ALOHA!

 

So you want to go to see some beautiful places on Oahu as a part of your time in Hawaii!

Which are the best hikes on Oahu that will give you some of those amazing ocean views?!

 

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First, the quick list of the top 5 Oahu hikes to know about when you want to get in some Oahu hiking when you’re in Hawaii.

Then, a bit more about each of these hikes, including some nearby places you might want to go when you’re in the area! (Which can be perfect to maximize your time!) And also a note on taking a bus to these hikes.

And then also a quick note on hiking alone on Oahu.

 

 

So now…

 

5 best easy-access hikes on Oahu when it’s your first trip to Hawaii

aka some of the most beautiful places on Oahu!

Best Oahu hikes. Most beautiful places on Oahu. easy oahu hikes. short oahu hikes. Oahu Hawaii hiking trails with ocean views. Waikiki, Honolulu. Best things to do in Oahu activities. distance how much, time how long, difficulty easy or hard. Backpacking Oahu Hawaii travel blog

 

 

1. Diamond Head Hike

Best hikes on Oahu. Diamond Head Hike. diamond head crater summit trail. waikiki hikes. best hiking trails in Oahu. Hawaii travel blog
Hike this trail for the best views of Waikiki and for an iconic photo spot.

 

 

2. Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Best hikes on Oahu. Lanikai Pillbox Hike. best hiking trails in Oahu. Hawaii travel blog
Hike this trail for another iconic photo spot near a white sand beach on Oahu.

 

 

3. Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail

Best hikes on Oahu. Makapuu point lighthouse trail. whale watching on Oahu. best hiking trails in Oahu. Hawaii travel blog
Hike this trail during whale watching season for a chance to spot whales from shore.

 

 

4. Koko Head Hike

Best hikes on Oahu. Koko Head Hike. koko crater railway trail. best hiking trails in Oahu. Hawaii travel blog
Hike this trail for a short but strenuous workout on Oahu.

 

 

5. Ehukai Pillbox Hike

Best hikes on Oahu. Ehukai pillbox hike. north shore hikes. best hiking trails in Oahu. Hawaii travel blog
Hike this trail for stunning views of the North Shore coast.

 

 

PLUS!

No ocean views here, but…

Manoa Falls Trail

Best hikes on Oahu. Manoa Falls trail. waterfall hikes on Oahu. best hiking trails in Oahu. Hawaii travel blog
Hike this trail to see waterfalls on Oahu, and see a small bamboo forest and banyan trees along the way!

 

 

Nearly ALL of these hiking trails will get you beautiful coastal views of the ocean from above! The only exception is the waterfall hike, but you get waterfall views instead!

More on each of these great Oahu hikes below!

 

 

🌴

 
More photos/info below, but first...
Side note!
Here's some info on Hawaii trip prep!




PLUS... Oahu tour, or on your own: Can you visit Pearl Harbor without a tour?

Also for these trails, be sure to see the essentials for hiking in Hawaii, including what to wear!

 

 

Now…

A little more about these top Oahu hikes!

…aka some of the best things to do on Oahu!

For all of these hikes, you might be on the trail for around 2 hours.

If you were to simply hike the trail, you might be able to do these in 1 hour.

But add in some rest time and time to take in the views, 2 hours might be more realistic!

 

 

1. Diamond Head Hike

Hikes on Oahu, Waikiki. Diamond Head hike crater hiking trail with Waikiki views, Honolulu. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is the hike that will get you those famous views of Waikiki Beach and downtown Honolulu.

This is the most popular hike near Waikiki.

Since this is a crater hike, it means you’ll be hiking up to the summit.

And that means there are spots that you might be breathing a little hard!

There are a number of staircases on this trail.

 

Hikes on Oahu, Waikiki. Diamond Head hike crater hiking trail. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu, Waikiki. Diamond Head hike crater hiking trail. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu, Waikiki. Diamond Head hike crater hiking trail. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu, Waikiki. Diamond Head hike crater hiking trail pillbox. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Map of Diamond Head hike location

Map of best Oahu hikes: Diamond Head hike map with reviews. Oahu Hawaii travel blog
See this map in google maps.

 

 

Getting to Diamond Head by bus

There is a bus stop right in front of the crater. From here, you’ll walk down a road maybe around 10-15 minutes to get to the start of the trail. (You’ll go through a tunnel!)

 

 

Things to do near Diamond Head

 

If you like the chance of swimming with colorful fish…

 

DON’T miss Queen’s Beach

Hiking trail on Oahu near Waikiki. Things to do near Diamond head hike - waikiki snorkeling queen's beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a top snorkeling spot in Waikiki, and it also makes for a good post-workout recovery in the ocean!

 

 

2. Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Lanikai pillbox hike hiking trail, mokulua islands. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is the hike that can get you the famous views of the twin islands called the Mokulua Islands (aka the Mokes).

This is probably the most popular hike that’s on the windward coast of Oahu. (That would be the east side of Oahu.)

This is a part of the Kaiwa Ridge Trail, and you can opt to make the Lanikai Pillbox Hike into a longer hike.

 

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Lanikai pillbox hike, hiking trail. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Lanikai pillbox hike, kailua hiking trail. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Lanikai pillbox hike, kaiwa ridge hiking trail. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Lanikai pillbox hike hiking trail, mokulua islands. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Map of Lanikai Pillbox Hike location

Map of best Oahu hikes: Lanikai pillbox hike map with reviews. Oahu Hawaii travel blog
See this map in google maps.

 

Getting to Lanikai Pillbox Hike by bus

Depending on your timing, there are a few different ways you may get to the start of the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. The bus that goes more directly near the start of the trail may have less frequent timings. In which case you may take a bus to Kailua. This may add 15-20 minutes or so of walking. This will likely be a solid 1-1.5 hour bus ride from Waikiki, with a transfer.

 

 

Things to do near Lanikai Pillbox Hike

 

If you like stunning views just as you’ve seen in pictures…

There are great beaches on the east side of Oahu!

 

DON’T miss Lanikai Beach

Hiking trail on Oahu. Things to do near lanikai pillbox hike - Lanikai Beach, mokulua islands. Hawaii travel blog

 

DON’T miss Kailua Beach

Hiking trail on Oahu. Things to do near lanikai pillbox hike - Kailua Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

3. Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Makapuu point lighthouse hiking trail hike, paved trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a paved trail, and you get coastal views nearly the entire way.

This is basically an uphill walk.

During whale watching season (generally speaking November to May), it’s also said to be a good spot on Oahu for a chance to see whales from the shore.

 

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Makapuu point lighthouse hiking trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu, windward east coast. Makapuu point lighthouse hiking trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Map of Makapuu Point Lighthouse trail location

Map of best Oahu hikes: Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail with reviews. Oahu Hawaii travel blog
See this map in google maps.

 

Getting to Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail by bus

The nearest bus stop to Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is Sea Life Park. This is around a 10-15 minute walk to the start of the trail. You’ll be walking on a shoulder area next to the road in which cars are going kind of fast. So it’s not exactly the safest walk. It’s important to be careful, but it’s not too bad.

 

 

4. Koko Head Hike

Hikes on Oahu. koko head hike crater railway hiking trail, ocean views. Hawaii travel blog

 

In terms of distance, this is a short hike, but it’s a tough one!

There’s a good chance you might see at least one local who’s racing up this trail – it’s a good workout!

This is another crater hike, and that means there’s a lot of uphill.

Actually this hike is ALL uphill, and it’s also called nature’s stairmaster because you are basically just taking stairs all the way up to the top!

It’s also called the Koko Crater Railway Trail.

 

Hikes on Oahu. koko head hike crater railway hiking trail, views of hanauma bay. nature's stairmaster. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu. koko head hike crater railway hiking trail, mountain views. Hawaii travel blog

Hikes on Oahu. koko head hike crater railway hiking trail, ocean views. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Map of Koko Head hike location

Map of best Oahu hikes: Koko Head hike map with reviews. Oahu Hawaii travel blog
See this map in google maps.

 

Getting to the Koko Head Hike by bus

There’s a bus stop on the main road right in front of the road that leads to Hanauma Bay. This is the best bus stop to get off at for the Koko Head Hike, and it will be around a 5 minute walk to the start of the Koko Crater Railway Trail.

 

 

Things to do near Koko Head Hike

 

If you want to go snorkeling…

 

DON’T miss Hanauma Bay

Hiking trail on Oahu. Things to do near koko head hike - Hanauma Bay snorkeling. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is among the top snorkeling spots on Oahu, and it can make for a perfect recovery after the tough Koko Head Hike!

It’s quite reasonable to walk from the Koko Head trail to Hanauma Bay if bus is your mode of transportation. On your way back, there is also a bus stop that’s closer to the beach too so you don’t need to walk all the way back to the main road.

 

 

5. Ehukai Pillbox Hike

Hikes on Oahu, North Shore. ehukai pillbox hiking trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a hike on the North Shore that can give you amazing views of the coast!

You can make this a part of your day trip to the North Shore from Waikiki with a bunch of things to do on the North Shore.

 

Hikes on Oahu, North Shore. ehukai pillbox hiking trail, peace sign. Hawaii travel blog

 

Ehukai Pillbox Hike: See more photos of this Oahu hike

 

 

Map of Ehukai Pillbox hike location

Map of best Oahu hikes: North Shore Ehukai pillbox hike map with reviews. Oahu Hawaii travel blog
See this map in google maps.

 

Getting to Ehukai Pillbox Hike by bus

There is a bus stop pretty much right in front of the start of the trail. So from the bus stop it’ll be a few minutes walk. Although, taking the bus from Waikiki to the North Shore can be a good 2 hours. 

 

 

Things to do near Ehukai Pillbox Hike

 

If you like a wide stretch of beach…

 

DON’T miss Sunset Beach

Hiking trail on Oahu North Shore. Things to do near ehukai pillbox hike - sunset beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

If you like snorkeling…

DON’T miss Shark’s Cove

Hiking trail on Oahu North Shore. Things to do near ehukai pillbox hike - shark's cove snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is among the top snorkeling spots on the North Shore.

 

 

PLUS…

Manoa Falls Trail

Hikes on Oahu, waterfall hikes. manoa falls trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is probably the most popular waterfall hike on Oahu.

This trail is a forest hike that ends with views of waterfalls, and along the way you’ll walk by a small bamboo forest and “through” a banyan tree too. See pics of this Oahu hike here.

 

 

Map of Manoa Falls Trail location

Map of best Oahu hikes: Manoa Falls trail map with reviews. Oahu Hawaii travel blog
See this map in google maps.

 

Getting to Manoa Falls Trail by bus

Manoa Falls is located in a residential area, and the bus service to this area is less frequent, but it is reasonable to get here by bus too. You might walk an extra 15-20 minutes from the bus stop to the start of the trail. 

 

 

And there you have it!
Some of the best hikes on Oahu to consider making a part of your trip to Hawaii!

So it is generally reasonable to get to all of the hikes on this list by bus, especially if you think of it as a day trip made even more worth it with one extra activity in addition to the hiking!

See more about taking the bus from Waikiki to Oahu hiking trails and general notes on how to take the bus on Oahu. The Oahu bus is not so bad, and you’ll feel like a pro after 1 or 2 bus rides!

 

 

Hiking alone on Oahu

While it is best to not hike alone on Oahu (or anywhere), if you are traveling to Hawaii alone, these listed hikes I would generally say would be fine if you are a solo hiker on Oahu.

Whether you are hiking alone or with a hiking buddy, be sure that you take care when hiking, always! The landscape made by nature is beautiful, but trails can also be dangerous!

 

 

These may be relatively short hikes on Oahu, but it’s still important to be prepared for hiking in Hawaii!

At the very least, this includes WATER and snacks for EVERY hike! Hawaii is HOT. Proper shoes (not flip flops and not shoes with soles that have a weak grip) would be good for all of these hikes as well. Take a look at what to pack for hiking in Hawaii!

 

Headed to other Hawaiian islands?! (More beautiful views!)

 

HAPPY HIKING ON OAHU!

 

Best hikes in Oahu Hawaii. Hiking trails. Best things to do on Oahu. Best places to visit on Oahu. Waikiki, Honolulu, windward east Oahu, North Shore. Backpacking Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
Possibly among the best Oahu maps for tourists!
The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip to Honolulu!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

PLUS...
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on the Oahu:


ALOHA!