There are plenty of famous things to do in Hawaii like surfing, snorkeling, eating, and just being lazy on the beach!
One of the more overlooked attractions is the beautiful hiking opportunities that all the Hawaiian islands present.
The Hawaiian archipelago is a chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean created by volcanoes.
Sharp jagged mountains, dramatic cliffs, beaches, rocky coastlines, and a gorgeous tropical flora and fauna are a few of the aspects that add to the beauty of Hawaii.
On the island of Oahu, the leeward side of the island is the drier side that receives far less rain than the windward side which seems to almost constantly be drizzling.
The two differentiating climates of the island make it possible to take a hike in almost desert conditions or in mountains surrounded by misty tropical rain forest.
While Oahu, The Big Island, Maui and Kaui’i all have fabulous hiking routes and national parks, most of my hiking experience is right on the most populous island of Oahu.
Here are a few hikes I was able to enjoy on my last trip to Oahu.
Round Top / Tantalus
Just moments from central Honolulu, Tantalus is a convenient place to hike and offers the perfect green escape from city life. While many tourists and locals choose to drive to the top for the picture perfect view of the city of Honolulu, not so many opt to hike to the top.
The trail is quiet and relaxing, and being surrounded by trees and plants, it’s easy to forget you’re still so close to a city of a million.
As soon as you emerge at the top of Tantalus, you’ll remember how close you are to the city and be grateful to be taking such an amazing hike!
Koko Head Crater Hike
For a hardcore dose of exercise, Koko Head Crater makes the heart race! Formerly a military bunker and lookout, the trail follows a railroad supply track straight up the side of the cone shaped crater.
In good shape it’s possible to scale the beast in around 20 minutes, but feeling the effects of eating all the Hawaiian food, it may take up to 45 minutes.
At the top, the views of Honolulu, the mountains, and the zigzagging coastline, are remarkable to see and justify every single step to the top. Koko Head Crater is on the leeward side of Oahu, making it a dry, but nevertheless wonderful hike!
The trip to the breathtaking Makapu’u Lighthouse is not really a hike, but more of a leisurely walk that winds its way up the side of a small hill on the very southeastern part of the island.
One of the highlights of Makapu’u point is the whale watching opportunities. Last time I went, it was luckily a very clear day, and we were able to see two humpback whales breaching not so far away from the coast. It was incredible to watch.
Though the trail doesn’t exactly provide any opportunities for being solo in nature (due to lots of other hikers), the scenery makes it worthwhile!
There are many more hiking routes located throughout all the islands of Hawaii and Oahu, but these are just the few I was able to do on my last visit.
When you visit Hawaii, be sure to enjoy relaxing on the beach, but also take a day to do some hiking and see the incredible beauty the islands have to offer.