Oahu may be the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of space to explore. Thanks to the gorgeous year-round weather, you can spend practically all your time outside during your Oahu vacation! While you may think that time needs to be spent at one of the beaches or at certain attractions, you should know that you can also wander along some amazing hiking trails. There are multiple hiking trails in Oahu, and some of them will lead to stunning Hawaiian waterfalls. But since you won’t be able to get to them all during your vacation, let me share the best hikes in Oahu.
The Makapu’u Lighthouse Hike is perfect for beginners. This easy hike in Oahu is two and a half miles long. You can easily finish it in two hours or less. The paved trail takes you directly to the lighthouse, as well as the observation deck. I love hiking this trail in Oahu when the whales are migrating.
The Manoa Falls Trail is another easy hike in Oahu. The trail is a little more than a mile and a half and will take about an hour or so to complete. At the end of the trail, you will reach Manoa Falls. This Hawaiian waterfall may look familiar to you. If it does, it is because it was featured in Jurassic Park and Lost.
If your family wants to spend a little time inside a cave when you are on vacation in Oahu, you must do the Upper Makua Cave Hike. This easy hike in Oahu is a little over a half mile. You can easily complete this hike in an hour or less. You will know you have reached the end of the trail when you are at the mouth of the cave. This is when you will see spectacular views of the western shoreline of the island.
There are many ridges and hikes that involve heights in Oahu. But you won’t need to worry about either of those things when you decide to hike Kaena Point. This five-and-a-half-mile hike in Oahu will have you walking along the coastline. You will see all the usual marine life and birds on this hike. But you will also have the chance to discover a few of the wild pigs that live on the island of Oahu.
Pu’u o Hulu is also known as the Pink Pillbox Hike in Oahu. It is a moderately difficult trail that is about one and a half miles long. The trail will take you along the ridge until you reach the Pink Pillbox. There are other pillboxes along the way, but none of them offer amazing views like the pink one.
Your family cannot vacation in Oahu and not take the time to explore a volcanic crater. The Diamond Head Hike is moderately challenging at almost two miles in length. This hike in Oahu begins in the middle of a volcanic crater. There are multiple switchbacks and stairs that your family will need to conquer before you reach the rim. But the reward will be the sight of lush fields and sparkling water from the top.
Maunawili Falls is the perfect location for diving off the falls into the pool below. If this sounds like an adventure your family will love, then you must venture out on the Maunawili Falls Trail. This hiking trail in Oahu is approximately two and a half miles long and takes about four hours to complete. It may take your family longer though if you spend more time at the waterfall.
The Kaau Crater Hike is quite challenging. I only recommend tackling this hike if your entire family has plenty of hiking experience! This hike in Oahu doesn’t start easy, nor does it get easy as you continue along the trail. But a little rope climbing with your hike will have you experiencing rushing Hawaiian waterfalls and stunning views of a volcano crater and the rest of the island. This hike will take approximately five hours to complete, so it is best to schedule it for a day when you don’t have anything else going on.
For many years, locals and travelers alike hiked the Stairway to Heaven in Oahu. However, the 3,922 stairs that lead to the top of the trail have been closed for many years now. And it is illegal to climb those stairs to reach the top. Thankfully, you won’t need to forgo the views at the top because there is an alternate hike available to you.
The alternate hike is just over nine miles long and is considered moderately difficult. It is called the Moanalua Trail, and there are rope climbs along the way. However, once you reach the top, you get fabulous panoramic views, as well as views of the stairs.
These are some of the best hikes in Oahu, but there are many others I can recommend to you. If your family loves hiking, I can easily make sure your vacation in Oahu includes plenty of opportunities to hit the trails!
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