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 HIKING TRAILS ON OAHU WITH GREAT VIEWS
1. DIAMOND HEAD 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
2. 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’ui 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.
3. 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
4. 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. MANOA FALLS
After Diamond Head Hike, Manoa Falls is the second most popular hike on Oahu. This is purely because it is an easy waterfall hike near Honolulu with a jungle experience and a waterfall. You get it all without having to go on a huge adventure. Only minutes from the busy streets of Waikiki, this jungle trail leads you to a large waterfall. Jurassic Park and Lost filmed scenes in this lush green area. The best way to experience Manoa Falls is with an experienced tour guide who can explain all of the local flora and fauna, most of which is unique to Oahu. You can book yourself onto a guided tour that includes pick/up and drop-off from your Waikiki hotel. This is an easy Honolulu hike that you should definitely add to your list of things to do while visiting Oahu.
Book your tour: Manoa Falls Guided Tour (with hotel pick/up)
Full blog post: Manoa Falls Jungle Trail
What to pack for a trip to Hawaii
What to pack for Hawaii?: After multiple trips to Hawaii, there are some items you NEED to pack. I wrote a blog post with all of my suggestions about things you might not think about packing: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY
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.
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
The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES 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