The Best Hikes for Each Skill Level in Oahu Hawaii

Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Oahu Hawaii
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Best Oahu Hikes

Within the 597 square miles of land on Oahu are 241 listed hiking trails on AllTrails. With so many hikes to choose from, all of varying levels, it’s hard to choose which to do during your Hawaii vacation.

It would be difficult to try all 241 hikes, but over the years I have tried my fair share of Oahu hikes and have created your Oahu hiking guide to find the perfect hike for you and your hiking experience.

Manoa Falls Trail
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Manoa Falls

Skill Level – Easy

Manoa Falls is a heavily trafficked, easily marked, and short trail to a beautiful waterfall hike in Oahu. Only a short distance from Honolulu, Manoa Falls is a top hike to do on the island.

The hike is about 1.7 miles with a 633 foot elevation gain. The trail is short, and doesn’t offer many overlooks or vistas to check out on the way to the waterfall, but gives hikers a sense of a true Hawaiian hike without venturing too far.

Manoa Falls is an extremely popular hike, making it hard to get a good shot of the waterfall without others in it. It is not an off the beaten path hike but you are surrounded by many other hikers and park workers to make it a safe and enjoyable hike.

Other easy Oahu hikes include:

Lanikai Pillbox Hike Oahu Hawaii
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Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Skill Level – Moderate

Another highly Instagramed and popular hike on Oahu, the Lanikai Pillbox hike, is perfect for hikers with some experience ready to get off the paved path.

A pillbox is a previously used military bunker and there are multiple around this Hawaiian island. Now out of commission, these pillboxes mark some of the most scenic views on Oahu.

The Lanikai Pillbox hike has become very popular in recent years, making it hard to find a parking spot. Not many people know that this hike actually has two trailheads, with one being far less known than the other. Check out this link to find the hidden route.

Other moderate Oahu hikes include:

Makapu'u Tide Pools
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Makapu’u Tide Pools AKA Dragon’s Breath

Skill Level – Hard

The Oahu hiking trail hard choice is the Makapu’u Tide Pools or more commonly known as Dragon’s Breath.

Officially closed to the public, the tide pools still host a large mass of people that hike the scraggy cliffside down from the lighthouse trail to the menacing tide pools and Dragon’s Breath Blowholes.

The route is short but treacherous, this should only be hiked by advanced hikers that know how to follow unmarked trails and are comfortable on small and unsteady ledges.

When at the tide pools, be sure to stay vigilant and alert to incoming waves.

Other hard Oahu hikes include:

Lanikai Pillbox
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Oahu Hiking Tips

Hawaii has prime hiking weather and conditions. These small but mountainous and volcanic islands are a hikers playground. Each islands is so diverse in its own way with so many climates and views to enjoy throughout.

A few things to remember when hiking in Oahu is to always wear good shoes. The hikes are short but require much more than expected. It is good to wear a good pair of hiking shoes, boots, or sandals.

Always prepare for rain in Hawaii, it does not storm much but the rain comes often leaving trails wet and slippery. Bring weather appropriate clothing to stay dry and comfy with the mist.

This is a small island getaway location but it is a very real home to over a million people. Respect the locals and what they have created and protect on the islands.

And always, always while hiking, follow the seven Leave No Trace principles, listed below.

  • Plan Ahead & Prepare
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Makapuu Tide Pools
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Bonus Hits

Hiking Hawaii Pinterest Pin
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Manoa Falls Oahu
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  1. Taylor
    August 25, 2021 / 8:30 pm

    I just want to let you know that you’re the cutest thing. That’s all. (:

    • rachel
      August 26, 2021 / 1:57 pm

      You are the sweetest! <3

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