Tropical rainforest trails and scenic cliffside vistas take travelers beyond the chaos of downtown Honolulu to explore Oahu’s most beautiful natural spots. Enjoy one of the island’s most rewarding outdoor activities with a guided hiking adventure—here are your options for trails around Oahu.
The 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) Manoa Falls trail through the Manoa Valley rainforest is an easy route accessible to most hikers. Wind past mountain apple and banyan trees, and cross a small stream on this waterfall hike to reach the dramatic, 150-foot (45-meter) Manoa Falls.
Diamond Head Crater
This is one of the most popular Oahu hikes for a reason, despite the climb up involving an often steep slog through dry brush. After the trek, you’ll gain your reward: World War II-era bunkers and platforms with incredible panoramic views over downtown Honolulu.
Waimea Valley Trail
On the North Shore just outside Haleiwa, the busy Waimea Valley trail is an easy 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) jungle jaunt accessible year-round. Along the path, plants and trees are signposted for identification. Come prepared with swimwear for the trail’s highlight: Waimea Falls, which trickles into a clear, pool perfect for a hot afternoon dip. Guided hiking tours offer information on area history and traditional uses for the plants seen along the way.
A paved path takes the headache out of the steep climb to this spectacular rocky lookout atop the Makapuu State Wayside path. Perfect for families with kids (even in strollers), the trail’s top is one of the island’s best spots for catching whales splashing offshore during winter and for spotting neighboring Molokai, Lanai, and Maui on clear days.
Few Oahu nature tours make it to rugged and remote Kaena Point, a seabird sanctuary and pristine stretch of rocky coast at the island’s most remote northwestern corner. The unshaded and dusty hiking trails that lead to gates protecting nesting Laysan albatross and other seabirds isn’t for everyone, but it is certainly rewarding.
On the island’s windward side behind Kailua, the Lanikai Pillboxes are a popular destination for morning joggers and hikers thanks to the view looking out over the blue-green waters toward Molokai.