If you’re looking for the best hikes on Oahu – you’ve come to the right place. We curated a list of the best hikes you can find on the island.

Growing up in Oahu, Hawaii meant lots of hiking. Through my years of exploring this island, I gained a knowledge of what people visiting Hawaii might want to do. We made this article to give back to you guys and provide you with a list of our favorite hikes. All that we ask is to please make sure to leave each spot cleaner than the way you found it. Let’s get into the 10 best hikes on Oahu!

 

A Look into the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu


1. Stairway To Heaven (a.k.a. Haiku Stairs)

Difficulty: Intermediate

Total time: 4-6 hours

Best time to hike: Sunrise

We recommend you to bring:

  • Lots of water
  • Snacks
  • Jacket (get’s quite cold – especially closer to the top)
  • Gloves (for gripping onto the slippery railings – really glad we brought a pair)
  • Hiking shoes
  • Camera

Keep in mind:

  • It might rain at times so dress appropriately
  • This hike is illegal – there is now guards on site 24/hrs a day. You can get up to a $1,000 fine and possibly arrested.

Hiking the Stairway to Heaven for sunrise was one of the most rewarding, yet the scariest experience of my life. Starting off the hike by sneaking past a guard before dawn and hiking in the pitch black to be greeted by a long staircase of nearly 4,000 steps. With both unsteady and slippery railings and steps, you get a feeling of unease. At some points, the stairs go completely vertical and you’re left gripping on for dear life as the strong wind blows from all directions. Reaching the very top takes lots of perseverance as there are checkpoints along the way that makes you question continuing. As the sun rose, the sky cleared up and left us with the most beautiful glow and sunrise we’ve ever seen. It’s no question why so few have the courage to take on this hike.

Note: We really recommend bringing gloves. Both time’s we hiked the stairs the railings were wet and extremely slippery. While we probably could have managed without gloves – it makes us so much more comfortable having a better grip, especially when the stairs goes completely vertical.

Click here to read our full guide to hiking the Stairway to Heaven.

 

2. Pali Notches

View of Pali Notches - #2 on the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu

Difficulty: Intermediate

Total time: 1 to 2 hours

Best time to hike: Morning

We recommend you to bring:

  • Lots of water
  • Snacks
  • Jacket (get’s extremely windy)
  • Gloves (if you have)
  • Hiking shoes
  • Camera

Keep in mind:

  • This hike is illegal – people have fallen/have been put into life-threatening conditions – hike at your own discretion

There’s a reason why this hike is on the top 10 best hikes on Oahu! Hiking the Pali Notches is for the extreme adventurers. With strong winds blowing from all directions and walking on a ridge that gets as narrow as 2-3 feet, this hike is no joke. It is one of the most dangerous hikes on the island and is only recommended for experienced hikers. Please make sure to research this hike plenty before taking it on.

 

3. Tantalus Tower

Tantalus Tower Drone shot in Oahu - #3 on the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu

Difficulty: Beginner

Total time: 1 hour

Best time to hike: Sunset

We recommend you to bring:

  • Jacket (extremely windy at the top of the tower)
  • Camera (the views at the top during sunset are phenomenal!)

Keep in mind:

  • Can get quite muddy
  • The actual tower is fenced off and is government property – hike at your own discretion

The hike starts off with a slight incline and after roughly 5-10 minutes you are greeted with the most beautiful bamboo forest. It took us about 20-25 minutes to get to the tower. When climbing the tower, there are strong winds blowing from all directions. At the top of the tower, the winds at some points make the whole tower shake and can be quite scary – but the view during sunset make’s it one you cannot miss!

 

4. Lulumahu Falls

Difficulty: Moderate

Total time: 2 hours

Best time to hike: Anytime

We recommend you to bring:

Keep in mind:

  • Can get quite muddy
  • Lots of bugs – make sure to use some sort of insect repellent
  • Parking lot only can hold up to 20 cars
  • This hike is on private property

We recommend this hike over Manoa falls for the fact that the waterfall is nicer and it’s not as well-known/crowded. If you’re thinking of hiking to see a waterfall – this is the one to do!

Click here to read our full guide on hiking to Lulumahu Falls

 

5. Makua Cave

Difficulty: Moderate

Total time: 1 hour

Best time to hike: Sunset

We recommend you to bring:

Keep in mind:

  • It can get pretty hot closer to sunset – so bring lots of water (and wear sunscreen)
  • The west side is the dryer side of the island so if you want everything in your photos to be green – make sure to come after rainfall

Viewing the west side of Oahu from Makua Cave is absolutely spectacular during sunset. You simply can’t miss this hike – It’s easily my favorite hike for sunset on this side. If you want more of a view of the entire west side, then we would recommend checking out the Maili Pillboxes.

 

6. Tom-Tom Trail

Tom Tom Trail during sunrise - #6 on the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu

Difficulty: Beginner

Total time: The hike can be as short as 2 miles or up to 6 depending on how far you go

Best time to hike: Sunrise

We recommend you to bring:

Keep in mind:

  • It can get pretty dry so bring lots of water and make sure to wear sunscreen
  • This hike is on private property – hike at your own discretion

If you’re looking to a beautiful perspective of the East coast of the island – then you’re looking at the right place. The Tom-Tom trail starts off with a nice incline and continues that for roughly 15-20 minutes until it starts to ease out more. You can stop at any point because there is no definite end to this hike.

 

7. Crouching Lion

Difficulty: Beginner

Total time: 1 to 2 hours

Best time to hike: Sunrise

We recommend you to bring:

Keep in mind:

  • It can get pretty dry so bring lots of water and make sure to wear sunscreen
  • This hike is on private property – hike at your own discretion

Parking can be quite difficult for this hike – make sure you park legally because people do get their cars towed/ticketed.

Click here to read our full guide on how to hike the Crouching Lion.

 

8. Ehukai Pillbox

Ehukai Pillbox during sunset - #8 on the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu

Difficulty: Beginner

Total time: 1 to 2 hours

Best time to hike: Sunset

We recommend you to bring:

When reaching the pillbox – you will be able to see the most beautiful view of the entire North Shore of Oahu!

 

9. Makapuu Lighthouse

Makapu'u Lighthouse Viewpoint - #9 on the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu

Difficulty: Beginner

Total time: 1 to 2 hours

Best time to hike: Morning

We recommend you to bring:

If you embark on this hike – we definitely recommend visiting the Makapu’u tide pools before heading back down. It adds roughly an hour to the hike but it’s something you absolutely cannot miss! The views are spectacular and in some parts of the year, you may see humpback whales in the distance. It get’s pretty hot during the day so keep that in mind. Click here for our full guide on how to find the Makapu’u Tidepools.

 

10. Lanikai Pillbox

Lanikai Pillbox Viewpoint - #10 on the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu

Difficulty: Beginner

Total time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Best time to hike: Sunrise

We recommend you to bring:

Being one of the most visited hikes out of all the previous listed – Lanikai pillbox is a solid choice if you’re looking for a quick and easy hike for a beautiful view. Parking can get pretty tight on the weekend so make sure to plan for that.

 

Looking for more to do on Oahu? Check out our other articles:


 

Mahalo for reading the 10 Best Hikes on Oahu – we really appreciate it 🙂

Click here to read our previous article: North Shore Oahu: 10 Best Things to do

 

Comments