Oahu is home to some amazing hikes that showcase views of the best parts of Hawaii. Most hikes in Hawaii are considered more strenuous than those in the mainland United States, so you should be in good physical condition before attempting these hikes. As always, wear appropriate footwear, carry a cell phone and plenty of water, and never hike alone.
Unfortunately, the parking areas near trailheads are commonly high-theft areas, so never leave valuables in your car. Once you've taken a few simple precautions, you're ready to begin your adventure on these top hikes in Oahu.
Nestled between Kailua and Waimanalo, Olomana is a series of three steep peaks with sweeping views of the windward side of Oahu. Olomana means "divided hill" in Hawaiian and is an appropriate description for these distinct peaks.
Considered a moderate to advanced hike, this hike should only be attempted by experienced hikers. The total hike is about 2.5 miles and contains several steep sections where you must boulder up rocks and rely on the ropes.
The best view is from the first peak, and the 360-degree view is well worth the strenuous climb to the top. Due to dangerous conditions, it is not recommended to continue beyond the first peak, and several people have died going beyond this point. Please continue on only if you are a very experienced hiker.
To access the trail, park outside the Luana Hills Golf Course, walk up the road and follow the signs. Ask the guard at the golf course about the trail conditions.
Lanikai Pillbox Trail
If you're looking for a less treacherous hike with similar sweeping views, the Lanikai Pillbox Trail may be perfect for you. Located just east of Kailua in the Lanikai community, the pillbox trail traces a ridge and passes two World War II bunkers (pillboxes).
The hike is commonly attempted as an out-and-back, and it only takes about 30 minutes to get to the farthest pillbox. The first five minutes of the trail are undoubtedly the hardest, consisting of an extremely steep climb up a dirt hill. The rest of the hike is exposed and can be quite hot on a sunny day, but the views and cooling breeze at the top provides a perfect opportunity to pause and enjoy the beauty of Oahu.
The top of the hike offers sweeping views of Kailua and Waimanalo. On a clear day, you can even see Molokai. To access the trail, park along Kaelepulu Drive and look for the trailhead on the left side of the street.
On the far western side of Oahu lies the Kaena Point nature reserve, one of the largest seabird nesting colonies in the main Hawaiian Islands. The reserve is home to albatross, shearwaters, dozens of species of native and migratory shorebirds and endangered plants.
Because this is a nature preserve, the only way to access it is by foot. It is best to drive in from the west side of the island, although you can also access it from northern roads. The trail is fairly exposed and can be hot, so make sure you have plenty of water and sun protection.
To access the west-side trail, take the Farrington Highway until it ends at the trailhead. The out-and-back trail is fairly easy and flat and is approximately four miles.