If you want to visit a unique part of the US that’s a paradise for nature lovers who love to embark on hiking adventures, head over to Hawaii. The island state was blessed with gorgeous volcanic landscapes and amazing scenery and it’s a land of many trekking and hiking possibilities. While hiking in Hawaii, you’ll discover the islands and their many hidden gems. After exploring the best treks in Hawaii, you’ll want to come back for more.
The Kalalau Trail, Kauai
One of the most famous hikes in Hawaii is the Kalalau Trail. This trail is located on Kauai Island and it is approximately 17 kilometers long. This trail is the only access way to Kalalau Beach on land. While trekking Kalalau Trail, you’ll be able to admire the spectacular views of the coast Na Pall. At the end of the trek, you can relax on the tropical beach with white sand or swim in the mesmerizing turquoise waters.
The Diamond Head Trail, Oahu
Another popular trekking trail is Diamond Head Trail, named after the also very popular Hawaiian landmark. Diamond Head is a gigantic volcanic rock in Oahu and the trail leading to the top is not the easiest of hikes. However, the climb is only 3 kilometers and if you can reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Hawaiian coast.
Koko Head Crater Trail, Oahu
Koko Head Crater is also on Oahu and it’s a great alternative to Diamond Head. While this trail is not as famous as Diamond Head, it still offers spectacular views along the way and from the top. The climb entails over 1000 steps of steep ascend and when you reach the top, you’ll be blessed with panoramic views of Honolulu, Diamond Head, and Hanauma Bay. During the ascent, you’ll come across an old railway that was used by military personnel during WWII.
Kaena Point, Oahu
While you’re still in Oahu, you can head west and explore Kaena Point. The trail is approximately 5 kilometers long and it ends at the lighthouse where you can sit down and enjoy a delicious meal at Kono’s restaurant or try to catch a glimpse of the Hawaiian monk seals, the endemic seals of the islands.
Kuliouou Ridge Trail, Oahu
As you can probably tell by now, there are many hiking and trekking opportunities in Oahu for all difficulty levels. Koolau Ridge is another popular trail you can explore. This trail is more popular amongst runners than hikers but it’s definitely worth exploring. The trail is moderate and approximately 7 kilometers long but, most importantly, it is dog-friendly so if you want to take your best friend hiking with you, Kuliouou Ridge Trail is a good choice.
The Haiku Stairs, Oahu
Also known as the Stairway to Heaven, the Haiku Stairs are probably the best hikes in Oahu and arguably in Hawaii. The hike was shut down in 2015 but some hikers still do it, however, they hike from the bottom up, not the other way around, as it was hikers did before it closed. Going from the bottom up is safer these days since you can stop and go back down if you stumble upon dangerous areas. Hopefully, the local authorities can fix the damage and the hike will be officially open again. Until then proceed with caution and don’t try to go from the top down.
Waahila Ridge Trail, Oahu
Waahila Ridge Trail exposes you to panoramic views of the surrounding areas including Koolau Range and Honolulu, bird watching opportunities, and the discovery of native Hawaiian plants. The approximately 4 kilometers long trail ends at the intersection with Kolowalu Trail. Hikers are not allowed to pass the Kolowalu-Waahila Junction so when you reach the Kolowalu Trail, you can descend on the same trail or make your way down the Kolowalu Trail.
The Lanikai Pillbox Hike, Kailua
The Lanikai Pillbox Hike got its name from the pillboxes scattered along the trail. The trail is moderate and it takes approximately two or two and half hours to complete it but, if you’re looking for an easy trek, you can stop at the first pillbox, which can be reached in less than 30 minutes. The hike traverses the Kaiwa Ridge and while making your way on the path you’ll be able to gaze upon Mokulua Islands and the beautiful Lanikai Beach.
Olomana Three Peaks Trail, Kailua
The Olomana Peaks offers three different trekking options, one trail for each peak. The ascent to the first peak is moderate and it involves a two and a half kilometers strenuous trek. The second trail is less challenging and offers striking views along the way. The third and last trail is the hardest one and it is only for experienced hikers. This trail totals about 6 kilometers for a round trip and it’s not only popular amongst experienced hikers but also amongst mountain bikers and rock climbers.
The Manoa Falls Trail, Honolulu
A popular and easy option is the Manoa Falls Trail. This trail is relatively easy on a regular basis but it can be difficult after rain when mud makes for a slippery surface. The area is also prone to flooding so make sure you plan your trek accordingly. If you’re lucky and the weather is nice, you’ll be amazed by the beautiful scenery with lavish vegetation and the numerous bird species that found shelter in the area. At the end of the trail, the 150 feet Manoa Falls wait for you.
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail, Honolulu
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse trail is yet another Hawaiian trail with splendid views. Along the trail, you have plenty of stopping points such as Crater Rock that allow you to take in the beauty of the surroundings. The trail ends at Makapu’u Lighthouse, a lighthouse built 100 years ago that gave the trail its name. While you cannot visit the lighthouse, you can see it up close. Moreover, if you are lucky, you might spot whales or dolphins swimming in the ocean.
The Pearl Harbor Historic Trail, Honolulu
The Pearl Harbor trail is a trek for history enthusiasts who want to learn about the history of this area of Hawaii, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and how the US ended up involved in WWII. The trail is overall easy but you have to be prepared for some moderate areas across the 9 kilometers stretch. The trekking tour has stops at the Pacific National Monument and the Pacific Aviation Museum, which you should definitely visit during your stay in Hawaii whether you opt for doing the entire Pearl Harbor Historic Trail or not.
Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Mauna Kea is the highest mountain in Hawaii and it makes for a difficult hike to the peak. Despite being tough, the climb is totally worth it since the peak is situated above the clouds allowing you to witness some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.
Hi’ilawe Falls, the Big Island
Situated in Waipio Valley, Hi’ilawe Falls are nearly 458 meters tall and they offer mesmerizing views thanks to the wonderful lush backdrop. Hikers who love the experience of isolated, jungle hikes will enjoy the hike to the falls. It is recommended to be respectful towards the land while trekking in Waipio Valley since the land is considered sacred in Hawaiian culture.
The Halemaumau Crater, the Big Island
Hiking the Halemaumau Crater is a once in a lifetime opportunity you shouldn’t miss if you visit Hawaii. The live volcano is situated in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and, while the hike is short, it provides mesmerizing views of the volcanic crater and lava flow from the crater’s rim. The hike is not very difficult and it only takes an hour or two to complete.