10 Best Hiking Trails in Hawaii

10 Best Hiking Trails in Hawaii
Table of Contents

Hawaii is home to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in the world, offering adventure seekers a chance to explore its stunning landscapes and natural wonders. From the rugged coastlines to the lush tropical forests, there is something for every hiker to enjoy in the Hawaiian islands.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the beauty of the Kalalau Trail on Kauai, with its spectacular views of Na Pall Coast and the pristine Kalalau Beach.
  • Experience the spiritual ambiance of Kaena Point on Oahu, known for its serene beach and lighthouse, and don’t miss the chance to spot some wildlife.
  • Hike up the volcanic Diamond Head Trail on Oahu and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Hawaiian coast.
  • Challenge yourself with the steep stairs of the Koko Crater Trail on Oahu and enjoy panoramic views of Diamond Head and the lava-rocked beaches below.
  • Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of the Manoa Falls Trail on Oahu, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and leading to a stunning waterfall.
Hiking Trail Location Highlights
Kalalau Trail Kauai
  • Spectacular views of Na Pall Coast
  • Secluded Kalalau Beach
Kaena Point Oahu
  • Spiritual ambiance
  • Lighthouse and serene beach
  • Opportunity for wildlife viewing
Diamond Head Trail Oahu
  • Breathtaking views of the Hawaiian coast
  • Climb the volcanic Diamond Head
Koko Crater Trail Oahu
  • Steep stairs
  • Panoramic views of Diamond Head and lava-rocked beaches
Manoa Falls Trail Oahu
  • Stunning waterfall
  • Lush tropical vegetation
Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail Oahu
  • Scenic views of the Kaiwi Coast
  • Potential for dolphin or whale sightings
Pearl Harbor Historic Trail Oahu
  • Historical walk through Pacific National Monument
  • Visit Pacific Aviation Museum
Mauna Kea Hike Big Island
  • Highest mountain in Hawaii
  • Breathtaking sunsets above the clouds
Hi’ilawe Falls in the Waipio Valley Big Island
  • Remote hike
  • Sacred waterfall
Lanikai Pillbox Hike Oahu
  • Stunning views of Lanikai Beach and Mokulua Islands
The Kalalau Trail on Kauai is undoubtedly one of the best hiking trails in Hawaii, offering awe-inspiring vistas of the Na Pall Coast and leading hikers to the pristine and secluded Kalalau Beach. As you traverse this trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views that showcase the natural beauty of Hawaii. The trail’s rugged terrain and challenging sections add an element of adventure to the experience, making it a favorite amongst outdoor enthusiasts.

Kalalau Beach: Paradise Found

At the end of the Kalalau Trail lies the picturesque Kalalau Beach. Nestled between lush cliffs and pristine turquoise waters, this secluded beach offers the perfect spot to relax and unwind after a challenging hike. You can bask in the warm Hawaiian sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or simply take in the stunning surroundings. The tranquility and beauty of Kalalau Beach make it a true paradise for nature lovers. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it’s important to come prepared with proper hiking gear and supplies. The trail can be strenuous at times, so it’s recommended to be in good physical condition and have some hiking experience. As with any outdoor adventure, it’s also crucial to respect the environment by following Leave No Trace principles and staying on designated trails. In Conclusion, the Kalalau Trail on Kauai is a must-visit for anyone seeking an unforgettable hiking experience in Hawaii. From the breathtaking views of the Na Pall Coast to the secluded beauty of Kalalau Beach, this trail offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Hawaiian islands. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and embark on a journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Kaena Point on Oahu

For a spiritual and serene hiking experience, look no further than Kaena Point on Oahu, where the ancient and the contemporary converge, offering visitors a chance to explore its lighthouse, serene beach, and encounter wildlife in their natural habitat. This secluded point is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil escape.

As you embark on the Kaena Point hike, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking ocean views and the sounds of crashing waves. The trail winds along the coastline, providing stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged beauty of Oahu’s west side.

What sets Kaena Point apart is its abundant wildlife. The area is home to a variety of seabirds and native Hawaiian plants, making it a haven for birdwatching and botanical enthusiasts. Keep your eyes peeled for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals that often bask on the sandy shores. It’s a truly magical experience to witness nature untouched and thriving.

Before setting out on this adventure, remember to pack plenty of water, wear suitable footwear, and apply sunscreen. The trail is moderately challenging, but the rewards far outweigh the effort. Experience the serenity and natural wonders of Kaena Point, one of Hawaii’s best hikes.

Kaena Point on Oahu: Trail Highlights

Highlights Trail Information
Lighthouse Visit the historic lighthouse perched on the point, providing panoramic views of the coast.
Serene Beach Relax and unwind on the peaceful beach, feeling the soothing embrace of nature.
Wildlife Viewing Observe seabirds, native plants, and perhaps encounter the majestic Hawaiian monk seals.
Coastal Scenery Enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged beauty of Oahu’s west side.

Diamond Head Trail on Oahu

The Diamond Head Trail on Oahu is a must-visit for hikers seeking a challenging ascent and stunning panoramic views of the Hawaiian coast from the crater’s rim. As one of the most iconic trails in Hawaii, Diamond Head offers a unique hiking experience with its volcanic terrain and historical significance.

The trail begins at the Diamond Head State Monument and winds its way up to the summit, rewarding hikers with breathtaking vistas of Waikiki Beach, the Pacific Ocean, and the Honolulu skyline. The hike is approximately 1.6 miles round trip, taking adventurers through a series of switchbacks, steep staircases, and dark tunnels.

Along the way, hikers can explore the remnants of military fortifications from World War II, adding an extra layer of historical interest to the journey. At the summit, a large crater awaits, providing an unparalleled vantage point to soak in the natural beauty of Oahu’s coastline.

Trail Name Location Distance Difficulty
Diamond Head Trail Oahu 1.6 miles round trip Moderate

Please note that there is an entrance fee to access the Diamond Head State Monument. Additionally, it is important to come prepared with comfortable footwear, water, and sun protection as the trail can be steep and exposed. To avoid crowds, early morning hikes are recommended.

Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a casual adventurer, the Diamond Head Trail offers an unforgettable experience that combines physical challenge, natural beauty, and historical intrigue. So lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and embark on an unforgettable journey to the summit of Diamond Head.

Koko Crater Trail on Oahu

The Koko Crater Trail on Oahu beckons adventurous souls with its steep staircase ascent and rewards them with sweeping panoramic views of Diamond Head and the lava-rocked beaches below. This challenging hike is not for the faint of heart, but for those seeking a thrilling outdoor adventure, it is an absolute must-do.

As you make your way up the 1,048 steps to the top, be prepared to test your limits and feel your heart pumping. The hike offers a true sense of accomplishment as you conquer each step, knowing that incredible vistas await you at the summit. At the top, take a moment to catch your breath and soak in the breathtaking views that stretch out before you. The beauty of Diamond Head and the turquoise waters crashing against the lava-rocked beaches will leave you in awe.

In addition to the stunning views, the unique geological features of Koko Crater add to the allure of this trail. The crater itself is a remnant of a volcanic cone and provides a fascinating backdrop as you ascend the stairs. The contrasting colors of the rugged crater and the lush greenery surrounding it create a scene that is both dramatic and picturesque.

Table: Koko Crater Trail Information

Difficulty Level Distance Elevation Gain
Moderate to Difficult 1.8 miles (round trip) 990 feet

It is important to note that the Koko Crater Trail can be quite challenging, so it is recommended to wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water. The steep stairs can be slippery, especially after rainfall, so caution is advised. Additionally, be sure to check local guidelines and closures before embarking on your hike, as the trail may be temporarily closed for maintenance or weather-related reasons.

In conclusion, if you’re up for a thrilling adventure and breathtaking views, the Koko Crater Trail on Oahu is the perfect choice. Challenge yourself, take in the stunning scenery, and create lasting memories on this unforgettable hike.

Manoa Falls Trail on Oahu

Immerse yourself in the lush tropical paradise of the Manoa Falls Trail on Oahu, where a short hike leads you to a mesmerizing waterfall nestled amidst a vibrant tapestry of tropical foliage. This enchanting trail takes you through a magical world of dense rainforest, where every step unveils a new wonder.

As you enter the trailhead, you’ll be greeted by the soothing sound of birdsong and the gentle rustling of leaves overhead. The path winds its way through towering trees draped in thick greenery, creating a canopy that filters the sunlight and adds to the trail’s ethereal ambiance. Along the way, you might even spot a cheeky gecko or two camouflaged among the leaves.

After a peaceful stroll, the trail rewards you with the awe-inspiring sight of Manoa Falls. Cascading down from a height of 150 feet, this majestic waterfall captivates with its sheer beauty and raw power. Stand in awe as the water crashes into a pool below, its mist gently kissing your skin. It’s an experience that truly immerses you in the wonders of nature.

As with any hike, remember to come prepared with sturdy shoes, water, and sunscreen. While the Manoa Falls Trail is a relatively easy hike, it can get muddy, so be cautious of your footing. Also, note that swimming in the pool at the base of the waterfall can be dangerous, so it’s best to admire it from a safe distance.

Trail Name Location Difficulty Distance
Manoa Falls Trail Oahu Easy 1.6 miles round trip

Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail on Oahu

Embark on the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail on Oahu and indulge in the breathtaking vistas of the Kaiwi Coast, with the added possibility of spotting playful dolphins or majestic whales. This scenic hike offers panoramic views that will leave you in awe as you explore one of Hawaii’s most beautiful coastlines.

As you make your way up the trail, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins dancing in the waves or the magnificent spray from the blowholes of passing whales. The Makapuu Point Lighthouse, standing proudly at the end of the trail, serves as a historic landmark and provides a picturesque backdrop for your adventure. Don’t forget your camera, because this trail offers plenty of photo opportunities.

Trail Highlights:

  • Breathtaking vistas of the Kaiwi Coast
  • Possibility of spotting playful dolphins or majestic whales
  • Historic Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is suitable for all skill levels. The well-maintained path is mostly paved, making it accessible for families with strollers or those with mobility challenges. However, be sure to wear sturdy footwear and bring plenty of water, as the Hawaiian sun can be intense.

Trail Information Details
Length 2 miles round trip
Difficulty Easy to moderate
Duration Approximately 1-2 hours
Features Breathtaking coastal views, wildlife sightings
Important note The trail can be crowded, especially during weekends and holidays. Be prepared for limited parking.

Soak in the beauty of the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail on Oahu and create unforgettable memories as you immerse yourself in the stunning scenery and keep an eye out for Hawaii’s incredible marine life. Remember to always respect the environment and follow any trail guidelines or restrictions in place to ensure the preservation of this natural treasure.

Pearl Harbor Historic Trail on Oahu

Step back in time on the Pearl Harbor Historic Trail on Oahu, where you can immerse yourself in the rich history of the Pacific National Monument and the Pacific Aviation Museum. As you explore this historical walk, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the events that shaped the course of World War II and pay tribute to the lives lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The trail takes you through significant sites, including the USS Arizona Memorial, where you can witness the submerged remains of the battleship and honor the sailors and marines who perished during the attack. At the Pacific Aviation Museum, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the fascinating collection of aircraft and artifacts that tell the story of aviation in the Pacific.

For a comprehensive experience, consider joining a guided tour that provides insights from knowledgeable experts and ensures you don’t miss any hidden gems along the trail. These tours may also provide access to restricted areas or exclusive exhibits, enhancing your overall visit.

Trail Highlights Location Hours of Operation
USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Pacific Aviation Museum Ford Island 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

As you traverse the Pearl Harbor Historic Trail, take a moment to reflect on the significance of this historical site and the sacrifices made by those who defended our nation. This immersive journey through the past offers a unique perspective on the events that shaped the world, making it one of the best hikes in Hawaii for history enthusiasts.

Mauna Kea Hike on the Big Island

The Mauna Kea Hike on the Big Island offers experienced hikers an opportunity to conquer the highest mountain in Hawaii and witness breathtaking sunsets above the clouds. Standing at an impressive height of 13,796 feet, Mauna Kea provides a challenging yet rewarding adventure for those seeking an unforgettable hiking experience.

The journey to the summit begins with a drive along Saddle Road, which takes you through stunning volcanic landscapes and diverse ecological zones. As you ascend, the air gets thinner, and the temperature drops significantly, so adequate preparation and acclimatization are crucial.

Once you reach the trailhead, you’ll embark on a rigorous hike that traverses rugged terrain and lava fields. The trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including lava tubes, cinder cones, and the vast Pacific Ocean stretching out into the horizon. Along the way, you may encounter unique flora and fauna that have adapted to the mountain’s harsh conditions. It’s important to stay on the marked trail to preserve the delicate ecosystem.

As you make your way towards the summit, you’ll witness the gradient of colors in the sky as the sun sets behind the clouds. The ethereal beauty of this natural spectacle is unparalleled, and it’s an experience that will stay with you forever. Remember to pack warm clothing, as temperatures can drop below freezing at the summit, and bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the hike.

Hi’ilawe Falls in the Waipio Valley on the Big Island

Embark on a journey to the remote and sacred Hi’ilawe Falls in the Waipio Valley on the Big Island, where a hike through breathtaking landscapes unveils the beauty of this sacred waterfall. Nestled deep within the lush tropical rainforest, Hi’ilawe Falls is an enchanting sight to behold, cascading down a towering cliff into a turquoise pool below.

As you venture along the trail towards the falls, you’ll be surrounded by the vibrant colors and scents of the Hawaiian flora. The trail takes you through dense vegetation, providing a sense of seclusion and tranquility. The murmuring sounds of nature accompany your every step, creating a serene ambience that enhances the mystical allure of the journey.

Upon reaching Hi’ilawe Falls, prepare to be captivated by its majestic beauty. The glistening waters plunge from a height of approximately 1,450 feet, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Hawaii. The sight is truly awe-inspiring, as the sunlight dances on the cascading water, creating a mesmerizing display of nature’s power and grace.

While the Hi’ilawe Falls hike is a rewarding adventure, it’s important to note that it is considered a remote hike, and access may be limited at times. The trail can be challenging, so it’s advisable to be well-prepared with proper hiking gear and sufficient water. Additionally, out of respect for the cultural significance of the falls, visitors are urged to be mindful and adhere to any access restrictions or guidelines set by the local authorities.

Trail Name Island Key Features
Hi’ilawe Falls in the Waipio Valley Big Island Remote hike, sacred waterfall

Embarking on the Hi’ilawe Falls hike is a remarkable experience that immerses you in the natural wonders of Hawaii. The journey to this sacred waterfall in the Waipio Valley unveils the island’s untamed beauty and allows you to connect with the rich cultural heritage of the Hawaiian people. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your camera, and prepare to be enchanted by the captivating allure of Hi’ilawe Falls.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike on Oahu

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike on Oahu treats hikers to awe-inspiring views of Lanikai Beach’s turquoise waters and the picturesque Mokulua Islands, making it an unforgettable adventure. This moderately challenging trail is approximately 2.5 miles round trip and offers breathtaking panoramas at every turn.

As you ascend the trail, you’ll encounter two World War II-era pillboxes, which were once military lookout points. These pillboxes now serve as vantage points for capturing stunning photographs of the surrounding natural beauty. From the top, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of Lanikai Beach, known for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear water, as well as the iconic Mokulua Islands, which are often visited by kayakers and paddlers.

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a local favorite due to its accessibility and incredible scenery. The trail is well-maintained but can be steep in some sections, so it’s recommended to wear sturdy shoes and bring water. It’s also worth noting that parking in the residential area near the trailhead can be limited, so arriving early is advised.

Trail Highlights:

  • Spectacular views of Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands
  • Two historic World War II pillboxes serving as lookout points
  • Accessible trail with moderate difficulty
  • Well-maintained path, but sturdy shoes and water are recommended
  • Limited parking in the residential area, so arrive early
Trail Name Location Distance
Lanikai Pillbox Hike Oahu Approximately 2.5 miles

Why Are the Hiking Trails in Colorado Considered the Best?

Colorado’s best hiking trails offer a pure connection with nature. With diverse landscapes like the Rocky Mountains, Alpine meadows, and stunning waterfalls, these trails promise breathtaking views. Whether it’s conquering the challenging terrain of Maroon Bells or following the brilliant wildflower trails of Crested Butte, the best hiking trails in colorado transport adventurers to a world of unparalleled beauty and adventure.


Hawaii’s diverse hiking trails, from the enchanting waterfalls to the volcanic landscapes, provide unmatched experiences for outdoor enthusiasts, making it a must-visit destination for hikers seeking extraordinary adventures in paradise.

Among the top 10 best hiking trails in Hawaii, the Kalalau Trail on Kauai offers breathtaking views of the Na Pall Coast and leads hikers to the pristine Kalalau Beach. On Oahu, Kaena Point is a spiritual place with a serene beach and a lighthouse, providing a perfect spot for wildlife viewing. The Diamond Head Trail on Oahu allows hikers to climb the volcanic Diamond Head for stunning panoramic views of the Hawaiian coast.

For those seeking a challenge, the Koko Crater Trail on Oahu consists of steep stairs and rewards hikers with panoramic views of Diamond Head and the lava-rocked beaches below. The Manoa Falls Trail on Oahu leads to the awe-inspiring Manoa Falls, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail on Oahu provides scenic views of the Kaiwi Coast, and lucky hikers may even spot dolphins or whales.

On Oahu, the Pearl Harbor Historic Trail takes visitors on a historical walk through the Pacific National Monument and the Pacific Aviation Museum, offering glimpses into the rich history of the area. The Mauna Kea hike on the Big Island leads hikers to the highest mountain in Hawaii, where they can witness breathtaking sunsets above the clouds. In the remote Waipio Valley on the Big Island, the Hi’ilawe Falls hike leads to a sacred waterfall, providing a unique and spiritual experience. Finally, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike on Oahu offers incredible views of Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands.

While these trails offer amazing experiences, it is important to note that some of them may have specific restrictions or safety concerns. It is always advisable to check with local guides or authorities before embarking on any hike. So, get your hiking boots ready and explore the natural wonders of Hawaii!


Q: Are these hiking trails suitable for beginners?

A: While some of the hiking trails on this list may be more challenging, there are also options available for beginners. It’s important to research and choose the trails that match your fitness level and experience. Always start with shorter, easier trails and gradually work your way up to more difficult ones.

Q: Are there any age restrictions for these hiking trails?

A: Most of the hiking trails in Hawaii do not have specific age restrictions. However, it’s essential to consider the difficulty level, length, and terrain of each trail before bringing children or older adults. Always prioritize safety and choose trails that are suitable for everyone in your group.

Q: Are permits required for these hiking trails?

A: Some of the hiking trails, such as the Kalalau Trail and Mauna Kea Hike, do require permits. It’s crucial to check with local authorities or guides to determine if permits are necessary for the specific trails you plan to explore. Obtaining the required permits in advance will ensure a smooth and legal hiking experience.

Q: What time of year is best for hiking in Hawaii?

A: Hawaii offers excellent hiking conditions year-round. However, the best time for hiking may vary depending on the specific trail and the weather patterns of each island. Generally, the dry season from April to October is considered ideal for hiking. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before embarking on your hike.

Q: Are there any safety precautions I should take while hiking in Hawaii?

A: Yes, safety should always be a priority when hiking in Hawaii. Here are a few essential precautions to consider: – Stay hydrated and bring enough water for your entire hike. – Apply sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun. – Wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the specific trail conditions. – Carry a map, compass, and a fully charged cell phone for emergencies. – Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for wildlife or hazardous terrain. – Let someone know your hiking plans and estimated return time. – Stay on designated trails and respect any signage or restrictions. – Check for any potential trail closures or warnings before setting out. Following these safety precautions will help ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience in Hawaii.

Q: Can I bring my dog on these hiking trails?

A: While dogs are allowed on some hiking trails in Hawaii, it’s important to check the specific trail regulations beforehand. Some trails may require dogs to be leashed, and others may have restrictions or bans on dogs altogether. Always be considerate of other hikers and follow any pet-related rules to ensure a positive hiking experience for everyone.

Q: Are there restroom facilities available along these hiking trails?

A: Restroom facilities along the hiking trails in Hawaii can vary. Some trails may have designated restroom areas, while others may not have any facilities available. It’s advisable to plan accordingly and use restroom facilities before starting your hike. Additionally, carrying toilet paper and practicing Leave No Trace principles will help minimize environmental impact and ensure a clean trail for all hikers.

Q: Can I camp along these hiking trails?

A: Camping availability depends on the specific hiking trail. Certain trails, like the Kalalau Trail, offer camping opportunities, but permits and reservations may be required. It’s essential to research and plan ahead if you intend to camp along a hiking trail. Be sure to check the regulations, obtain necessary permits, and adhere to any guidelines or restrictions set by the local authorities.

Q: Are there guided tours available for these hiking trails?

A: Yes, guided tours are available for many of these hiking trails. Booking a guided tour can be a great option, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area or prefer the expertise of a knowledgeable guide. Guided tours can provide valuable insights, enhance safety, and offer unique experiences along the trail. Check with local tour operators or visitor centers for more information on guided tours for specific hiking trails.

Q: Can I swim or snorkel at the beaches along these hiking trails?

A: Yes, several of these hiking trails lead to stunning beaches where swimming or snorkeling is possible. However, it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of the water conditions, currents, and any potential hazards. Always follow lifeguard instructions and choose beaches that are safe for swimming or snorkeling. Depending on the season and location, certain beaches may have rough surf or strong currents, so it’s essential to prioritize your safety while enjoying these natural wonders.

Q: What should I bring with me when hiking these trails?

A: When hiking these trails, it’s important to pack essential items to ensure a comfortable and safe experience. Here are some recommended items to bring: – Ample water and hydration supplies – Snacks or light meals – Sunscreen and a hat – Insect repellent – Sturdy hiking shoes or boots – Weather-appropriate clothing (layers for changing conditions) – A backpack to carry your belongings – Trail maps, compass, or GPS device – A fully charged cell phone for emergencies – First aid kit and any necessary medications – Trash bags for proper waste disposal Remember to pack responsibly, following Leave No Trace principles, to maintain the beauty and preservation of these hiking trails.

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