Hikes for All! Oahu Hikes With The Very Best Views
If you have a limited amount of time on Oahu, you might be interested in hikes that will give you great views without taking up all your time (or all of your energy, for that matter). The following hikes are full of waterfalls, swimming holes, breathtaking vistas, and perhaps best of all—they each take less than two hours (sometimes less than one hour)! Check out these hikes for a time-efficient workout, and a great way to enjoy the beauty of the island:
Named by British sailors for the alleged diamonds in the crest of this volcanic crater, Diamond Head is a gem of a hike, attracting many tourists year after year, and many locals week after week. There is a reason everyone hikes Diamond Head—it’s a must see. After climbing up a paved path, a dirt path, some steep stairs, and a tunnel, you are rewarded with a spectacular view of Waikiki from way up high. Locals go early to avoid the hot sun (the trail is mostly exposed to the sun), and to hit up the Kapiolani City College Farmer’s Market afterward for fresh, local produce. This 1.5 mile round-trip hike is a great way to start the day, or your vacation!
As of May 12th, 2022 all out-of-state visitors must have an advanced reservation to enter Diamond Head State Monument. The reservation system will activate on April 28th, 2022 allowing for reservations to be made 14 days in advance. Click here to reserve.
If you’re in the mood for a more challenging crater hike, head to Koko Crater for a hike that will leave you feeling like a body-builder as you take in the panoramic 360-degree view from the summit. This trail isn’t so much long as it is steep- 1050 stairs steep, to be exact. It’s a simple trail straight up and down made of railroad tie steps, also almost completely exposed to the sun (this is why sunrise is the best time to go). There is a bridge about two-thirds of the way up which has exposed gaps. If this feels too risky, you can always detour to the right in order to keep your feet on solid ground the whole time. Most hikers advise avoiding the hike in broad sunlight, and taking your time. Once you reach the summit, you will never want to leave the breathtaking views of Hanauma Bay and Hawaii Kai. It’s an intense workout with a Heavenly reward at the end!
If you prefer to stay on ground level, Manoa Falls is a quick 0.8 mile hike with intermittent shade and lush greenery that will make you feel like you’re in Jurassic Park (in fact, scenes from “Jurassic World,” “Lost,” and “The Hunger Games” were filmed here). Go after a good rain to see the falls at their best, but be prepared for some mud! If you want to keep trekking after you reach the falls, look for the trail head to the left called Aihualama. This will lead to a steeper and longer trail that leads you to sweeping, lush valley views and a far-away cross-valley view of falls (the day I went it was absolutely pouring and I trudged through rivers of mud—fun but dangerous so bring a buddy)!
If you’re looking for a stroll in paradise, head to Waimea Valley to check out the walk to the falls. While this can be called a hike, it is really more of a leisurely stroll along a paved path through botanical gardens to the waterfall and natural pool. The pool is equipped with lifeguards and complimentary life vests that all swimmers must wear. While there is an admission fee, this 1.5 mile round-trip walk is a relaxing and beautiful way to enjoy the Northern nature on Oahu.
Lanikai Pill Boxes:
This treasure is tucked into the lovely Lanikai area. It’s worth the trip to Kailua to hike the pill boxes (former military posts found on many of Oahu’s hikes). This hike has a gradual incline, treating you to refreshing views of the windward coast and the Mokes (Mokulua islands) just offshore. The trip can last as long as you want it to, depending on whether you stop at the first or second pill box, or push on and enjoy the view for a while from the top. Most hikers find it takes an hour or less, leaving the rest of the day open for brunch at Boots & Kimo’s or the original Cinnamon’s and a day on the beach in Kailua.
For more information on Oahu’s trails, visit the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife website.
For any questions about Waikiki vacation rentals, please contact Marina Hawaii Vacations and an agent would be happy to assist you. We can be reached at 808-946-0716 or firstname.lastname@example.org