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 to cascading waterfalls, these 13 short and sweet hikes will lead you to truly unforgettable views.
1. Pali Puka, Oahu
This short and sweet hike begins at the Nu’uanu Pali State Wayside and leads you through a bamboo forest, along a (relatively safe) ridgeline, a cutout in the mountain, and splendiferous views of the windward coast and the Pacific Ocean.
2. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, Maui
This stunning red sand beach on Maui’s eastern coast is one of only a few red sand beaches in the world. You’ll have to access the stunning beach via a short, overgrown cliff-side trail, and the water is rough, but the views are well worth the effort.
3. Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, Kauai
This easy coastal trek leads to the stunning Maha’ulepu Beach and other points of cultural significance. The entire trail is four miles round trip, but features jaw-dropping views the entire way and is still easy enough to be considered sweet — but maybe just not as short as others.
4. Pololu Valley, Hawaii Island
Often bypassed for other lookout points on the Big Island is Pololu Valley, perhaps due to the fact that you must drive to the end of Highway 270 to reach this picturesque location. If you do make the drive out here, don’t settle for the views from the lookout — definitely take the time to hike the Awini Trail that leads down to the stunning black sand beach. The half-hour hike is steep at times, but the views — and the destination — are well worth it.
5. Waimano Falls & Pools, Oahu
This easy 3-mile round trip trail begins at the top of the Pacific Palisades in Pearl City and leads hikers on a muddy journey to a cascading waterfall — but only if it rained the night before. Here, you will find a rope swing 100 percent worth the portion of the trail referred to as "Cardiac Hill."
6. Papakolea Green Sand Beach, Hawaii 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 — and the dangerous offshore waters make it one of the best spots for shoreline fishing. This is one of the longer hikes on our list, but luckily, if you’re too tired once you reach the beach, you can pay a local for a ride in the back of a pickup to the trailhead.
7. Twin Falls, Maui
Also known as Hololawa Falls, these twin waterfalls are the first notable attraction on Maui’s Hana Highway coming from the north. Many guidebooks will argue that the falls are not worth the hike, but we tend to disagree. While the falls are short, the picturesque pools are quite lovely.
8. Kolekole Pass, Oahu
The entire out-and-back hike is located on a military base on Oahu, and traverses through the forest for little more than 1-mile round trip, and takes less than 45 minutes to complete — not including the time you spend marveling at the views. Kolekole is open to all DOD cardholders and their guests. If you are not a DOD cardholder, you can access the trail through the Lyman gate off of Kunia Road.
9. Pu’u Hinahina Lookout Loop, Kauai
For a short and sweet hike in Kauai's Koke'e State Park and incredible views of the unparalleled 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.
10. Lake Waiau, Hawaii Island
Located at 13,000 feet above sea level on the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, Lake Waiau is arguably one of the highest lakes in all of the United States. However, it is also relatively small, measuring in at just about 100 meters across. To reach this sacred lake, visitors will have to take a short, one-mile walk, found near Mauna Kea’s astronomy domes.
11. Manoa Falls, Oahu
Just miles from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu is the lush Manoa Valley, and this beautiful 2-mile round trip hike through bamboo and banyan trees leads to a picturesque waterfall — and in less than 45 minutes one way.
12. Olivine Pools Trail, Maui
Though the journey to reach these picturesque tide pools is short, it can be slippery, and the pools themselves can be dangerous — we'd maybe stick to just teens and adults on this trail for that reason.
13. Lanikai Pillboxes, Oahu
A short hike up to three old U.S. Marine pillboxes on Oahu’s east side provide views of Kailua Bay, Kaneohe and beyond. This one-mile hike not only provides stunning views of Windward Oahu — but a glimpse into World War II history as well. During the 1940s, the structures were equipped with telescopes, and soldiers would keep watch for enemy ships and send all relevant information back to Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station.
What is your favorite Hawaii hike? If you’re not sure where to go on your next hiking adventure, why not consider one of http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/hawaii/short-hikes-hi/
these 11 trails under five miles?