Hiking is a favorite way for our family to travel and explore a new area. It’s a fantastic way to create memories while surrounded by natural beauty. Even here at home, we hike to escape the hustle of everyday life with an escape into nature. If you have a family who loves to hike (tolerates it?), I curated a list of the best hikes near Waikiki Beach.
It’s a journey that takes you from the vibrant energy of Waikiki to the serene tranquility of the Koolau Mountains, offering a memorable adventure amid nature’s splendor. And you’re spoiled for choice. The best hikes near Waikiki Beach include a variety of options from wind-swept ridges to delicate waterfalls and coastal strolls.
The best part is the sense of adventure that hiking in Oahu brings. Each trail is a new journey, a new opportunity to connect with your family and make incredible memories. So, grab your hiking gear, pack some snacks, and head out with your loved ones for an unforgettable adventure in Oahu’s stunning landscapes!
Below, I list my personal recommendations for the best hikes near Waikiki Beach. They are unofficially ranked from most adventurous – with a rating of “5” – to least adventurous with a rating of “1” (one being more of a stroll than a hike). Last time, I summarized my favorite family-friendly hikes on the windward side. This time, I’m focusing on hikes around Waikiki and Honolulu.
The Kuliouou Ridge trail is a summit hike! It’s a long uphill grind to the top, but you’re rewarded with epic views of town, Diamond Head and the Windward Coast. Native vegetation near the summit is a bonus.
Waahila ridge is adjacent to Manoa Valley and the University of Hawaii. The hike is a fun little out and back trail. There’s a nice park at the trailhead with valley views and it’s never crowded.
The Kalawahine Trail is one of many in the Honolulu Mauka Trail System. You can mix and match trails here and hike for days if you like. When we lived in town we would hike from our home in Makiki over to Manoa Falls and take the bus home.
The Lulumahu falls trail has become increasingly popular in recent years because it’s one of the few accessible waterfall hikes. It’s lovely, and not too challenging but crowded.
The Judd trail is an easy (often muddy) loop that takes you over a stream and through different vegetation types. It was a favorite when the kids were small and we often get permits to harvest our Christmas trees here. There’s a side trail to Jackass ginger pool where you can slide or jump into the pool below .
The quintessential hike to Diamond Head has happily become less crowded with the new reservation system. You should hike it at least once for the great views of Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, and the Waianae mountain range in the distance. You really feel like you’re on an island here.
The Manoa Falls trail is a well-maintained, easy ascent to a tall waterfall. It’s proximity to Waikiki and easy access make it the most popular waterfall hike on Oahu, but it’s lush and lovely and worth a visit. It also connects to the Kalawahini trail via the mauka trail system if you want to escape the crowds and continue exploring.
The Aiea Loop Trail, nestled in the lush forests of Oahu, offers a 4.8-mile loop of moderate hiking, featuring captivating vistas, enchanting bamboo groves, and a serene ambiance. As you meander through the trail, you’ll encounter rich biodiversity, including native Hawaiian plants and birdlife, making it a nature lover’s paradise.
When hiking in Oahu, expect a variety of trail conditions ranging from exposed, sunny ridges to more rugged and slippery terrain (especially during rainy winter months). Additionally, be prepared for potential changes in weather, including sudden rain showers, so it’s a good idea to bring a light rain jacket and a light jacket.
Waikiki does not suffer from a lack of restaurants. It can be hard to choose among so many options so here are a few personal favorites to explore after checking out one of the best hikes near Waikiki beach.
What’s better than a post-hike dip in the ocean after taking one of the best hikes near Waikiki Beach? Check out some of my family-friendly favorites to complete your best day on Oahu.
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