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6 Best Hikes in Oahu to Experience the Best of Hawaii




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One of the best ways to explore Oahu’s nature is by foot. Even though the beaches are usually what first comes to mind, once you’re here you just can’t help but fall in love with its trails. Sunrise on the beaches are definitely amazing. But what about catching a sunrise from the top of a volcano? If you’re looking for something more leisurely, what about a waterfall hike? All you need is some good shoes and an adventurer’s spirit. Here are some of the best hikes in Oahu!

1. Manoa Falls

things to do in honolulu - Manoa Falls
Photo credit: trip.com

Visiting Manoa Falls is one of the best things to do in Honolulu. On a scale of walk-hike, the Manoa Falls Trails is definitely more of a walk. So if you’re just looking to take it easy or exploring with kids, then this is definitely one of the best hikes in Oahu for you. The hike to the waterfall takes about 30 minutes one way, and you’ll be treated to views through lush beautiful greenery.

2. Diamond Head

best hikes in oahu - diamond head hike
Photo credit: theworldtravelguy.com

Diamond Head is one of the most iconic sights in Oahu. If you’re into hiking, then the Diamond Head hike should be one the top things to do. The hike is just under a mile and it is paved the whole way, however it is still pretty steep at parts. If you make it to the top, the payoff is sweeping views of Waikiki, Honolulu, and the surrounding area. You can also see the bunkers along the crater rim that were built in 1915, as well as southeastern Oahu coastline towards Koko Head and Moloka’i, Lana’i, and Maui islands.

3. Koko Crater Railway Trail

best hikes in oahu - Koko Crater Railway Trail
Photo credit: quirkytravelguy.com
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If you wanna take things up a notch, Koko Crater Trail will require endurance and mental strength. With over 1,000 steps at a steep incline, this hike can be challenging even for those who are fit. You will find yourself doubting if you can make it to the top. However, the reward at the top is well worth all the effort. Apart from the views from the Kokohead Lookout, you’ll also feel incredibly accomplished. You’ll ache the next day, but you won’t regret this incredible hike.

4. Lanikai Pillbox Hike

best hikes in oahu - Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Photo credit: hawaiimagazine.com

With breathtaking views of beaches and bays, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike is one of the most popular, rewarding, and easy hikes in Oahu. The short and steep hike finishes on top of the ridge at old military pillboxes, which face out towards the ocean where the sun rises. This is by far one of the most beautiful sunrise spots in Oahu if you’re willing to get out of bed for an early hike. Regardless, the view of Mokulua Islands, Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach is still incredible any time of day.

5. Kaau Crater

Kaau Crater
Photo credit: tripto.com

This long but rewarding hike makes the list for the best hikes in Oahu ​​with three large waterfalls (one of which you will climb up) and a hidden crater. If you want to experience all the best features of Hawaii in one hike, make this the one. You can plan your hike around your ability or the time you have. If you’re short on time, just hike to the first waterfall then turn around from there. If you are more experienced or adventurous, keep going to the second and climb up the third! This will take you to the crater. Do keep in mind that this trail is normally moist, muddy and pretty slippery! 

6. Olomana Trail

best hikes in oahu - Olomana Trail
Photo credit: journeyera.com
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For many local hardcore hikers, Olomana Trail or Three Peaks hike is one of the top favourites on the island. As its name suggests, you can summit three peaks in one hike. It is no easy feat, since getting to the last peak is pretty technical and involves dropping down from the second peak with the help of ropes. Many people make it to just the first and second peak, since the hike is pretty straightforward and the views along the ridge-line are incredible. After the first peak the second peak is just 10 to 20 minutes away, but it does involve a slight descent and ascent. From here, experienced hikers can continue on to conquer the third peak, which will reward you with views all the way to Manana Island.

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