft through switchback trails in a dense tropical rainforest.  The trail opens up occasionally with windowing Honolulu city views.

I recommend starting off with this hike, even if you plan on branching off to some of the other trails.

Kaena Point 

Oahu Kaena Point Trail


"Untouched Oahu" best describes Kaena point!  Except for an old railroad track and a couple of old abandoned cars lying around, this is one of the Oahu hiking trails that are pretty much isolated from all signs of civilization.



You get an opportunity to explore Oahu in its raw state.  Enjoy the natural beauty, plant, and animal life as you trek over the sand dunes.

To avoid the extreme heat that takes place on this side of the island, this is a moderate hike that should be started in the early morning.


Beautiful Oahu Strolls

Ala Moana Beach Park

Ala Moana Park


Join the locals for an island favorite stroll along the beachside park. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to capture Ala Moana Beach Park in its true beauty.  This stroll starts off on the Magic Island strip, which gives you some fantastic perspective views of Waikiki and the Kewalo Basin. 


Your stroll continues a half-mile down a stretch of sand, where the surrounding activity continues to grow as the day goes on.

Waikiki to Diamond Head Scenic Stroll 

Oahu Hiking Trails Waikiki Stroll


Okay, a stroll on Waikiki, whether on the lively sidewalk promenade or on Waikiki Beach doesn’t quite count as one of the Oahu hiking trails but a lot of visiting tourists discover this fun walk by a pure sense of adventure and excitement to discover their surroundings right outside their hotels.


The reason I like this Waikiki stroll is because the landscape continues to change and amaze you the farther you go

I recommend starting off at the Duke Kahanamoku statue and head south along the beachside towards Diamond Head.  You can either turn around a mile down the road, when you reach San Souci Beach, or continue on as the road starts to slowly climb up Diamond Head.  There are some breathtaking views to enjoy if you reach the 3 Diamond Head scenic point turnouts, located 1.5 miles from San Souci Beach.


Have a adventure exploring some of the best Oahu hiking trails!

Aloha & Enjoy!!


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