The Hawaiian Islands are not only home to magnificent beaches, but world-class hiking as well. And with near-perfect summer weather year-round, there’s nowhere better to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails than our beautiful islands. From panoramic vistas and stunning gardens to cascading waterfalls and unique lava formations, these 11 easy and jaw-dropping hikes should undoubtedly be added to your
Hawaii hiking bucket list.
1. Kaiwi Shoreline Trail, Oahu
Instead of heading to the paved Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail, veer right at the trailhead and take the dirt path that leads down to the ocean, Kaho‘ohaihai Inlet, Pele's Chair, and beyond. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles long round trip, and will surely leave you feeling at peace with the world.
2. Wai Koa Loop Trail, Kauai
The easy 5-mile Wai Koa Loop Trail meanders through the Wai Koa Plantation, by serene lagoons, a historic dam, and a majestic mahogany forest. Ideal for everyone from running enthusiasts to families with young children, the trail is relatively flat, and can be easily walked in two to three hours.
3. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii Island
This 1.5-mile trail meanders through a beautiful botanical garden, home to more than 2,000 species of flora. For a longer trek, consider taking the 2.5-mile round trip donkey trail to Onomea Bay and Turtle Cove.
4. Waimea Valley, Oahu
An area of historic cultural significance, the Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden is home to 35 distinct plant collections, with one of the most impressive collections of Polynesian plants in existence. The main trail is approximately 1.5 miles round trip, and is entirely paved, with plenty of unpaved offshoots to check out along the way. You can even pay $1 for a tram ride to true highlight of the valley: the lovely 45-foot Waimea Falls, an idyllic spot for a family swim.
5. Waihou Spring Trail, 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.
6. Kolekole Pass, Oahu
Located on Schofield Barracks and accessible only on designated weekends by DoD cardholders and their guests, Kolekole Pass is an incredibly short 20-minute hike that features magnificent, panoramic views of Oahu’s leeward coast. To be honest, this is one of my favorite trails on the island - though that might simply be because I live only 15 minutes away from the trailhead.
7. Lava Tree State Monument, Hawaii Island
A 17-acre park that features a forest of lava trees, the result of a lava flow in 1790 that swept through the forest, leaving behind lava molds of the tree trunks. The park is free to visit, and features a 0.7-mile loop path and picnic tables.
8. Puu Hinahina Lookout Loop, Kauai
For a short and sweet hike in Kauai's Koke'e State Park and incredible views of the unparalled beauty that is Waimea Canyon, consider the Puu Hinahina Lookout trail, a 1.7 loop trail full of wildflowers, and perfect for pups and children.
9. Kapalua Coastal Trail, Maui
Part boardwalk, part meandering waterfront path, and all incredible, the Kapalua Coastal Trail is perfect for those of all skill levels, including small children. The trail begins at Kapalua Beach before meandering down the shoreline to Namalu Bay, across Oneloa Bay’s sand dunes, and through the Ritz-Carlton before arriving at D.T. Fleming Beach Park.
10. Manoa Falls, Oahu
Located approximately 7,000 feet above sea level in Polipoli State Park is this forest is populated by redwood trees that were brought to Hawaii in the 1920s to re-establish the watershed. The popular Redwood Trail is 1.7 miles, and guides hikers through a forest of baby Redwood trees, and is the access point for many other trails.
11. Ha’akulamanu Trail, Hawaii 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. This 1.2 mile hiking trail leads adventurers through sulphur banks along a paved boardwalk, where steaming vents, colorful mineral deposits abound.
What is your favorite Hawaii hike? If you’re not sure where to go on your next hiking adventure, why not try
these 10 alternatives to some of the islands’ most popular hikes?