The island of Oahu is a haven for hikers and adventure lovers.
Of all the Hawaiian Islands, it is the third-largest. The magnificent island of Oahu is well-known for its natural beauty. It also goes by the term “The Gathering Place.”
This Hawaiian island is the home of almost a million people and has two-thirds of the state of Hawaii. It has the famous Pearl Harbor and the Island Palace, which was the home of the royal residence of the rulers of Hawaii.
It includes a beautiful beach where the sun sets, a historic lighthouse trail, an observation deck, and delicious food.
But the best part is that about 50 hiking routes are on Oahu. They are miles long as well. Take them all in and discover the island to the fullest.
Here are the 11 best hikes in Oahu to help you choose your following adventurous hikes.
Why Choose Oahu? What Makes it the best?
Oahu, Hawaii, is a critical location, both historically and culturally. It is notable for significant monuments like Pearl Harbor and the Iolani Palace on almost every Honolulu itinerary.
Visitors can take part in lavish luaus, drink Mai Tais, and see Norfolk pine, seven falls, and pali notches. There is also much to learn about the island’s earliest Polynesian settlers.
Great Oahu hikes provide something for everyone, with options ranging from the gradual ascent of the Manoa Falls Trail to the spine-tingling sheer drops of the Seven Falls Trail, all of which are surrounded by native Hawaiian plants and wildlife.
Meet the locals while seeing historically significant sites. Also, You might see a spectacular Kohala, a singular humpback whale in the aquarium, or an entire group of humpback whales on Oahu’s south shore between December and May.
The Best Hikes In Oahu according to the Internet
Here are the best hikes in Oahu that everyone who experiences the Hawai Islands should check out.
1, Stairway To Heaven
This hike is the island’s most prominent attraction. The stairway to heaven was built by the US Government during world war I and world war ii in the 1940s.
The 3,922 stairs were said to lead to an underground radio station used for communication purposes with the American Naval ships in the Pacific Ocean.
The hike takes 4 to 6 hours to complete and is a once-a-lifetime experience. There are many factors to consider, primarily legal and health factors, as many years ago, a celebrity died during the hike because of a heart attack.
Despite this stairway to heaven’s many huge risks, many still attempt to go there.
2, Waimea Falls
Our next spot on our best Oahu hikes is Waimea Falls. The walk might be 3.5 miles long, but it is all flat, and the ground is also a paved trail.
It is not exhausting like the others but more of a leisurely walk on a paved trail.
The walk takes you through stunning botanical gardens, lakes, and historical sites. The great end to the hike is when you reach the Waimea falls.
The Waimea Valley is a fantastic hub for learning about the tremendous Hawaiian culture and history.
3, Diamond Head
Diamond Head was originally a volcanic tuff. The vents of the volcanic tuff are now extinct and are said to be monogenetic.
The Diamond Hike is one of the most popular and most popular hikes. The trek is 1.6 miles long (round trip), so the hike takes approximately 2 hours to complete.
It is a short ridge hike; the trek is not one of the easy hikes.
The Oahu hiking trail is very uneven, windy, and rocky. You will be at an altitude of 560ft in just a quick walk.
The best time to go on this trek is during sunrise. Not just for the unbeatable views, but also because the weather is relatively calm at the time. While you are there, check out the diamond head state monument.
4, Koko Stairs
This climb, also known as the “Koko Crater trail,” is for the daring and is regarded as one of the best on Oahu.
Given that the hike is only 1.5 miles long (round trip), you might imagine it is simple to complete. But because the Koko crater hike requires a challenging hike of about 1000 stairs, you should proceed gently.
There are stairs in the Koko head crater. The hike is initially simple to complete, but as you ascend, it gradually changes.
You might cross a very questionable bridge to the Koko crater botanical garden, so there are alternative routes for hikers if they want to skip Koko head stairs.
The final vista depicts Hanauma Bay, the one you often see on TV programs. And you catch stunning views of the Diamond Head and the trail you left behind from the top of Koko Head District Park.
Although Hanauma Bay’s panoramic views are alluring, keep in mind that the path is not simple. People can choose to return using the old military pillboxes given because the very steep climb is highly taxing on the legs.
Or they can leisurely descend on their own, having recovered. Even when returning, the vista of Hanauma Bay is still there to cheer you on.
Word of advice: There are alternate paths available to hikers to avoid a potentially dangerous bridge at a particular point on the Koko head stairs trail.
The Olomana is one of the best Oahu hiking trails, sometimes known as “Three Peaks,” which features basic bouldering and rope-assisted climbing.
Simply put, what you receive at Olomana Trail For your satisfaction and unparalleled gorgeous mountain panoramic views, you get to climb three high summits.
On your ascent to the first three peaks above the Windwardside, this arduous Oahu hiking trail ascends nearly 2,000 feet. If your physical condition is good, this hike will be an exciting and challenging route for you.
It is also the best vantage location for seeing the Koolau range, and the coast is from the tops of the first two peaks.
The trailhead is located past the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club entrance. Walk down Loop Drive after parking on Auloa Street.
One piece of advice: avoid this trek if you are afraid of heights. Occasionally, you will be on a narrow ridge hike with plunging cliffs on either side.
6, Manoa Falls Trail
In search of a short hike close to Honolulu? The short Manoa Falls hike Trail is where you should go.
1.6 miles, 30 to 45 minutes, and an easy difficulty level. One of the most popular Oahu hikes in the area, particularly among travelling fans.
Both tourists and locals visit the Manoa Falls Trail for hiking and running.
If you enjoy Jurassic park-like movies, you’ll recognize the scenery when trekking along this asphalt road trail. The trail’s highest point features a fantastic waterfall.
Nevertheless, there are two things, however, to keep in mind. Firstly, swimming after completing the falls hike is not an acceptable way to cool off.
Secondly, wear strong hiking boots if you’re travelling during the rainy season unless you want to risk falling and getting muddy.
7, Hanauma Bay Rim
In search of a brief, half-day hike? Set your course toward the Hanauma Bay Rim. Time: 2 to 3 hours, distance: 3.6 miles from easy to moderate in difficulty. Due to its ease, the uphill trail is excellent for family hikes.
One of the best beaches in the Honolulu area is reached by descending from Hanauma Bay Rim. You’ll also pass across flowery fields and breathtaking vistas of Hanauma Bay along the route.
Many hikers take a plunge afterward to cool off from the arduous hike.
You may wander along the Hanauma Bay Rim and enjoy the coastal scenery, which makes for a fantastic family photo opportunity.
It could get sticky and humid during the rainy season, so please pack lots of water for the family.
8, Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
On Oahu, the furthest southeast is Makapu’u Point. This location was crucial to the marine trade before the lighthouse was constructed. This lighthouse’s lens was an engineering and technological marvel for the local people when it was first built.
This antique lighthouse features a distinctive red roof. It has been designated as one of America’s historic places and boasts a giant lens of any lighthouse in the country.
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is among Hawaii’s most picturesque treks. The 2-mile round-trip hike provides stunning views of Oahu’s southeast coast. You’ll be able to see the Koko Crater and the Koko ridge hike while you’re hiking.
Other environmental preserves are nearby, including a bird sanctuary offshore the hiking track.
You should bring your binoculars to this lighthouse trail. Whales that are migrating can also be seen! Bring a hat and sunscreen, as this trail lacks shade.
9, Crouching Lion
Climb to the peak of Crouching Lion for great views of the mountains and the sea. After a brief but arduous trek, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Kahana Bay.
Time: 20 to 45 minutes. Distance: 0.4 miles. Hardiness: Moderate The public portion of the Crouching Lion route closed in April 2021, but most hikers can still use it without issue.
Just be sure to adhere to the trailhead signage. Don’t take Smaller trails since they can become quite slick in rainier weather. And Bring plenty of water for the ascent and sturdy shoes to make the journey easier.
10, Deadman’s Catwalk
The concrete catwalk (slab) that extended into nothingness was named “Deadman’s Catwalk.”
Another popular and illegal hike on Oahu is this one. The neighbourhood removed its slab because kids and hikers frequently visited it. Therefore, you won’t see the “Deadman’s Catwalk name on this climb.”
This one is significantly less dangerous and a relatively simple hike to access. Nevertheless, doing a comparatively easy hike is worthwhile because it offers a genuinely mesmerizing panoramic view. On a clear day, you might even see Na Mokulua and Lanikai.
A metal fence is blocking the trail’s entry. However, hopping across is pretty straightforward. You’re welcome to leave your car near the fence. If you arrive very early, you won’t be bothered. You can hike there and back in about an hour.
It would help if you went beyond a second fence to get to the most picturesque perspective. You are permitted to walk alongside it. Be cautious since this is the most dangerous portion. You’re likely to encounter other hikers along the way.
11, Aiea Loop Trail
Views of South Oahu from Pearl Harbor to Diamond Head and Honolulu are visible through the trees. You can also see the island’s H–3 highway, one of the country’s most expensive motorways.
Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, an oasis in central Oahu, is only 20 minutes from the bustle of Honolulu.
The well-known Aiea Loop Trail is located inside the 384-acre park and campground. This 4.8-mile circle hike follows Halawa Valley’s western slopes.
Along the journey, there is a 900–foot height rise, some rooted terrain, and a brief stream crossing.
However, the trail is primarily shaded by lemon eucalyptus trees, which give off a pleasant scent, Norfolk pines, and, higher up, indigenous ohia and koa trees.
Here Are Some Hiking Tips; remember when visiting the Best Hikes On the Oahu hiking trail.
- Remember that the Hawaiian sun is harsh. Bring high SPF sunblock. Some prefer to hike in the morning or late at night (bring bug spray with you).
- While engaging in physical exercise, it is relatively simple to become dehydrated, and the ascent doesn’t help. Bring as much water with you as you can on the hike.
- There are numerous necessities to bring for trekking, such as hiking trail boots, a first aid bag, and a Swiss knife.
- Skip Olomana when facing the strong wind. Although it’s incredibly well-liked, many people have fallen and died on it, including seasoned hikers from the islands. Unless you are accustomed to this terrain, it is not a good idea, despite how cool it appears to be (which it does).
Why do visitors to Oahu do the crowded Diamond Head hike instead of the pillbox hike in nearby Kailua? If you could only choose to do one, which would you do?
Both are excellent, and it is pretty well-liked. The distinction is that Diamond Head offers a view of Honolulu’s city and Waikiki beach. Like Manhattan is to New York State. Therefore, there will be more people and a more “iconic” perspective.
Although Diamond Head is typically busier, the vista is excellent, the trek is slightly more challenging, and it’s easier for most visitors.
Visitors need to drive to Kailua, find parking, and then take a sometimes congested and uninteresting climb to reach the pillboxes or Waikiki beach.
View of a different section of the island chain from the Lanikai pillbox. Although not quite as lovely as the view from Diamond Head, the result is still reasonably excellent.
Both are worthwhile hikes, but the Haiku stairs and Ka’au crater are the best if you’re a serious hiker.
What are some must-see or must-do attractions on Oahu that are slightly off the beaten path?
You should not deviate from the path to “secret and only local-known sites,” so please don’t do it.
For starters, you probably know nothing about any circumstances you will be required to endure. They might be trickier than you imagine.
Second, the weather might vary greatly depending on the area. It frequently rains for a bit in the afternoon, which is normal. The ground can rapidly turn treacherous.
The state of Hawaii may need to spend actual money to save you due to the hazardous conditions at those “hidden springs” or on that undiscovered route.
And lastly, Hawai’i is home to several ecosystems that are incredibly vulnerable. They sustain more significant harm yearly due to individuals deviating from routes and wandering through unfamiliar areas.
Is it okay to go off the trail to secret and only local-known locations in Hawaii if taken by “Hawaiians” (Korean-Caucasian friends)?
First: Several epic adventure sports, such as kiting or windsurfing, are popular in the vicinity. If you want, you can set your camp on the sand.
Second: Private airlines utilize the recreational airfield known as Dillingham Airfield. You might even take part in a few skydive jumps.
Third: Another great location to explore is Turtle Beach. At least one turtle will typically be relaxing on the sand. Usually, a lot more people are present. However, remain at a safe distance since the law forbids approaching marine turtles closer than 6 feet.
Fouth: If being in outdoor activities is more your thing, visit Kaena Park and National Reserve.
What is the food scene like in Oahu? What are some of the best places to visit?
While you’re sure to enjoy visiting tourist attractions like stunning scenery, inviting beaches, and magnificent landmarks, the real heart of a trip is its food.
Oahu has everything from high-end restaurants to street vendors. Its cities are bursting with mouthwatering regional specialties and international cuisines that will increase your appreciation for the place.
Top Restaurants in Oahu Recommendations
Ethel’s Grill serves the tastiest taco rice and the juiciest hamburger steak. For lunch, you can also eat at The Pig and The Lady, a popular restaurant frequented by celebrities.
Don’t forget to try their banh mi with French dip. It includes bean sprouts, savoury Thai basil chimichurri, and melt-in-your-mouth beef chunks. Additionally, a side of delectable pho broth is provided for dipping.
To die for is Senia’s bone marrow dish, served with oxtail marmalade, Hawaiian sweet buns, and piccalilli.
If you want to enjoy exquisite food at a reasonable price, Senia can help. Eating in their open kitchen will allow you to see the chefs working their magic.
Mahina Sun’s is a restaurant with a unique spice blend that emphasizes locally sourced seafood.
The Mahina’s Family Feast, which includes a full-fried fish, buttered breadfruit cucumber ume salad, and a creamy banana pudding pavlova for dessert, offers the most value for the money.
Is Aiea Loop Trail kid-friendly?
The Aiea Loop walk meanders among tall trees and large logs with glimpses of the Waianae mountains, Pearl Harbor, and Halawa Valley.
It’s a little bit too far for a family hike at 4.8 miles. But it’s something to think about. It’s well-marked, mostly shaded, and enjoyable.
It lacks bouldering, challenging hikes, and wild drops. Who doesn’t like a loop hike?
During the winter, the trail becomes muddy and requires some slogging, but overall, it’s a leisurely, family-friendly trip. Along the walk are several indigenous plants and a unique native Hawaiian bird.
You can take a detour to the Aiea Ridge hike route, which is not child-friendly but has more native flora and wildlife and even more excellent vistas if you’re feeling adventurous.
But in the end. The kids and the visiting day are the most determining factors.
What are the Best Accommodation options in Oahu?
Oahu offers a wide range of convenient and comfortable lodging options for your trip. On Oahu, there are a wide variety of lodging alternatives, including hotels, resorts, guesthouses, and vacation rentals.
Booking.com has over 1,000 listings to select from if you want a quiet place away from people but close to the most stunning landscape and best treks on Oahu.
- Waihiawa (Central Oahu)
- Waianae (Leeward Coast of Oahu)
- Honolulu (South Coast of Oahu)
- Koolaupoko (Windward Coast of Oahu)
- Waialua (North Shore of Oahu)
What are the most dangerous hiking trails in Hawaii?
In Hawaii, almost any hike has the potential to be dangerous. Even an easy hike stream crossing can become dangerous due to an abrupt upstream deluge. Examples in Moanalua Valley Trail, Kulaou Ridge Trail, Lanikai Pillbox Hike, and Mount Olympus.
Also, if you’re not paying attention, it’s simple to become lost.
The windward side of Oahu’s Olomana path. On this stretch, there have been a few fatalities in recent years.
If you intend to climb, go when the weather is nice, bring water, and do not attempt this hike by yourself. The north shore won’t look pretty if you hurt yourself.
Hiking on Oahu is rewarding for the senses. You’ll be able to take in 180-degree vistas of the sapphire blue ocean, feel the trade winds as you meander through rich tropical forests, and hear the fire-red apapane, or Hawaiian honeycreeper, sing.
Visit the most famous monument on the island, experience the spray from a 150-foot waterfall, or stand atop a World War II observation bunker with the immense Pacific Ocean all around you.
Go on a trip and enjoy climbing on some of the best Oahu hikes in Oahu today. Even the ones we didn’t mention in the article, like; the Moanalua valley trail, kuliouou ridge trail, Lanikai pillbox hike, and mount Olympus still are worth it if you are willing to take risks.
Which of these treks on Oahu do you most anticipate taking? Which trek in Oahu do you consider the best Comment below and let us know!