Hiking In Oahu: 10 Best Trails And Hikes

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Oahu’s terrain provides a range of trails for all abilities, from the thrilling paths through Koko Crater to tranquil forests. From volcanic craters to serene forests, and from challenging treks to WWII bunkers – every trail offers its unique allure, and you’ll want to know everything about hiking in Oahu when visiting.

The East Side Trails lead you through an adventurous journey across Koko Crater and beyond. Inner Oahu captivates with tranquil bamboo-laden forests and breathtaking waterfalls at Maunawili Falls.

For experienced hikers seeking a challenge, Wailupe Loop and Pu’u Manamana Trails are sure bets. The North Shore region presents spectacular routes that blend history with nature’s beauty.

Hiking in Oahu also takes you on an ancient volcanic exploration on Diamond Head or accessible treks near Waikiki Beach Resort Area like Aiea And Makiki Valley Loops. Finally, uncover hidden gems such as Wiliwilinui Ridge And Lanikai PillBox while navigating through the vast network of paths using our interactive map guide.

Hiking in Oahu Hawaii

Hiking In Oahu - Overview

Before jumping into the main topic, let’s get an overview of the best hiking trails in Oahu for an all-around adventure you don’t want to miss:

  • Koko Crater Tramway to Kokohead Lookout
  • Koko Head Crater Rim Trail
  • Maunawili Falls
  • Wailupe Loop Trail
  • Pu’u Manamana Hike
  • Kaneohe Bay Pillbox
  • Diamond Head Crater Trailhead
  • ʻAiea Loop Trailhead
  • Makiki Valley Loop Trail
  • Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

Let’s jump right into the main topic, hiking in Oahu, with the best trails, the best hiking spots, the difficulty level, and much more.

Hiking trails in Oahu

10 Trails To Go Hiking In Oahu

Explore the captivating world of hiking in Oahu! Discover the best trails this mesmerizing island offers, from breathtaking natural wonders to hidden gems waiting to be explored. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced hiker, Oahu has hiking spots for every expertise level, offering an unforgettable journey amidst diverse landscapes. Prepare to embark on an incredible journey, where the beauty of hiking in Oahu awaits!

Koko Crater Tramway to Kokohead Lookout

Koko Crater Tramway to Kokohead Lookout

Located on the southeastern part of Oahu, the Koko Crater Tramway is a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts and adventurous souls. This trail, also known as the Koko Head Stairs, is not for the faint-hearted but promises an unmatched reward at the summit.

  • The Hike: The Koko Crater Tramway is essentially a steep staircase consisting of 1,048 steps made from old railroad ties. The trail follows an old tram track which was originally used during World War II for transporting supplies. As you ascend, the stairs become steeper and more challenging, with a section towards the end where the tracks are suspended above the ground, giving a thrilling sense of height.
  • The Difficulty: The Koko Crater Tramway is considered a difficult hike due to its steep incline and the physical endurance it requires. It’s a strenuous workout, essentially akin to climbing a vertical stair master. Make sure to bring plenty of water, wear sturdy shoes, and take your time. Despite the challenge, the hike is relatively short, with most people reaching the top within 30 minutes to an hour.
  • The Reward: Reaching the summit is a feat in itself, but the real reward lies in the panoramic views that await. From the top, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of Honolulu, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding landscape of Oahu. You can see Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, and even the island of Molokai on a clear day.

Despite its difficulty, the Koko Crater Tramway to Kokohead Lookout is a rewarding hike that offers some of the best views in Oahu. It’s a testament to the phrase, “the best views come after the hardest climb.” So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.

Koko Head Crater Rim Trail

Koko Head Crater Rim Trail

Situated on the eastern side of Oahu, near Hawaii Kai, the Koko Head Crater Rim Trail offers a unique hiking experience with stunning panoramas and diverse terrain. Unlike its more popular cousin, the Koko Crater Tramway, this trail takes you around the rim of the extinct volcanic crater.

  • The Hike: The Koko Head Crater Rim Trail is a loop that stretches approximately 2.9 miles. The path begins at the Koko Head District Park and ascends through a series of switchbacks, taking you around the entire rim of the crater. You'll traverse rocky paths, walk along narrow ridges, and navigate through some overgrown sections. This trail offers a more natural and rugged hiking experience compared to the man-made staircase of the Tramway.
  • The Difficulty: The Koko Head Crater Rim Trail is rated as moderate to difficult. The hike involves steep inclines, loose rocks, and narrow ridges, requiring good physical condition and careful footing. It's recommended to have hiking poles for stability. The trail can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on your pace.
  • The Reward: As you journey around the rim, you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the island. From one side, you can admire the vast Pacific Ocean and the offshore islands of Molokai and Lanai. On the other, you get spectacular views of the Koko Crater Botanical Garden nestled within the crater, the neighboring suburbs of Hawaii Kai, and the distant Honolulu skyline.

The Koko Head Crater Rim Trail is an exciting adventure for those seeking a less crowded alternative to the Koko Crater Tramway. With its challenging terrain and awe-inspiring views, it's definitely worth adding to your Oahu hiking bucket list.

Maunawili Falls

Maunawili Falls

Nestled in the Windward side of Oahu, the Maunawili Falls trail is a popular destination for hikers seeking a tropical adventure. This trail leads you through verdant rainforest to a beautiful waterfall, offering a refreshing dip as your reward.

  • The Hike: The Maunawili Falls trail is a 2.8-mile round trip that starts from a residential neighborhood in Kailua. The path meanders through lush vegetation, crossing over streams and passing by gigantic trees and ferns. The trail can get quite muddy and slippery, especially after rainfall, so wearing appropriate footwear is advised.
  • The Difficulty: The Maunawili Falls trail is considered moderate. It involves some uneven terrain, stream crossings, and potentially muddy and slippery conditions. However, it's relatively short and manageable for most hikers with a reasonable level of fitness. The hike typically takes between 2 to 3 hours, depending on how long you choose to enjoy the falls.
  • The Reward: The reward at the end of this trail is the stunning Maunawili Falls. This 20-foot waterfall cascades into a natural pool, providing an excellent spot for swimming and even cliff jumping for the more adventurous. Surrounded by a dense jungle, it's a picturesque scene straight out of a movie.

The Maunawili Falls trail offers a quintessential Hawaiian hiking experience, complete with lush rainforest scenery and a refreshing waterfall. Remember to respect the area by packing out any trash and not leaving anything behind. Enjoy the serenity and natural beauty of this special spot on Oahu.

Wailupe Loop Trail

Wailupe Loop Trail

Situated on the eastern side of Oahu, near Hawaii Kai, the Koko Head Crater Rim Trail offers a unique hiking experience with stunning panoramas and diverse terrain. Unlike its more popular cousin, the Koko Crater Tramway, this trail takes you around the rim of the extinct volcanic crater.

  • The Hike: The Wailupe Loop Trail is a 4.9-mile loop that starts in the Wailupe Valley. The trail winds its way up through a beautiful forest filled with native plants and towering trees. The path is well-defined and marked with ribbons, but it does involve some steep sections and stream crossings.
  • The Difficulty: The Wailupe Loop Trail is rated as moderate to difficult. The trail involves a steady uphill climb, several stream crossings, and potentially muddy and slippery conditions. Good hiking shoes are a must, and hiking poles can be helpful for stability.
  • The Reward: As you climb higher, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, the Windward coast, and the cityscape of Honolulu. On clear days, you might even catch a glimpse of neighboring islands. But perhaps the most distinctive feature of this hike is the close-up experience with nature, as you walk amidst guava trees, ginger plants, and other native Hawaiian flora.

The hike usually takes around 3 to 5 hours, depending on your pace. Offering a peaceful escape into nature, the Wailupe Loop Trail is a fantastic choice for those seeking a less-traveled path. With its gorgeous forest setting and panoramic views, this trail truly embodies the beauty and tranquility of Oahu's landscape.

Pu'u Manamana Hike

Pu'u Manamana Hike

Located on the Windward coast of Oahu, near the town of Kaaawa, the Pu'u Manamana Hike is known among local hikers as one of the most challenging and exhilarating trails on the island. It's a hike for adrenaline seekers, offering breathtaking views and heart-stopping moments.

  • The Hike: The Pu'u Manamana Hike, also known as Crouching Lion Hike, begins near the Crouching Lion Inn. The trail quickly ascends, leading you along narrow ridges with sheer drop-offs on both sides. It's a raw, rugged, and untamed path that winds through dense vegetation and rocky outcrops.
  • The Difficulty: The Pu'u Manamana Hike is considered very difficult and is recommended for experienced hikers only. The trail is steep, narrow, and can be treacherous in wet conditions. It requires good physical fitness, careful footing, and a head for heights.
  • The Reward: The views from the Pu'u Manamana trail are absolutely stunning. As you climb higher, you'll have panoramic views of the Windward coast, with its turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and the lush Kualoa Mountains. On clear days, you can even see as far as Chinaman's Hat and Kaneohe Bay.

The full loop can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours to complete. Pu'u Manamana Hike is not for everyone, but for those who dare, it offers an unforgettable adventure. If you're looking for a thrill and don't mind getting your hands dirty, this trail could be your next challenge. Remember to prioritize safety and never hike alone. Enjoy the thrill and the beauty of Oahu from an entirely new perspective.

Kaneohe Bay Pillbox

Kaneohe Bay Pillbox

Nestled on the Windward side of Oahu, in the town of Kaneohe, the Kaneohe Bay Pillbox hike is a relatively short but rewarding trek. This trail offers historical interest combined with stunning views over one of the most beautiful bays on the island.

  • The Hike: The Kaneohe Bay Pillbox hike, also known as the Puu Ma'eli'eli Digging Hill, starts from a residential area and leads you up a 1.6-mile trail through dense forest. The path is well-marked but can be muddy and slippery, especially after rain. Along the way, you'll pass by remnants of old trenches and bunkers from World War II, adding a touch of history to your hike.
  • The Difficulty: The Kaneohe Bay Pillbox hike is rated as moderate. The trail involves some steep ascents and potentially slippery conditions. However, it's relatively short and manageable for most hikers. The hike usually takes about 2 hours round trip, allowing time to enjoy the view at the top.
  • The Reward: Reaching the pillbox at the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the stunning Kaneohe Bay, with its vibrant turquoise waters dotted with sandbars and coral reefs. You can also see the majestic Ko'olau Mountain Range and, on a clear day, the Mokulua Islands and Chinaman's Hat.

The Kaneohe Bay Pillbox hike offers a unique combination of natural beauty, panoramic views, and historical interest. It's a great choice for families, history buffs, and anyone who wants to enjoy a relatively easy hike with a big payoff at the end.

ʻAiea Loop Trailhead

ʻAiea Loop Trailhead

Located in the ʻAiea Heights area on the southwestern side of Oahu, the ʻAiea Loop Trailhead offers hikers a chance to experience the island's lush foliage and wildlife while enjoying spectacular views of Pearl Harbor and the southern coastline.

  • The Hike: The ʻAiea Loop Trailhead is a 4.8-mile loop trail that meanders through a dense forest of lemon eucalyptus and Norfolk pines. The trail also features a variety of native plants, and if you're lucky, you might spot some of Hawaii's unique bird species. The path is well-maintained but can be muddy after rain, so proper footwear is recommended.
  • The Difficulty: The ʻAiea Loop Trailhead is rated as moderate. While most of the trail is relatively flat, there are some steep sections and roots that may require careful navigation. The hike typically takes around 2 to 3 hours to complete at a leisurely pace.
  • The Reward: Along the trail, there are several lookout points offering fantastic views of Pearl Harbor, the Waianae Mountain Range, and Diamond Head. On a clear day, you can even see as far as Honolulu. The trail also passes by the wreckage of a B-24 bomber that crashed during World War II, adding a historical touch to your hike.

With its combination of natural beauty, wildlife, and historical interest, the ʻAiea Loop Trailhead offers a well-rounded hiking experience. Whether you're an experienced hiker or a family looking for a fun day out, this trail has something to offer everyone.

Makiki Valley Loop Trail

Makiki Valley Loop Trail

If you want to experience Hawaii's lush greenery without straying too far from urban comforts, the Makiki Valley Loop Trail is perfect. Located just outside downtown Honolulu, this 1.5-mile trail takes you through native Hawaiian plants and provides ample shade under tall trees.

  • The Hike: Wander through a paradise of tall, majestic trees that provide shade, creating a serene atmosphere. Embark on this remarkable journey to discover hidden treasures and be awed by the magical landscape. Explore the best of Hawaii's natural wonders, conveniently close to urban life.
  • The Difficulty: The trail's difficulty level will put your stamina and endurance to the test. With steep inclines and rocky terrain, hikers should come prepared with sturdy shoes and plenty of water. But the reward for completing this challenging trail is well worth the effort.
  • The Reward: The Makiki Valley Loop trail on Oahu, Hawaii is a gem of a hike that rewards hikers with stunning views of the island. The trail also offers panoramic views of the city's skyline and the Pacific Ocean.

Discover the enchantment of Hawaii's lush greenery on the Makiki Valley Loop Trail. Immerse yourself in the beauty of vibrant native Hawaiian plants, wander through majestic trees, and uncover hidden treasures. Experience the magic of Hawaii's natural wonders, just minutes from downtown Honolulu.


Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

The Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail, a secret among locals, is perfect for those seeking solitude amidst nature's beauty. From the top of the Ko'olau Mountain Range, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of Honolulu and Waikiki on this 4.5-mile round trip trail.

  • The Hike: As you embark on this adventure, prepare to follow a scenic, winding path that leads you to the summit. Once you make it to the top, you'll find yourself surrounded by panoramic views of the city below. On a clear day, you can also see Molokai and Lanai in the distance! Hike back down with caution as some parts of the trail have steep descents.
  • The Difficulty: This trail is considered moderate in difficulty, but can be done by experienced hikers of all levels. While the elevation gain is not too steep, the last stretch involves a scramble up some rocks to get to the summit. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear appropriate hiking shoes!
  • The Reward: Make sure to take pictures at the top! The view is incredible and there’s a great chance you’ll be able to spot Hawaii’s state bird, the nene goose, during your hike. Afterward, reward yourself with a snack or lunch in Waikiki – the perfect way to wrap up an adventurous day.

Experience the breathtaking views and invigorating trails of Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail! Don't forget to stay hydrated and satiated - remember to pack plenty of water and snacks. Happy hiking, and stay safe out there!


From the volcanic landscapes of Koko Crater to the serene forests of Maunawili Falls, Oahu offers a diverse range of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you're an experienced trekker in search of a test or a novice desiring tranquil strolls, Oahu's tropical haven has something for everyone.

The North Shore region boasts spectacular routes like Kaneohe Bay Pillbox that combine WWII history with nature's beauty.

For those interested in ancient volcanoes, Diamond Head provides an exhilarating climb and breathtaking views. With convenient access near Waikiki Beach Resort area, Aiea Loop and Makiki Valley Loop offer accessible treks with historic views and urban jungle experiences.

Don't miss out on hidden gems like Wiliwilinui Ridge and Lanikai PillBox, where you can uncover stunning vistas and sunrise views.

Thank you for reading until the end and we hope this guide of all the spots for hiking in Oahu was helpful!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Oahu Good for Hiking?

Oahu is great for those who love hiking. With a wide variety of trails, Oahu offers both scenic views and challenging terrain. Hikers can choose to summit the island's famous Diamond Head, explore lush rain forests at Manoa Falls, or trek along coastline cliffs at Makapu'u Point. The island's climate allows for year-round hiking, but it's important to remember to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the trails can become hot and humid. Whether you're a beginner or seasoned hiker, Oahu has something to offer for everyone.

How Many Hiking Trails Does Oahu Have?

There are estimated to be over 250 trails on the island, ranging from beginner to advanced levels of difficulty. Some of the most popular trails include Diamond Head, the Ka’au Crater Hike, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, and the Manoa Falls Trail. So pack a water bottle, put on your hiking shoes, and get ready to discover the natural beauty of Oahu.

What Is the Hardest Hike in Oahu?

Visitors to Oahu looking for a challenging hike to add to their itinerary need look no further than Koko Crater Trail. This trail is not for the faint of heart, with 1,048 steps leading to the summit of Koko Crater, providing a breathtaking panoramic view of the island. The ascent can be grueling, but the reward is well worth the effort.

Along the way, hikers will encounter an abandoned railway that was once used to transport military supplies during World War II. While the hike is not recommended for beginners, experienced hikers will appreciate the challenge and sense of accomplishment this trail provides.

What Is the Most Iconic Hike in Hawaii?

This famous trail is located in one of the most popular state parks on Oahu, and it attracts hikers from all over the world. With stunning views of the Honolulu skyline and the Pacific Ocean, it's no wonder this hike has become such a must-do activity for tourists and locals alike. The trail itself isn't too challenging, but there are some steep sections that will get your heart pumping. Once you reach the summit, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the island. If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, be sure to put Diamond Head on your list!

What Is the Biggest Hike on Oahu?

If you're looking for a challenging hike that offers stunning views from the highest peak on Oahu, the Ka'ala trail may be the one for you. This approximately 6-mile round trip hike will take you through lush forests, steep inclines, and rocky terrain. Along the way, you'll encounter a range of plant and animal life, and the panoramic views from the top are worth the effort. While the trail is not for beginners, experienced hikers will enjoy the rugged terrain and unparalleled vistas.

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