Are you looking for the best hikes in Oahu?

You’re in the right spot!

My family loves to hike!  We were determined to find the best hikes in Oahu and made it our mission!  We were not disappointed and wished we had more time to explore all the amazing hikes on the island!

Let’s explore some of the best hikes in Oahu!

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Diamond Head Crater Hike

View from Diamond Head Crater Hike in Oahu Hawaii

Diamond Head Crater Hike

Miles: 1.6

Location: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Duration: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Diamond Head State Monument may be one of the most famous landmarks in Hawaii.  This extinct volcano attracts millions of people looking for a great hike with amazing views.

The Trail

Diamond Head is a steep hike that involves lots of stairs.  But do not worry.  It is still a great hike for children and adults.  My husband and I are trail runners in the mountains of Utah and we actually ran up this trail.  I didn’t think it was difficult but I was in pretty good shape.

Parking

Parking is available at the start of the trail.  There is an attendant to collect the entrance fee which is $5 per car.  We arrived at 6:00 am and the lot was full!  We ended up having to park about a mile away and walk to the hiking trail. If you are a pedestrian there is a $1 entrance fee.

Side Notes  

This hike has some amazing views, maybe the best in all of Hawaii.  Be on the lookout for a cute light house and an excellent view of Honolulu.  This hike is also really close to Waikiki, so if you are staying in that area be sure to check this hike out!

The trail can be very crowded. While we were able to run up the trail, we had to zig and zag around hikers. And when we say there is a lot of stairs, we are not joking! There are also tunnels and dark places that you need to go through near the top to get to the spectacular views.

Moana Falls Hike

Moana Falls Oahu Hawaii

Moana Falls 

Miles: 1.6

Location: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Duration: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: Easy – Intermediate

Moana Falls is one of the most beautiful hikes in Oahu!

Moana Falls has been used in several movies and television shows such as Jurassic Park, Catching Fire, Lost, and Hawaii 5-0.  The beauty is unreal, and it is no surprise these movies chose to use this trail to film at.

My husband and I are trail runners and wanted to make it our mission to find the best hikes in Oahu.  Moana Falls is relatively close to Waikiki Beach, which was where we were staying. We wanted a short morning run, and this seemed like the perfect place. It did not disappoint!  

The Trail

This trail was so amazing and beautiful it stopped me in my tracks so many times because it is gorgeous. (Maybe not the best for trail running if you haven’t seen the beautiful sites before!)

The trail was also muddy as it rains frequently in this part of the rain-forest.   This did not bother me one bit.  I did however have to slow down and be a little careful on parts. It was by far the most beautiful of the hikes we did in Oahu!  

Parking

Parking is located at the bottom of Moana Road.  The cost is $5. There is an attendant there during certain hours.  However, we are early risers and went at 6:30 am, and there was no one on duty and we could find no way to pay. So if you want to avoid the cost go early!  

Side Notes and Warnings

The Moana Falls Trail is part of Honolulu Mauka Trail System consisting of 18 trails in the area.  Moana Falls is located in the Moana Valley. It leads up to a 150 foot waterfall. The trail to get to the waterfall takes you in the mountains of Koolau in a tropical rain forest. 

The pool beneath the waterfall is not safe to swim in.  There is a threat of getting infected with leptospirosis, which causes flu like symptoms for two weeks. The area near the falls is very muddy and slippery.  I had a slip at one point while running. Use caution! We did not venture to the top of the falls because we did not feel it was safe. Some hikers have fallen from the top. If you avoid the pool and venturing to the top, you will be fine.  

Makapuu Lighthouse Hike

Makapuu Hike Oahu Hawaii

Photo Courtesy of Kaleismith on wikipedia

Miles: 2.0 round trip

Location: Honolulu Oahu Hawaii – Near Waikiki

Duration: 30 – 45 minutes

Difficulty: Moderate

The Trail 

This trail is moderate but beautiful and worth the climb (about 500 ft)  The views from the top of the hike are phenomenal.   You will have an incredible view of the whole island.  If you look out to sea you will see hump back whales from December to May.  This hike is worth checking out.

Parking

The gate opens at 7:00 am for the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail parking lot. If you would like to go earlier, you can park on the side of the road.  Make sure you check the road signs and obey the law.  There is also a parking lot at Makapuu Point (you will have to hike back to the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail parking lot to start the hike).

Side Notes and Warnings

This hike is a great family hike.  The views are incredible.  It is better to do this hike early in the morning as the day goes on the hotter it becomes.

There is an option to view the Makapuu tide pool and blowhole.  It is pretty dangerous and not recommended for kids.  If you are adventurous you can go down a little bit farther and see the tide pools.  If the waves are crashing it is not recommend going down that path.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Pillbox Hike Oahu Hawaii

Image Courtesy of Go Hawaii

 

Miles: 1 mile

Location: Westside Oahu (40 minutes from Waikiki)

Duration: 1 hour – 1.5 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

The Trail

The trail is moderate because the first part is very steep.   Although, you are steadily climbing upward, the hike is not as intense as the first part.  Many kids and families easily complete this trail.  It takes about 20-30 minutes to reach the first pillbox.  If you continue for about 10 more minutes you will reach the second pillbox.

The pillbox hike has some of the best views of the west side of Oahu.  As you climb the views get better and better.  This is a great hike for all ages!

Parking

There are a few parking spots located on the right side of the street that leads to the trail.  More parking is located down the road on the left side.

Side Notes

This trail gets crowded quickly, so the earlier you go the better. Also, make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Waimea Falls Park

Waimea Valley Oahu HAwaii

Waimea Falls

Miles: 1.5 round trip

Location: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii – North Shore

Duration 1-2 Hours

Difficulty:  Easy

Cost: $14-$18

Waimea Falls has more than just hiking and that is what you are paying for.  There is a beautiful botanical garden leading up to the falls. Swimming  is also available once you get to the falls.  A lifeguard is on duty and life vest must be worn.

The Trail

Waimea Falls is a paved trail up to a waterfall.  I really struggled calling this a hike because 3/4 of a mile is not a hike in my mind.  The site also charges $18 per adult, which I was skeptical about.  On the bright side, if you have a stroller or wheelchair this is the perfect place to visit.

There are summer concerts and events available to attend.  Some people even film in this location for movies.

Parking

Parking is free at Waimea Falls.  If you travel farther down paid parking is available for the beach across the road.

Side Notes

If you have a Go Ohau Card, this site is included.  If swimming at the waterfall is unavailable the day you go, you will be able to come back at any time during over the next 10 days to experience swimming at the falls.

Best Hikes in Oahu and More!

Hopefully, you now can explore some of the best hikes in Oahu and see which one is your favorite!  My favorite was Moana Falls.  If you have a favorite hike in Oahu, please let us know by leaving a comment below!

Have fun in paradise and if you are looking for more amazing things to explore in Oahu be sure to check out my One Week in Oahu ItineraryHanauma Bay and the best places to snorkel on Oahu posts!

Also, you may be interested in my One Day in Maui Itinerary, or my crazy experience driving in Maui on the road of death, if you decide to island hop to Maui.

If you have any questions be sure to join my Facebook Travel Community   This great community can help answer any questions you may have about your upcoming trips. Plus, I try to add any great deals or promotions that companies send me!

Oahu Waterfall Tour

If you want a hiking tour check out the link below by clicking the image!  This tour is approximately 4 hours.  The tour will pick you up from Waikiki.

Hawaii Hikes Oahu