With countless amazing hiking trails across the Hawaiian Islands, it can be difficult to make a decision on where you will go this weekend. From coastal paths and rainforests to ridgelines, craters, and waterfalls, these 12 trails are the definition of the perfect Hawaiian hike.
1) Lulumahu Falls, Oahu
A bamboo forest, a field that will remind you of The Sound of Music, a jungle trail, and a stunning waterfall… Could you ask for anything more in a hike? This trail encompasses so many gorgeous aspects of our Hawaiian landscapes, and it’s a relatively easy two-mile trail. This is the hike we take all visitors on when they vacation on Oahu.
2) Waihou Spring Trail Loop, Maui
This trail, located in Upcountry Maui at the end of Piiholo Road, leads hikers through a Cypress, Eucalyptus, native Hawaiian Koa, and Halapepe forest. The upper trail is perfect for families, while the lower trail is reserved for more experienced hikers.
3) Sleeping Giant Hike, Kauai
Two different trailheads and routes, both of which are fairly difficult, lead 1,200 feet up Nounou Mountain through a forested area, with panoramic views from the summit. This is the spot that's referred to as the chest of the mythical “sleeping giant.”
4) Kilauea Iki Trail, Big Island
Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is this wildly popular 4-mile loop trail through the Kilauea Iki crater, the site of a massive 1959 volcanic eruption. The trail – which takes hikers through lush rainforests, near active steam and sulfur vents, and across a solidified lava lake – was voted as the Big Island’s favorite scenic hiking trail by Hawaii Magazine.
5) Ehukai Pillboxes, Oahu
A steep climb through the forest – over tree roots and rocks – up to two old military “pillboxes” will surely satisfy your need for nature. And if not, the trails at the top of the hike are beautiful, albeit confusing – I once got lost roaming around these trails, ran out of water and then somehow, after at least an hour of wandering, found my way back to the actual trail.
6) Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, Maui
Located approximately 7,000 feet above sea level, this park features an extensive trail system, ranging in length from .6 to 7 miles. The popular Redwood Trail is 1.7 miles, and guides hikers through a forest of baby Redwood trees. It's the access point for many other trails.
7) Waimea Canyon, Kauai
Choose from 45-miles of hiking trails along Kauai’s Na Pali bluffs, into Waimea Canyon, or even through rainforest bogs, depending on what type of adventure you seek.
8) Papakolea Beach, Big Island
A 2.5 mile trail brings hikers to Papakolea Beach, also known as Green Sand Beach, the southernmost point in the United States. The trail is reserved for pedestrians and four-wheel drive vehicles. The dangerous offshore waters make it one of the best spots for shoreline fishing.
9) Aiea Loop, Oahu
This 4.8-mile trail provides stunning views of Honolulu and H3, but also makes you feel as though you're a world away from the busy city. You will spend your journey walking through the forest, ducking under fallen trees, watching out for tree roots, and maybe – if you’re a little bit crazy – running the flat portions of the trail. This is a kid and dog-friendly hike perfect for a family trip.
10) Haleakala National Park, Maui
There are three major trails that lead from the summit of Haleakala down to the Paliku Cabin: the Kaupo Gap Trail, which begins at approximately 6,000 feet above sea level and ends at 300 feet: the 10 mile sliding sands trail that descends through several miles of loose cinder: and Halemauu, which leads from the west side of the crater, down to the floor, and then another six miles to the Paliku cabin. Many people camp in the state park, and these long trails are only recommended for serious hikers.
Perhaps one of the most famous hikes on the island of Kauai, this rugged 11-mile trek is challenging, even for those in killer shape.
12) Thurston Lava Tube, Big Island
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to more than 150 miles of hiking trails, from easy walks to hikes recommended only for experienced hikers in top physical shape. The 20-minute walk to Thurston Lava Tube is definitely easy, but the 500-foot cave-like tunnel is one of the most unique experiences you'll have in Hawaii.
What is your favorite Hawaiian hiking trail? Which trail do you plan to explore next? Tell us in the comments below!