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Best Oahu Hikes

Best Oahu Hikes

The island is hiker’s heaven, and we don’t pretend to list all of the Best Oahu Hikes. This collection consists of various trails that can be done by folks with average hiking abilities, some more demanding than others. All of them are fun to do while on vacation in Oahu, to get more intimate with Oahu and bring home amazing photos to last a lifetime! Each of our Best Oahu Hikes has a link to a personal narrative with photos and recommendations.

Kealia Trail

There are several length options for hiking Kealia Trail, so you can decide beforehand how extreme you want to go. From one and a half mile switchback option to an all day event, Kealia Trail offers incredible views of the Waianae coast. It caters to the nonconformist and those who have an inner longing to escape the crowds and noise of human activity. Kealia Trail is truly an undiscovered gem, in every sense of the phrase.

Kealia Trail is one of the loveliest hikes on the island of Oahu, gifting its trekkers with glimpses of azul waters through its leafy vegetation.

Lanikai Pillbox Trail

Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a moderate, about 3.2-mile round-trip. It’s quite steep with spectacular views of the island coast. The hike is very popular and not shaded, so to avoid crowds and too much sun exposure, it’s best to hike very early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Out of all trails on our Best Oahu Hikes list, this one is my personal favorite. It is also known as Kaiwa Ridge Trail.

Best Oahu Hikes - Kaiwa Ridge Trail; view from the top

Laie Falls Trail

Laie Falls Trail is a moderate hike, about 8-mile round trip. Quite secluded and not crowded. It can get quite muddy, some people recommend wearing water shoes for that! The scenery is beautiful and you’ll be rewarded with the swim in the waterfall!

Best Oahu Hikes - Laie Falls Trail; the rewarding falls at the end

Koko Head Trail Hike

Looking for a challenge while on vacation? Koko Head Trail Hike 1.8-mile round trip, rated difficult, will definitely fit the bill. You will go straight up without any curves or roundabouts, on an old railway build during WWII, stepping on its wooden ties. This “Oahu StairMaster” will reward you with breathtaking 360° panoramic views from the top.

Best Oahu Hikes - Koko Head Trail; view from the top

Lulumahu Falls Trail

Lulumahu Falls Trail is located on private government land, is not marked and can be tough to find. It’s just over 2-mile long round-trip of moderate difficulty. You will traverse a dense bamboo forest, see ruins of King Kamehameha III summer residence, and arrive to one of the most scenic waterfalls on Oahu, with a swimmable pool.

Best Oahu Hikes - Lulumahu Falls Trail; waterfall and swimming hole

Crouching Lion Hike

Crouching Lion Hike should be done well-prepared. It’s rated moderate and is very short – only 0.5 mile round trip – but extremely steep and treacherous. You will feel like Tarzan climbing steeply up through the real jungle. Gloves to hold on tree roots and branches are recommended. Microspikes for hiking boots can save you from trouble on sharp-edge hilltops. it’s best to go really early on a clear day during dryer time. Being on the east side of Oahu, the Crouching Lion trail is a great choice for a sunrise hike.

Best Oahu Hikes - Crouching Lion Trail; view of Kahana Bay
Just ten minutes into the Crouching Lion hike, you can already see Kahana Bay.

Manoa Falls Trail

Here is a popular hike for all levels! Manoa Falls Trail is 1.6 miles round trip. It is well shaded and fun, but can be really muddy! The trail was featured in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and it know as “Jurassic Park Trail”. You will be rewarded with views of the tallest accessible waterfall on Oahu and a fantastic photo opportunity! Definitely one of the Best Oahu Hikes among easy-rated.

Best Oahu Hikes - Manoa Falls Trail; the banyan arch
The Banyan arch of Manoa Falls Trail.

Maunawili Falls Trail

Maunawili Falls Trail is a moderately rated, 3-mile long round trip, awarding fabulous views of Oahu’s windward side. You will walk through true jungle and end up at Maunawili Waterfall with a swimming hole. Wear a bathing suit for a refreshing swim. While diving is not advised because of Leptospirosis being present in all fresh water sources in this region, some people jump from  the waterfall into the swimming hole.

Beast Oahu Hikes - Maunawili Falls Trail; view of the valley

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