There are few places in the world so perfect for hiking as Oahu. Gorgeous scenery, lush rainforests, and waterfalls are just a few of the reasons to visit. This top Hawaiian destination is definitely a hiker’s paradise.
As such, Oahu offers an array of spots to trek. It’s not just for experienced hikers, though. Every traveler visiting this magnificent island should try their hand at hiking some spots. From visiting retirees to energetic honeymooners, there’s a trail for everyone.
Check out a few of our favorite hiking spots below! Remember to pick not only the best place, but also a trail that fits your skill and endurance levels.
The most recognizable hiking spot on the entire island (maybe all of Hawaii) is Diamond Head. The extinct volcano affords hikers amazing views of the ocean and mainland. You’ll also get a great work out in the process.
The Instagram-worthy shots you’ll get from the top don’t come without effort. The trail can be difficult at times, and is steep in spots with stairs in certain places. If you’re not up to a strenuous time, or if you’re just afraid of heights, you may want to skip this one.
If you’re up to the challenge, Diamond Head State Monument is affordable to enter, and a great option for budget travelers.
For a gorgeous Oahu waterfall hike, head straight to Maunawili Falls. In sharp contrast to Diamond Head, this trail is easy and accessible. It’s especially notable if you want to go waterfall viewing. Maunawili Falls is perfect for older travelers, or those with children in tow.
Don’t wear your nicest outfit, though! The Oahu rain forest hike will definitely leave you with a little mud on your shoes. Don’t wander off the main trail, and you’ll enjoy the two and a half mile trail in a small amount of time. The falls is the perfect hiking adventure for a short afternoon on the island.
Another great waterfall hike on Oahu is Manoa Falls. This popular trail is a short ways from the main road, with a low difficulty level. The trail is well marked. This will keep you from getting lost if you don’t quite trust your sense of judgment.
The trail leads you right up to a 100-foot rock wall doused in a gorgeous waterfall, Manoa Falls. This is sometimes called Oahu’s most accessible waterfall hike, and for a good reason. Bear in mind that with accessibility, you’ll also find plenty of tourists.
If you’re looking for trail where you can feel comfortable and be around fellow hikers as a solo traveler, it can be a great spot. If you’re looking for solitude and seclusion, though, you may want to try another trail. You’ll discover free parking.
Manoa is a half-mile walk to the trailhead, and then a 1.5-mile hike in total to see the Falls. All in all, it’s a perfect introductory hike for anyone visiting Oahu for the first time. Manoa is for those who’re not what you’d call an experienced traveler.
For a hiking experience rich in history, give the Aiea Loop Trail a try. While this trail is easy, it is a bit longer at about five miles in total. For those who want to dedicate the day to a relaxed hike filled with interesting spots, this is the way to go.
The trail runs the west side of Halawa Valley. Great views of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and Diamond Head are there to bear witness to. You’ll see World War II remnants, including a B-24 bomber from 1944. The trail is as popular with locals as it is with visitors.
A Likeke Falls hike is a bit in the middle as far as both effort needed and length, at about 3.5 miles round trip. This trail will take you straight to a 15-foot waterfall that’s somewhat of a local treasure. You’ll enjoy the scarcity of tourists in the area for a change.
The trail can be a bit hidden at times, so you may want to take a local guide with you. The journey will take you on a memorable rain forest hike through Oahu, before you reach the falls.
Oahu rainforest and waterfall hikes can be an amazing opportunity to explore a one-of-a-kind ecosystem. Amid a canopy of beautiful foliage you’ll find breathtaking scenery. Remember though that safety precautions should always be at the forefront of your mind.
Always trust your best judgment, and never hike alone in an unfamiliar area. Stick with a traveling buddy and, if needed, hire a local guide to show you around the best Oahu hiking spots.