With its lush ridgelines, volcanic peaks, and cascading waterfalls, Oahu is a hiker’s paradise. Go beyond the typical things to do in Oahu during your stay, escaping into the wilderness for some exercise, fresh air, and tropical scenery. You can clamber to the top of historic Diamond Head for a view over all of Waikiki, head inland to trek to breathtaking and spiritually significant Manoa Falls, or feel the burn as you tackle the infamous trail at Koko Head. Whatever hike you choose, expert guides can lead you along the trail and share insight on the island’s fascinating plant and animal life as you explore.
- For an unparalleled early morning adventure, rise before the sun to climb the 1,048 steps that lead to the top of Koko Head Crater. With the guides from Discover Hawaii Tours, you’ll get your heart rate going as you power to the 1,200-foot (365-m) summit. Arrive just in time for sunrise, watching the white-capped waves, beaches, and coastline of the island glow peach and gold in the light of dawn. Your adventure ends with a delicious reward—breakfast at the marina, followed by a refreshing dip in the balmy waters of Halona Cove.
- Get a different perspective on the same trail by tackling Koko Crater at sunset with City Running Tours. The steep steps that climb the crater’s notoriously challenging slopes are actually the ties from an old railway, once used by the military to transport supplies up to the crater’s peak. The tough hike is all worth it at the summit, where you’re greeted with sweeping views of the island at the golden hour.
- Arguably Oahu’s most famous hike, Diamond Head draws crowds for good reason. It’s a short distance from the hotels of Waikiki, the trail is well-maintained, and the views from the top are hard to beat. Hit the trail with Oahu Nature Tours before the heat of the day sets in, encountering fun obstacles like a narrow, 200-foot (61-m) tunnel and a spiral staircase. Learn about the crater’s military use, and then cool off in the breeze at the 763-foot (233-m) summit as you snap postcard-worthy pics with Waikiki as your backdrop.
- Set off on a legendary journey through the verdant Manoa Valley with the locals at Surf You to the Moon to experience the flourishing greenery of Oahu’s interior. The easy and scenic trail leads you through the rainforest, letting you watch for tropical birds and learn about plant species unique to Hawaii. The climax of the hike is, of course, Manoa Falls—a 150-foot (45-m) cascade that tumbles down a sheer cliff face into a cool, clear pool.
- For a more customized outing, hire a private guide from Keawe Adventures to tailor a hike just to you and your group. You could plan a steep and challenging trek along a ridgeline with killer island views, take on muddy trails in Oahu’s life-filled rainforests, or scope out a historical landmark like the Makapuu Lighthouse, which sits perched on rocky sea cliffs near tide pools and prime whale-watching waters.
What Hawaiian hiking trail will you tackle first?