7 Best Hikes on Oahu for Amazing Ocean Views
Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure.
When it comes to outdoor adventure, Oahu packs a punch. Within its 597 square miles, visitors to the island can find stunning beaches to unwind on, delicious local foods to enjoy, and miles upon miles of hiking trails to explore. We've rounded up some of the best hikes on Oahu so you can soak in the scenery while trekking around the island.
According to Best of Oahu, there are close to 50 different hiking trails to choose from around the island. From beginner to expert, the island’s hiking trails have it all. The one thing they all have in common is the fact that they each end with a spectacular view of Oahu and the Pacific Ocean below. Here are seven distinct Oahu hiking trails every traveler should check out on their next jaunt to this stunning island.
Related: More nature travel ideas
1. Diamond Head Hike
Located on the eastern side of Waikiki’s coastline sits the Diamond Head State Monument, one of the island’s most recognizable landmarks. The monument, which takes up a whopping 475 acres of land, has plenty for visitors to see and do, including hike to the summit. The summit trail, first built in 1908, is just .8 miles long. Though short, it’s still difficult — on that quick walk you’ll gain 560 feet of elevation — but the view is well worth the huffing and puffing. The monument is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions — check the website for updates.
2. Waimea Falls Park
The hike to Waimea Falls is more of a leisurely stroll than a workout, but it’s stunning just the same. Upon entering the park, guests can take a paved road on a quick one-mile walk through a gorgeous botanical garden. At the end, visitors are rewarded with a glimmering lake and waterfall. Those adventurous enough can even hop in for a quick swim before hiking back out again.
3. Koko Crater Trail
Located just a short drive from Waikiki, adventure lovers will find the popular Koko Crater Trail. The path up is a 1.8-mile track that you’ll want to take slowly. That’s because the way up is filled with wildflowers on all sides. At the top, guests can also visit the Koko Crater Botanical Garden for even more greenery and panoramic views. The trail will temporarily close this summer for refurbishment before reopening to visitors.
4. Lanikai Pillbox Hike
For the best views of the surrounding ocean head up the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. The trail is a quick out and back, clocking in at just under two miles. However, like other hikes on the list, the elevation gains can be intense. The hike should take about 30 minutes to get to the top and once there hikers will want to stay a while to take it all in. While the hike can be family-friendly, remember to wear proper shoes as it can be slippery in some locations.
5. Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail
The Makapu’u Point trail once again offers visitors stellar views of the island’s coastline. And at just 2.5 miles roundtrip, it’s an easy trail for almost anyone to complete. On the trail, visitors will also catch a glimpse and snap a photo of the red-roofed Makapu'u Lighthouse. The path is paved the entire route and there is little to no shade available along the way. Make sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and pack plenty of water, even for the quick journey.
6. Waimano Falls Trail
Though the Waimano Falls Trail is beautiful and accessible year-round, it may be best to visit after it rains. That is when the pools are full and the waterfall is flowing. Of course, you can jump in, but do so at your own risk. The hike, located near Pearl City, is 2.8 miles out and back. AllTrails rates it as “hard," so make sure to take your time, wear the right shoes, and pack plenty of water for this one, too.
7. Pu'u Piei Trail
Looking for an expert-level trail to try? Check out the Pu'u Piei Trail, but only if you’re truly ready. The trail is a mere 2.5 miles, but it could take over two hours to complete due to its intense incline and overgrown brush. If you go, stay on the ridge and on the trail. Though the summit is mostly covered in the treeline, you’ll still be able to sneak a peek at the lovely view below.