5 EASY HIKES ON OAHU WITH GREAT VIEWS

5 most popular hikes on oahu

Oahu has some awesome easy hikes that are great for families, beginners or people who want a half-day hiking trail adventure. I have put together this list of five easy hikes on Oahu but they also have epic views! These hikes are all under 2 hours and there are no big drop-offs, rock climbing, rope sections are any other factors that would make them difficult for kids or beginner hikers.

5 EASY HIKES ON OAHU WITH GREAT VIEWS

DIAMOND HEAD CRATER HIKING TRAIL

Diamond Head Crater is an easy hike on Oahu and probably the most popular thing to do for tourists on the island aside from Waikiki Beach. It takes about 30-minutes to reach the old war bunkers at the top from which you will have amazing views of Waikiki and the ocean. The entire hike is quite scenic but it isn’t until you reach the. top that you have stunning views in all directions. This is truly one of the most epic viewpoints anywhere and one of my favorite easy hiking trails in the world. Basically, it is a must-do activity on Oahu. The entrance fee is just $2 but if you prefer to join a guided tour to show you the way and share stories and history with you, I can recommend this top-rated tour

Book your tour: Guided Tour Diamond Head Crater Hike (Morning)

Full blog post: Diamond Head Crater Hike

popular hikes on oahu

 

MAKAPU’U LIGHT HOUSE HIKE:

On Oahu’s, most eastern point sits the Makapu’u Trail Lighthouse. The paved trail that takes you there is a nice and easy hike on Oahu because of how accessible it is and the amazing views it presents. Because the trail is so clearly marked (unlike many of the hikes on Oahu) it is completely foolproof and great for beginners. It is family and dog-friendly and a great way to see some fantastic views of the east side. The path is paved the entire way and although it has a consistent incline it is never incredibly steep.

This easy hike also as an off-trail option where you can clamber down the side of the cliff to hang out in the popular but less crowded Makapu’u tidepools below.
The Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is a great addition to any east side day adventure as there are many beaches, tidepools, and attractions down this epic coastal highway.

Makapuu Lighthouse

TOM TOM TRAIL

Starting off across from the Makapu’u lookout car park, this relatively simple hike has some of the most stunning views on Oahu. I only did this hike in my last couple of weeks on the Island but then did it twice that week. It is an amazing spot to watch the sunrise and the views are out of this world. I will repeat that because it is a tip you will probably email me after thanking me for. Do this hike for sunrise! Getting to the top only takes about 30-40 minutes so you can get up there half an hour before sunrise, and it is truly one of the best sunrise spots on Oahu. Because the trail is always back from the edge and it is quite short, it made it into this list of the best easy hikes on Oahu.

There is also a puka (hole in the rock) about 45 minutes of the way in. You can turn back at any point or continue on the trail that does go quite a ways. We always turned back at the puka after seeing enough but the trail looks quite good if you chose to continue on. This is one of the most underrated hikes on Oahu.

View the full blog post: TOM TOM TRAIL IS MOST UNDERRATED HIKE ON OAHU

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LANIKAI PILLBOXES

Lanikai is by far one of the prettiest areas on Oahu, laden with spectacular homes, crystal clear water and the famous Mokuluas also known as “mokes” (Mountains) out in the ocean. Only a few blocks back from Lanikai Beach is the beginning of the Lanikai Pillbox Trail (Kaiwa Ridge), known for being one of the easier hikes on Oahu.

This is one of our favorite sunrise hikes. Early mornings are definitely less crowded and also have much cooler temperatures. There is no better way to start your day than with a short sunrise hike overlooking the ocean and amazing scenery. The hike itself is quite steep but very short, which is why it is one of my favorite easy hikes on Oahu. There is no defined trail but because it is so popular, there is an unofficial trail that is very easy to follow.

View the full blog post: LANIKAI PILLBOX HIKE: THE BEST SUNRISE ON OAHU

5 most popular hikes on oahu

 

MANOA FALLS

Manoa Falls is one of my most suggested hikes to visitors looking for a short adventure. The trail is defined for the entire route, which gives you plenty of freedom to take in the wondrous scenery.

If you feel yourself looking around wondering why everything looks so familiar, don’t worry you aren’t going crazy. Some of the scenes from the original “Jurassic Park” were filmed along the hike. More recently the TV series “Lost” filmed many of its scenes in the lush rainforest environment.

The hike leads up to a breathtaking waterfall cascading 150 feet down the mountainside. The water might not be as warm as the Pacific Ocean but it sure is refreshing to stand under the natural shower.

The beauty the Manoa Falls Trail is that it’s only a $10 cab ride from Waikiki, yet you will feel miles away from the hotels, restaurants, and beaches. The trail winds next to a small stream, passing many different species of plants and trees that will definitely have you stopping for a closer look.

Book your tour: Manoa Falls Guided Tour (with hotel pick/up)

During the winter months, the falls are a lot more ferocious than the summer as pictured below. The hike is still a fun one in the summer but don’t expect Niagara Falls in June.

Read my full blog post: Manoa Falls Trail

Manoa Falls

MY FOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES ON OAHU

If you aren’t sure about the Stairway to Heaven, there are lots of other adventurous things to do that are equally as epic. Here are four of my favorites.

  • Oahu scenic helicopter flight: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off). You will be absolutely blown away when you see Oahu from the sky! Click to book your tour: Doors-Off Helicopter Flight Tour
  • North Shore Shark Cage Adventure: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks! Click to book your tour: North Shore Shark Cage Experience
  • Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins. A once in a lifetime experience. Click to book your tour: Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour
  • Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: One of my favorite memories of Hawaii is floating in the water with a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. On this tour that is exactly what you will do! Click to book your tour: Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran

HAWAII HIKING PACKING LIST

Many people come unprepared for hiking on Oahu and that’s why there are so many rescues. Make sure you atleast have the basics and you will be prepared for bad weather or any mishaps on the trail. A headlamp, rainjacket and good hiking boots or shoes are the three main pieces of gear you need.

Hiking shoes – It’s best to use hiking boots with good grip and that can handle mud, rain, and tough terrain. Hiking shoes I use: Salomon Mid GTX

Rain Jacket – Never hike in Hawaii without a rain jacket, no matter how sunny it is in Honolulu. Rain Jacket I use: Arcteryx Lightweight Rain Jacket

Spare T-shirt – To change into at the top of a summit to be dry and warm as you will sweat through your original shirt while hiking: Dry fit hiking shirt I use: IceBreaker Merino Lite

Headlamp – So you can keep your hands free instead of holding a torch. Head Torch I use: Petzl Head Lamp 450 Lumens

My Camera Backpack: You simply won’t find a better camera backpack for hiking that my Atlas Athlete Backpack, which I’ve been using on all of my hikes all over the world for years now: Atlas Athlete Camera Backpack

WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island.

Why I recommend this hotel: It has its own private lagoon. While lots of people love the beach it is perfect for families. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach so don’t worry the beach is right there also.

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Why I recommend this hotel: The Sheraton is always exceptional no matter the location but imagine you are leaning over the edge of an infinity pool, the ocean is below you and you turn to your left and watch Diamond Head crater in the distance. That’s where you will be at the end of each day, having a Mai Tai cocktail in your infinity pool. Later on, in the evening Rumfire is a great bar venue, which is actually part of the Sheraton. It is open to the public and is one of the best high-end venues on Oahu. It has a small dance floor but is mostly standing and seating areas for drinks, chats and good times.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Why do I recommend this hostel/hotel: This is the perfect hotel if you want location but are willing to sacrifice a pool and some luxury items to save up to $200 per night. All of the hotels in this area are minimum $300 per night and often much more. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. If you are like me, I never swim in the hotel pool anyway. Didn’t you come halfway across the world to swim in the beach!

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Why I recommend this hostel: Unfortunately Waikiki and Honolulu, in general, are not cheap.  You can grab a dorm room for under $35 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach. This location really is great. You are near a lot of attractions and can take public transport to a lot of great east coast beaches and hikes. It is the number one hostel in Waikiki and I’m sure you will meet other adventurers to go on hikes with!

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

Why I recommend this hotel: Disney Aulani Resort combines luxury accommodation with family fun. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind. The kids club and massage center are just among a few of the many activities included in your stay. Attend ukelele lessons, free fire-pit story-telling at night and more and more! Your kids will never be bored and the quality of entertainment and facilities is just beyond amazing.

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

Blog Comments

  1. Hye,
    I wonder after reading your blog regarding “Easy Hikes on Oahu” its very useful tips for spending your time in Oahu. It’s a really good idea for Fun. Please keep it up, and keep sharing more ideas for Us, Thanks.
    I Also Recommend you for visiting Morocco, its also joyful place for Spending Holiday.

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