What are some good hikes on Oahu that are
- easy to get to
- beautiful and
- ok for kids?
What are some good hikes on Oahu that are
Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail is the best.
It is a wide paved trail so easy to walk up and down. Many locals hike there with babystroller and dogs as well.
The location is nearby Sea Life Park so it is a great view for the ocean and neaighbor islands. Yes, you can see Molokai if the weather is clear. During the winter season, you can see a Humpback Whale if you are lucky!
Enjoy your stay!
Hikes on Oahu - one of the easiest things to do and feel like you’ve seen/done something worthwhile.
Lanikai pillboxes in Kailua are a quick hike to do - amazing view of the Mokulua islands and Kailua bay. Street parking is not the easiest but if you go early, you have a better chance of finding a spot in the neighborhood. Can be crowded at times. Starts off decently steep, with some rocky outcrops, and the trail isn’t clearly marked but still manageable for most hikers. Can be windy/muddy. No guard rails for kids. Can take 20-45 mins depending on your pace. The view is totally worth it.
Diamond Head crater - technically a “hike” but inside the crater with no trees/flowing water and usually lots of people going up/down the narrow, rocky path, with varying types of footwear and physical abilities. There’s a steep flight of stairs, a dark tunnel and a round stairwell at the tight - so some tight fits at times. You climb out through the concrete structure at the top. Once out, the view is definitely worth it. Hang out at the look-out, drink some water, take some photos. 30-60 mins to get up to the top, depending on fast you’re going and how many people are on the trail. $1 for walk-ins, $5 for a car. Parking can sometimes be crowded but if you wait, a spot will always open up. Restrooms and shave ice available. Can be reached by walking from Waikiki and there’s also a bus stop out in front. It attracts a lot of tourists for its ease, location and cool view of the south shoreline.
Manoa Falls and Puu Pia in Manoa are good hikes for younger kids (7 or 8 although I’ve seen younger - depends on how patient you are). There’s mud (most of the time as Manoa is a wet place), a stream, lots of green canopy, lots of tree roots, some steepish spots (Puu Pia) and either a waterfall or a hilltop view at the end. Unfortunately no swimming in the pool. Manoa Falls is definitely a more crowded trail, but it’s easier to find and there’s a parking lot ($5). Puu Pia is off a neighborhood road in Manoa and involves street parking. There’s a bench to sit on at the final clearing and strawberry guavas at the top. People will occasionally hike their dogs.
Both hikes are approximately 30-60 mins one way. Most kid-friendly and jungle-like.
There are some longer, more difficult hikes going back along the Koolau ridgeline. One that is doable for families is Kuliouou trail (right before Hawaii Kai). Neighborhood street parking. It can be a long hike/several hours (it does go all the way back and overlooks Waimanalo on the Windward side) and there are no real views until you get to the very back (which is also the trickiest part of the hike - muddy, steep, windy). But if you’re just looking to get moving, it’s a nice hike with a lot of switchbacks in the beginning and coverage so you’re not in constant direct sun. You don’t have to go the full distance - there’s a picnic table that acts as a stopping spot/resting spot for a snack. I’d recommend long pants for the 2nd half of the trail as one’s legs can get fully scratched up People also take dogs on this hike, not always on their leash.
On any of these hikes, I’d recommend wearing good shoes for walking/climbing with the potential for mud and slipping; water - always a must; charged cell phone - along with letting someone know your hiking plans.
Thanks, that’s really helpful! How would you recommend getting there? Is it better to bus, taxi, or hire a car?
Thanks @LeahK, we heard that Lanikai Pillbox has been closed recently, do you know if it’s open yet?
Yes - the trail was closed for a couple of months while they repaired the pillboxes but everything’s been opened back up since the end of August.
Go to Makapu
u Lighthouse Trail -- the best is a car but there is not many parking spaces. The bus takes you to the Sea Life Park and walk back to the trail enterance about 15 min walking. The buses #22 and #23 are going from Waikiki to the Sea Life Park. #22 route is the best view along side, Kahala, Hawaii Kai, stop at Hanauma Bay parking, coast line of Lanikai Lookout, Blowhole, Sandy Beach, Kaiwi Coastline, Pele’s Chair, and Makapu`u, Rabbit Island and Kaneohe Bay view. Bus fare: round-trip (all day pass can use as many as you can ride) $5.50/adult and $2.75/child