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10 BEST EASY HIKES ON OAHU WITH GREAT VIEWS

10 BEST EASY HIKES ON OAHU WITH GREAT VIEWS

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 the best easy hikes on Oahu! To qualify for this list, the hikes must be under 2 hours and have no dangerous drop-offs, rock climbing, rope sections, or crazy incline.

THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS

BEST EASY HIKES ON OAHU WITH GREAT VIEWS

These hikes are perfect for beginners, families, and older hikers. I took my parents on many of these trails and they loved them all. They didn’t love me so much when I sent them up Koko Head Stairway!

DIAMOND HEAD CRATER HIKING TRAIL

  • Distance: 3km
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation: 140m

Diamond Head Crater is an easy hike on Oahu and the most popular hikes on Oahu. 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 beautiful easy hikes near Honolulu. It’s a good activity to do early in your trip to Oahu so you can understand the layout of Waikiki.

Full blog post: Diamond Head Crater Hike

The entrance fee is just $5 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. It includes hiking Diamond Head and Manoa Falls in one day.

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

popular hikes on oahu

 

MAKAPU’U LIGHT HOUSE TRAIL

  • Distance: 2.5 miles or 4km for an out and back return route.
  • Duration: 1.5 hours with 10-15 minutes at the lighthouse to enjoy the view and hopefully spot some whales.
  • Incline: 505ft or 153 meters but is relatively consistent in the incline with no aggressively steep sections.

On Oahu’s, most eastern point sits the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. 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. It’s probably the easiest short hike on Oahu.

Because the trail is so clearly marked (unlike many of the hikes on Oahu) it is easy to navigate and paved the whole way. I’ve seen strollers and wheelchairs being pushed up to the viewpoint on this trail. However, don’t count it out. The view at the top is still unbelievably epic as you look out over the entire east coast of Oahu. It is family and dog-friendly and a great way to see some fantastic views of the east side.

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.

Read my full blog post: Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

LANIKAI PILLBOXES

  • Distance: 3km
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Elevation: 200m

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 best easy 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

MANOA FALLS

  • Distance: 2.7km
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation: 210m

Manoa Falls is one of my most suggested hikes to visitors looking for a short and easy hike on Oahu. 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.

Read my full blog post: Manoa Falls Trail

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. It includes hiking Diamond Head and Manoa Falls in one day.

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

Manoa Falls

HAWAII HIKING PACKING LIST

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

What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?

There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.

  • Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
  • Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
  • Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
  • Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.

EHUKAI PILLBOX HIKE (PEACE HIKE)

  • Distance: 4km for the out and back.
  • Duration: The hike up to the summit and back down should take just over one hour
  • Incline: 225 meters incline up to the pillboxes and back.

The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is one of the best short trails for a sunset view of the beaches on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The four-kilometer round-trip makes for an easy ascent to reach the pillbox for sunset, where you can watch sets of waves forming before barreling at Pipeline Beach, Sunset Beach, and Keiki’s. Also known as the ‘Peace Hike’ this short and sharp trail is one of the best easy hikes on the North Shore of Oahu.

Read my full blog post: EHUKAI PILLBOX HIKE

MAKIKI VALLEY LOOP TRAIL

  • Distance: 5.1km
  • Incline: 280m
  • Duration: 2 hours

The Makiki Valley Loop Trail is easily one of the most beautiful easy hikes near Waikiki on Oahu, Hawaii. Just a few kilometers out of the town center, this hidden green oasis of lush forest and peaceful trails is a natural getaway from the hustle and bustle. Imagine walls of green, ferns reaching over the trail, natural tree arches to walk through, and the constant sound of running water.

Read my full blog post: MAKIKI VALLEY LOOP TRAIL

HANAUMA BAY RIDGE HIKE

  • Distance: 3.5 miles or 5km
  • Duration: The hike will take you about 1-1.5 hours up and down
  • Incline: Total incline for the hike was 500ft or 150 meters when starting all the way from the Koko Head parking lot.

Hanauma Bay is undoubtedly the top snorkel location for tourists on the island. It boasts crystal clear water and a shallow reef, all within a protected bay, it is truly beautiful. The best way to see Hanauma Bay is actually not with a snorkel in your mouth, but to throw on your hiking shoes and get up on the ridge. The Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike is a short and easy trail giving you the best views of Hanauma Bay with Koko Head Crater as the backdrop.

Read my full blog post: HANAUMA BAY RIDGE HIKE

THE JUDD TRAIL

  • Distance: 2km
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Elevation: 50m

Jackass Ginger Pool & the Judd Memorial Trail have natural water slides, rope swings, a bamboo forest, and a woodland wonderland. It’s one of my favorite off-the-beaten-path easy hikes on Oahu.

Read my full blog post: THE JUDD TRAIL

Jackass Ginger pool oahu judd trail
Jackass Ginger pool judd trail oahu

THE PINK PILLBOX HIKE

  • Distance: 2.6km
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation: 210m

The Pu’u O Hulu or ‘Pink Pillbox’ Hike is a short ridge hike on the West Side of Oahu that overlooks the surrounding suburbs and beautiful stretches of beaches that Oahu is known for. The hike extends along the ridge between the Nanakuli and Maili suburbs and can be seen clearly from the Farrington Highway below.

At the top, you will find the famous Pink Pillbox which looks out over the beautiful coastline on the west side of Oahu. There are many hikes on Oahu that are as unique as this one and it’s great to get these kinds of views out on the west side.

Read my full blog post: THE PINK PILLBOX HIKE

I hope you enjoyed this guide to some of the best short and easy hikes on Oahu, Hawaii. Happy hiking!

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 with a private lagoon.
  • Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach.
  • Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
  • Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location.
  • Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like you are living in a theme park.

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!

Morocco Tourism

Monday 11th of February 2019

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