Oahu has an extensive trail system, and the vast majority of the hiking trails on Oahu are FREE!
There are tons of hikes on Oahu, and some are more dangerous than others.
The list of these Oahu hikes that are located on the east side of Oahu (aka windward Oahu) can be perfect for first-time visitors to Hawaii.
But no matter what, you should make sure that you are a prepared hiker.
This can include being sure to bring along adequate water and snacks.
You’ll basically want to prepare for a hot weather hike.
So these hikes can make for a perfect morning activity.
Then, in the afternoon, you can head to one of the best beaches on Oahu as part of your recovery.
The list: Best hikes on the east side of Oahu
ALL of these trails come with AMAZING views.
Really, with each of these hikes you do, there is a very good chance you will LOVE the views!
Unless of course, you live on an island and are used to such views on a daily basis. 😉 But even then, you will probably love the views.
All of these require hiking up a hill, so you should at least be in decent shape before attempting any of these.
So, if you need a reason to love Hawaii, here are 5 reasons!
1. Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
This is a paved trail that’s basically right along the coast much of the way.
It can be good hike to do if you’re looking for one to do with a stroller.
If it’s whale season, be sure to do this trail if you won’t be doing a whale tour. This is said to be one of the best places on Oahu to be for a chance to see whales.
2. Lanikai Pillbox Hike
This is the hike that you do for the famous views of the picture perfect twin islands aka the Mokulua island aka the Mokes.
You can do a shortened version of this starting ocean side and heading straight up to the pillboxes and back down, and you can do the full Kaiwa Ridge Trail that goes across the mountain range.
This pillbox hike is right near Lanikai Beach, and Kailua Beach also makes for a good choice to go after this hike.
3. Puu Maelieli Trail
If you want to do a trail that not many tourists do, this is one such trail.
This trail is just across the street from Byodo-In Temple.
4. Koko Crater Trail
Despite being a relatively short trail in terms of distance, this is probably the most strenuous out of all the hikes on this list.
The Koko Head Hike has also been called the nature’s stairmaster, as it’s quite literally a straight shot up the mountain (crater) climbing a whole bunch of stairs.
There’s nearly no shade on this trail, and you must be sure you bring your own water!
And there’s a good chance you’ll stop and rest (a lot).
But, the views once you reach the top are amazing!
5. Kuliouou Ridge Trail
This is the longest trail on this list.
This is another trail that not many visitors to Hawaii do.
You’ll want to make sure you have 3-4 hours to complete this hike.
What to pack for Hawaii?!
For hiking in Hawaii…
- Hiking sandals (for women and for men) will do for most trails in Hawaii!
- But trail running shoes (for women and for men) or hiking shoes (for women and for men) work too!
And the quick packing list for snorkeling in Hawaii:
- Sun shirts with UV protection (for women and for men) so you have to wear less sunscreen
- Popular water shoes (for women and for men) for the hidden rocks on the beach
- This standard snorkeling set
- This CHEAP way to make your phone waterproof so you can take amazing underwater photos!
- This type of waterproof pouch so you don’t need to leave valuables on the beach
- Sunscreen that’s NOT a part of the Hawaii sunscreen ban
And don’t forget the absolute BEST guide to making the most out of your Hawaii vacation – available for every Hawaiian island
HAPPY HIKING ON EAST OAHU!
If you're headed to Hawaii soon, see some ideas for top snorkeling essentials to pack for Hawaii, including why people wear a rash guard for snorkeling. And for Oahu travel tips, see this 3 day itinerary, this 2 week itinerary, and then some more things to do on Oahu.
And if you're headed to the Big Island, be sure to see things to do on the Big Island along with this 7 day itinerary that includes black sand beaches, waterfalls, a lava cave hike, turtles, beautiful beach hikes, and tons of scenic drives!