If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience while in Oahu, why not set your alarm early and hit the trails for a sunrise hike? Oahu is home to some of the best sunrise hikes around, with stunning views of the island’s mountains and coastlines Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there are plenty of sunrise hikes on Oahu to choose from.
BEST SUNRISE HIKES ON OAHU
In this blog post, I’ll share my favorite Oahu sunrise hikes. I’ve personally hiked everything on this list and will only recommend hikes in this article that have a good view of the sunrise. Therefore, most of the sunrise hikes on this list will be on the east coast of Oahu, which is where the sun rises.
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KAHEKILI RIDGE HIKE
The Kahekili Trail is a challenging but rewarding hike on Oahu’s east coast. This three-kilometer trail leads to the summit with 600 meters of elevation, making it a steep climb. As you traverse exposed ridges, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Kualoa, Chinaman’s Hat, and Kahana Bay. While this hike is a great choice for a sunrise adventure, it’s also perfect for taking in the vibrant blue and green hues of the midday sun.
Read the full blog post: Kahekili Ridge Hike
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LANIKAI PILLBOX HIKE
The Lanikai Pillbox Hike on the east coast of Oahu is a beautiful trail that finishes at old military pillboxes facing the ocean where the sun rises. The area is stunning with crystal clear waters, beautiful homes, and the famous Mokoluas. The hike is relatively easy, making it perfect for anyone looking for a quick morning adventure.
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CROUCHING LION HIKE
The Crouching Lion Hike is a short but steep incline hike that offers breathtaking views of Kahana Bay. Overlooking the quaint town of Kaaawaa with the menacing cliffs of Pu’u Manamana behind, this is a stunning coastal hike. The view from the top of this popular trail is seriously one of my favorite landscapes on the entire island and one of the best sunrise hikes on Oahu.
Read the full blog post: Crouching Lion Hike
THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off) and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!
PALI NOTCHES HIKE
The Pali Notches Hike on Oahu is known for being one of the most dangerous hikes on the island but also one of the most impressive. However, despite the big drop-offs, this stunning ridge is one of the best spots on the island for both sunset and sunrise, due to its positioning in the center of the island. If you are looking for an easy-to-get-to-lookout or a spot for photography with minimal effort, the Pali Notches is one of the best sunrise hikes on Oahu.
Read the full blog post: Pali Notches Hike
KULIOUOU RIDGE HIKE
The Kuliouou Ridge Trail has always been my favorite sunrise hike on Oahu. It’s just a short drive from town but the trail quickly leaves civilization behind as you climb 500m of incline to reach the sunrise viewpoint. After clambering up the stairs and weaving through the dense forest, you will be rewarded with views of Lanikai and the east coast while also enjoying a clear sight all the way back to Diamond Head Crater.
Read the full blog post: Kuliouou Ridge Trail
THREE PEAKS HIKE
The Olomana Trail, also known as the ‘Three Peaks Hike’, on the east side of Oahu Hawaii is one of my favorite challenging hikes on the island. It’s quite technical with lots of bouldering, rope sections, and tree roots to navigate so your mind and body get quite the workout. Once you reach the first peak, the views along the ridge line are incredible. I suggest heading up at sunrise or even before sunrise so you can watch the amazing colors in the sky over Lanikai Beach.
Read the full blog post: Three Peaks Hike
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. Below are my four Hawaii 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.
PALI PUKA HIKE
The Pali Puka Hike on Oahu is a thrilling and challenging hike that is perfect for adventure seekers. The trailhead can be found at the Pali Lookout and the hike follows a narrow ridge line with steep drop-offs on either side. The highlight of the hike is reaching the Puka, which is a hole in the rock face that provides stunning views of the Windward side of Oahu. It’s important to note that this sunrise hike on Oahu is not for the faint of heart and requires a certain level of physical fitness and comfort with heights.
Read the full blog post: Pali Puka Hike
KOKO HEAD HIKE
The Koko Head Hike railway stairs are a grueling test of will and lead you to the Koko Head Crater summit, which is a view worth the grind! The Koko Head Crater hike is one of the most popular hikes on Oahu and while it might seem that the Koko Head stairs are a relatively short hike but don’t be fooled. The unforgiving incline will have you gasping for breath by the time you reach the top an you will see that it is a popular physical challenge amongst locals and tourists. I love this as a sunrise hike on Oahu but it is also a great sunset spot.
Read the full blog post: Koko Head Stairs
HANAUMA BAY RIDGE HIKE
Hanauma Bay is a must-see spot for snorkeling enthusiasts visiting Oahu. With its calm, clear waters and abundant marine life, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular tourist destination. However, for a different perspective, trade in your snorkel for some hiking shoes and hit the Hanauma Bay Ridge trail. It’s a quick and easy sunrise hike on Oahu that rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the bay and Koko Head Crater in the distance.
Read the full blog post: Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN (BACK WAY)
The Moanalua Valley Trail to Haiku stairs hiking route is one of the most adventurous hikes on Oahu. The hike follows the Moanalua Valley Trail before connecting up the Moanalua Middle Ridge, which is the legal ‘backway’ to the Stairway to Heaven (Haiku Stairs) satellite summit. While you can’t legally step foot on the stairs or satellite summit area, you can make it all the way up to that area so this route is a great alternative to the controversial and heavily regulated Haiku Stairs (the front way). If you are very adventurous and hike up with a headlamp, you can make it up early enough for an epic sunrise hike on Oahu.
Read the full blog post: Moanalua Ridge Hike
MAKAPUU LIGHTHOUSE WALK
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is one of the most popular hikes on the island of Oahu for several reasons. This trail comes with a slice of history with the lighthouse, built-in 1909 standing at the eastern point of Oahu. The second reason this trail has risen in popularity is that it is one of the few paved and well-maintained hikes on the island, making it possible for families, beginners, and non-hikers. Finally, Makapu’u Point Lighthouse is set on a 500-foot sea cliff and offers incredible views of the eastern coast of Oahu. This is a super easy sunrise hike without too much effort but with great views.
Read the full blog post: Makapuu Lighthouse Walk
KOKO CRATER RIM HIKE
The Koko Crater Rim Trail offers an exciting option for those who want to skip the crowds at the Koko Head Crater Stairs. Starting from the base of the crater rim, the trail takes you up to the summit of Koko Head, where you can take in stunning views of Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay, and the east coast of the island. After a brief encounter with the stair-climbers, the trail winds down the coastal side of the crater rim before looping back to the entrance gate of the Koko Crater Botanical Gardens. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the area while enjoying a peaceful hike.
Read the full blog post: Koko Crater Rim Hike
DIAMOND HEAD CRATER HIKE
The Diamond Head Crater Hike is one of the most popular walking trails on the island and although it is paved the whole way it is still a steep challenge and a hike with amazing views of Waikiki and the southern coastline of Oahu, Hawaii. This 3km out-and-back trail is one of the most ‘must-do’ activities for visitors staying in Waikiki! The opening hours are 6 am, so if you are right there when it opens and rush up you will catch the sunrise depending on the time of the year and when the sun is rising.
Read the full blog post: Diamond Head Crater Hike
PRIDE ROCK HIKE
Pride Rock, located in Oahu, offers a fantastic view of the Kualoa Mountains and Kaneohe Region during sunrise. It is easily accessible, with only a 30-minute hike. For those seeking a more challenging adventure, continuing along the trail beyond Pride Rock will lead to the narrow ridge ascent to the summit of Pu’u Ohulehule. If you make it out to the east side early enough, this is one of the best sunrise hikes on Oahu.
Read the full blog post: Pride Rock Hike
PU’U PIEI HIKE
The Pu’u Piei Hiking Trail is one of the best hikes on the east side of Oahu. Overlooking Kahana Bay and directly adjacent to the popular Crouching Lion Hike, this trail is simply spectacular. Pu’u Piei is much harder than Crouching Lion and has a very steep climb with 500 meters of elevation. There are also numerous rocky outcrops where hikers use ropes and scramble to maneuver through the route.
It’s a hike for experienced adventurers who want a challenge and epic views over Kahana Bay and the surrounding ridges in the east.
Read the full blog post: Pu’u Piei Hike
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best sunrise hikes on Oahu and get some great weather conditions.
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!
- What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK
- A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII
- The best Waterfalls: AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
- Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU
- Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU
- The best Waterfall Hikes: TOP WATERFALL HIKES ON OAHU
- Best Tours: 20 BEST TOURS ON OAHU
- The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON OAHU
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