Woman hiking on a trail on Oahu
July 15, 2019
| by
Maria Mancuso

Oahu Things to Do: 4 Top Hikes on Oahu

Oahu has some of the most beautiful hikes in the world, waterfalls, tropical foliage and amazing coastal views. See this Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘4 Top Hikes on Oahu’ for details on just a few of the best Hikes on Oahu.

Oahu is a hiker’s paradise with trails for almost every skill level and experience.  Whether you enjoy a slow and easy trail hike to a beautiful waterfall, or if you prefer to be tested with a 3-mile hike with multiple peaks and spectacular views of the valleys and coastline of Oahu – this island paradise has you covered.  

See this Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘Oahu Things to do: 4 Top Hikes on Oahu,’ for insight and recommendations for hikes you will surely enjoy during your next visit to Oahu!

Also see our other Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘5 Top Hikes on Oahu.’

Let’s get started!  

1.  Kaau Crater Hike
Location: Honolulu
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Kaau Crater is one of the most rewarding hikes on Oahu, featuring hours of rope climbing, waterfalls, a volcano crater and beautiful views of Oahu.  If you are looking for a challenge, Kaau Crater will give you 4 to 5 hours of adventurous hiking to be sure.

From the very beginning the trail puts you into the thick, lush jungle foliage with vines hanging from the tall treetops above.  The ground is almost always wet, slick from the rain or moister in the air.  If you are a fan of ridge hikes, this hike is one of the best on Oahu.

If you enjoy discovering waterfalls as part of your hikes, you’ll love this Kaau Crater Hike.  You can swim in the various waterfalls along the trail and at one point you will need to climb up the side of a waterfall to continue.

This is an amazing hike with 3 waterfalls along the way and picturesque views of Honolulu, Kaneohe, Kailua, Diamond Head, and of course the Kaau Crater.  You will have a unique view of inside the Kaau Crater.

This hike should only be considered by those experienced in taking on challenging hikes.

Manoa Falls waterfall on Oahu
Manoa Falls Hike is a very popular hike on Oahu with a payoff of a 150-foot waterfall and pool below.  The Manoa Falls Hike is located just a short distance from our hotel in Waikiki.

2. Manoa Falls Hike
Length of Hike: 1.5 Miles
Location: Kapahulu
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Manoa Falls Hike is a very popular hike on Oahu with a payoff of a 150-foot waterfall and pool below. The Manoa Falls Hike is located just a short distance from our hotel in Waikiki. The trail is easy and takes hikers through lush, tropical rainforest made popular in such production as LOST and Jurassic Park.

The trail can be quite muddy, so proper closed toe footwear is recommended. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed in the pool at the base of the Waterfall, but the views alone justify this easy hike. 

The area receives a good deal of rain so the waterfall is sure to be flowing year around, but this also means the ground can be quite muddy so wear good hiking shoes.  The pool below the waterfall is beautiful and looks inviting for a quick swim, but it is very much discouraged to swim in the water due to the high risk of getting infected with Leptospirosis. 

The Manoa Falls Trail is just a short drive from Waikiki.  There is a $5.5 fee to park, or you may choose to take a tour to the Manoa Falls Hike through the hotel or tour service.

3. Three Peaks/Olomana Trail
Length of Hike:  4.4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

O.k. let’s just say up front that Olomana Trail is not for the unfit or the faint of heart when it comes to heights.  The hike includes a lot of up and down climbing over, under and around rocks, thick tree roots, walking up and around smaller trees and then you finally arrive at the first rope to get to the first of 3 peaks. 

The first peak is easy, if you have come this far already.  The 2nd and 3rd peaks are much ore challenging and feature steep incline/declines on either side of the trail.  Be careful as the trail can be slippery even on a drier day.

Ropes required to reach the peak on Oloman Trail on Oahu
The first of 3 peaks on the Olomana Trial - the ropes are necessary to scale the rocks to the peak.

The views along the trail and from each of the peaks are incredible.  If you are lucky, if you consider it lucky, keep your eye out for small wild pigs, we saw 3 of the little guys along our last hike.

4. Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail
Location: Honolulu
Length of Hike: 4.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

From the top of Wiliwilinui Ridge you can see Waikiki to the West and to the East you can see the beautiful coastline of Oahu.

This is not a popular hike among tourists which is why you should do it!  It is a unique experience and a great way to get out of Waikiki and the hustle and bustle of the city and beaches.

The trail is used for hiking, trail running and mountain biking.  Even dogs are allowed but they must  be kept on a leash.  The trailhead begins in a gated community and a guard will provide you with a pass which are limited.

For information on other great Hikes on Oahu, see our other Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘5 Top Hikes on Oahu.’

Be sure to visit our Oahu Travel Blog and Oahu Visitors Guide for more articles on things to do, see and experience during your next visit to the island.

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