The island of Oahu, Hawaii is a hikers paradise! No matter if you are a beginner hiker or advanced hiker, there are Oahu hikes waiting for you. Go hiking Oahu through the lush Hawaii jungle or on one of the Oahu mountain tops. There are endless options and adventures all over the island of Oahu and we have the list of the best hikes on Oahu.
To help find the perfect hike for you, I’ve organized the list by moderate Oahu hikes and difficult Oahu hikes. If you are looking for easy hikes on Oahu we wrote a complete blog on our favorite easy Oahu hikes.
Take a look through the list and pick a few to add to your Hawaii bucket list or Oahu Hawaii itinerary. Hiking Oahu is different than most other places. Prepare to hike in Hawaii before you go so you can have a fun and safe trip. The best hikes in Oahu are some of the best in Hawaii, if not the world! Now, let’s get hiking Oahu!
Easy Oahu Hikes
There are a ton of easy Oahu hikes that offer incredible views without requiring a lot of work to get there. Whether you are staying on the North Shore or in Honolulu, there will be plenty of easy hike options near by.
We wrote a full guide on the 5 best easy Oahu hikes including Ka’ena Point Trail, Makua Cave, Diamond Head, Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden Trail and Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail. You will love hiking Oahu with these easy hiking trails.
Medium Hikes on Oahu Hawaii
Also known as Ma’ili Pillbox, this trail is a quick 1.6 miles and rated moderate difficulty. There are a few steep climbs but ropes are on the trail to assist you if you need them. The trail leads you to the top of Puu O Hulu ridge where old military bunkers are still sitting today. One of the pillboxes is painted bright pink, which is how this trail gets its nickname.
At the top you are rewarded with a stunning 360 degree view. On a clear day you can see all the way to Kaena Point in the west, the bright blue Pacific Ocean in the east, Mount Kaala in the north and Kapolei/Campbell Industrial Park in the south.
This hike is located on the west side of the island and it’s one of the best hike on Oahu to do for sunset. It’s a really quick hike up and down which is my favorite type of hike for sunrise or sunset.
Aiea loop trail is a 4.9 mile loop trail and a quick drive from Honolulu. It’s a relatively easy hike, and even though you gain 1300 ft in elevation, the incline grade is never very steep making this one of the best Oahu hikes.
This hike leads you through every type of forest you can imagine and it seems to change every 5-10 minutes. The vegetation is lush green and absolutely beautiful! You’ll also get a few clear views of the Halawa Valley and southern coastline of Oahu as you follow the trail.
Earning a spot on the list of best hikes on Oahu Hawaii, the Lanikai Pillboxes provide one of the best views on the entire island and the hike is rather short. The trail is only 1 mile in length so it can be done very quickly and is a stunning place to catch the sunrise.
However it does get very steep in some parts and a few sections require some bouldering and rock climbing to get through, hence why this hiking Oahu trail is rated moderate.
To get to the trailhead park in the Lanikai neighborhood and walk towards the golf course. There is a small handmade sign at the trailhead, so keep your eyes peeled.
At the top there are 2 pillboxes to explore. You will come across the first after about .4 miles and you’ll be able to see the second one not far in the distance. It’s definitely worth checking out both pillboxes since they are so close together.
You’ll be able to see Mokulua Islands, Manana Island and Kaohikaipu Island off the Oahu coast and you’ll be surrounded by extremely lush green mountain ranges to admire. Lanikai pillboxes should be on your list of Oahu hikes to do on your Hawaii trip!
Difficult Hikes on Oahu Hawaii
Waimano Falls Trail
Waimano Falls trail is a 2.9 mile out and back trail that leads you to a wonderful cascade of waterfalls and swimming holes. But what makes this one of the best hikes on Oahu is the rope swing.
Continue down to the last swimming hole and you will see a rope swing hanging over the water. This is the perfect way to cool off after a hot hike to the waterfall. Enjoy swinging out over the water and dropping in for a cool swim.
Because this hike is so much fun, it’s also rather popular. We recommend getting an early start to beat the crowds! That way you will have plenty of time to play on the rope swing before it gets too crowded.
Although this hike isn’t very long, it takes quite a while due to the trail being very steep and often very slippery. We’d recommend at least 3 hours to complete the hike. It takes quite a while to maneuver the trail safely as you step over tree roots and duck under branches while slipping and sliding everywhere.
Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail
Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail is a 4.7 mile out and back trail located close to Honolulu, Hawaii, which makes it one of the best Oahu hikes to do if you are staying in the city.
The trailhead is in a gated community. Before you enter you will be stopped by the guard in the guard house to receive a parking pass. There are only a few parking passes available each day so get there early. If you don’t get a pass, you can park before the gate and hike in, but this will add .75 miles to your hike in each direction. Another option is to wait close to the guard house and hope someone leaves and drops off a parking pass for you to use.
This hike begins on a paved road, but quickly turns into a wide dirt track. Shortly after starting the hike you will see amazing views of the city from above, giving you a glance at the entire city and just how big it is.
About half way in, you’ll come to some stairs. Here the trail gets very narrow and very steep with drop offs on both sides for a majority of the remainder of the hike. The top rewards you with an incredible view of the surrounding ridges which are covered in a lush green forest. In the distance you can see Honolulu and the coast!
This trail is often very slippery. Micro spikes and poles would be helpful for getting to the top of one of the best hikes on Oahu.
Moanalua Valley Trail to Haiku Stairs
This is a challenging 10.3 mile hike to the infamous “Stairway to Heaven” and is also the back legal way to get to the Haiku Stairs. Hiking or walking on the actual stairs is illegal and people have been fined $1000 for trespassing. However, this back route is legal and gets you the same view in the end.
The trail begins easy with a flat 2 mile trek on Moanalua Valley Trail. Keep your eyes peeled for a small sign and trail on the left which is the trail up Moanalua Middle Ridge.
Now, the climb begins and it comes at you fast and furious. This hike gains nearly 5,000 feet.
This hike requires ropes in multiple places to assist getting up and down. There are times you’ll be hiking on a very narrow ridge with 100 foot drop offs on either side.
Finally, be prepared for mud. This area of Oahu gets quite a bit of rain so chances are the trail will be slippery and muddy when you hike it. Plus there are areas where you’ll be hiking through crevices with mud up to your waste. There’s really no way to avoid the mud so just embrace it.
At the top you can nearly see the entire island. It is a very rewarding view after a difficult climb, and one thing is for sure. This is one of the best Oahu hikes.
Enjoy Hiking Oahu
That concludes the list of the best hikes on Oahu Hawaii. Whether you were looking for an easy hike on Oahu Hawaii, moderate hike on Oahu Hawaii or difficult hike on Oahu Hawaii, we hope you found a few to add to your Oahu Hawaii travel itinerary. Oahu Hawaii is more than just beautiful beaches so don’t forget those hiking shoes and enjoy the beautiful adventures this island has to offer as well.
If you are continuing your Hawaiian adventures to other islands, don’t miss these amazing spots in Maui and Kauai!
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