When you think about an insiders scoop on a place, the culture, and some of its best, most beautiful, and easiest hikes around, you tend to think of someone that has spent a good amount of time in that particular place.
With that being said, you’re about to unpack some of Oahu’s greatest wisdom.
Jaro and Ivana, who have spent the past 17 years on this Island, have been left with an experience that is like no other. Exploring all of Oahu’s ridges, backpacking, taking both easy and difficult day hikes, finding uncharted waterfalls, and being left in utter bliss has given them the understanding of Hawaii’s unique and most beautiful landscape around.
You don’t have to huck yourself up a vertical rope, scale a sheer cliff, or go cliff jumping to discover some of the hidden gems around Oahu, but the island provides you with some of the easiest hiking spots, for both beginners and the advanced mountain climbers.
Even the islands easiest hikes for beginners can leave you with jaw dropping views.
All of the hikes listed below could be finished within a couple of hours, and are located all around the island, so you’re left with a whole cultural experience.
It really only takes about an hour to get to the other tip of the island, so you’re in luck. Here we go!
6 Beautiful Hikes on Oahu for Beginners
1. Manoa Falls Hike
Being about a fifteen-minute drive outside of Waikiki, Manoa Falls has been a favorite for many visitors who come to the island, not only because of the waterfall that is enveloped within the crevice of Manoa Valley, but because of some of the most beautiful lush green backdrops that have been known as epic spots for photos and videos.
“Jurassic Park” and “Lost” have both had parts of their film done here, for very clear reasons.
Manoa Falls is a fairly easy hike of about 1.6 miles. It should roughly take about one hour there and back, or a bit longer if you decided to take photo opportunities and stops on the way, and dip into the water below the waterfall (for the daring and adventurous).
Upon arriving at the waterfall after a jaw dropping walk with unique plants surrounding you, a bamboo forest, and a tree tunnel that you will pass on the way up, you will notice the waterfall flowing over a crevice in the mountain at about 150 feet tall. This waterfall leads to an Upper Manoa Falls, as well as 7 other waterfalls that take you up to the ridge that parts the island in half.
Many have dared to hike these waterfalls although it is extremely dangerous and have left there to be tragic incidents in the past.
The main Manoa Falls is a true gift to Hawaii, a perfect morning hike, and a must for visitors.
2. Crouching Lion Hike
Being left with one of the most breathtaking views of Kahana Bay, the town of Kaawa, and the ridges scaling the North-Eastern side of Oahu, this hike has been said to be one of the most beautiful but most rewarding hikes on Oahu.
The Crouching Lion Hike is a shorter but fairly steeper hike that would generally take anybody anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour to get to the top, and about the same amount of time on the way down.
This easy hike features a fairly steep dirt path that requires you to hold onto a rope on your way up as the dirt tends to be a bit muddy and slippery at times.
We would fully advise you to wear the right shoes with proper grip, as mostly everything is held to the ground by vegetation and gets fairly slippery. After a fairly short treck up to the top of the mountain, you will be greeted by, in my opinion, one of the most incredible views around the entire island, overlooking the ocean and the clear waters of the Hawaiian Islands.
What has made this one of the best hikes to do around the island for me has been the location of the hike. It is located about nine minutes from our favorite Tropical Macadamia Nut Farm on the island, as well as Kualoa Ranch which is one of the top rated places to visit on the island for its many unforgettable tours, its sacred native land, and experiences that they offer for anyone looking for a thrill. I personally did the ATV ride there around the ranch and it was unforgettable.
3. Diamond Head Hike
Being located a good five minutes outside of Waikiki, Diamond Head tends to be the first hike that many visitors do before going off on their island long adventure.
It is just a couple of miles outside of Kapiolani Regional Park, can be clearly spotted from that area, and tends to be visible from all along Waikiki Beach as well. You will begin the hike from the center of the crater, surrounded by nature and the rich history of this ancient Hawaiian volcano.
This beginner hike features a 1.6-mile round trip hike from the parking lot on the crater floor to the summit of the extinct volcano, which should take around one and a half hours for most to complete.
You will embark on an adventure over a paved path, which eventually turns to a dirt and rock path, a bit of a steeper ascent, leading you to a mystical cave, about 99 stairs that you will walk up, some older bunkers, and then you’re there!
Once you get to the summit of the mountain, you will be surrounded by a panoramic view that has been ranked as having the longest recorded land views in the world, at least on the clearest of days here on the island! Having a view of some of the West and Eastern Shore of the island, the 360-degree view that you are left with is surely breathtaking.
The lookout from the top showcases the city of Waikiki, the Ko’olau Mountain Range, all the way out to Waianae or the West Side, and stretching to Hawaii Kai and a clear view of Koko Crater.
This tends to be the more popular hike for people to do, making it culturally unique, as you get to meet and greet people from all around the world who are visiting the island, which is something special that we share on the island here, a feeling of Ohana and Aloha.
This should be one of the have-to’s on your list of hikes.
The panoramic views, a diverse set of people, and easy to hike path make this a favorite for all!
4. Makapu'u Lighthouse Hike
Ahhhh! Makapuu Lighthouse! It is like a breath of fresh air for many people on Oahu.
You will find some of the top hikers around the island who run up and down a few times, and the beginners who fall in love with some of the clearest and most beautiful ocean water that you will see from the top of the lookout, not to mention the picture perfect view that you get of Rabbit Island.
The red capped lighthouse at the top was built in 1909 to warn ships of the coastline, and has stood tall till today. The view of Waimanalo and the beaches stretching along the East Side, Rabbit Island, Koko Crater and Makapuu beach has given this hike a ranking as one of the most beautiful hikes for beginners on Oahu.
The beach down at Makapuu is known for some of the strongest shorebreak around the island (A favorite of Jaro’s surf spots), and located a few minutes from the world famous Sandy Beach, if you dare to enter the dangerous water.
Both of these beaches are known for taking lives and can be seen from the Makapuu hike.
This has been a favorite of our easier hikes to do on island because of the easy 1.5-mile paved walk that you take to the summit of the mountain, and the beautiful views that are tied to this package. It will take you about one hour to get to the top and about one hour down.
Did we mention Whale Watching? Come during December – March and you could get lucky enough to spot a humpback whale using the on-site telescopes that are located on your way up. You won’t be disappointed!
5. North Shore's Ehukai Pillbox Hike
You know the feeling you get when someone rewards you with something that you didn’t work your hardest for? This will be one of the shortest and easiest hikes you will embark during your trip out on the North Shore, if you are hungry for a beautiful panorama of the entire North Shore!
The North Shore’s Ehukai Pillbox hike starts to the left of Sunset Elementary School once you pull up to the parking lot.
The trail takes you up through the lush and stunning nature surrounding the North Shore. You should reach the top in just under 30 Minutes and get a beautiful view that you will remember for the rest of your life!
If you come during wave season, you could even watch Banzai Pipeline breaking in the ocean from the top of the mountain, and sneak a few photos too! This has been one of Jaro’s favorite adventures to embark on. He does it barefoot about half the time, and watches the sunset from what seems like the top of the North Shore!
Once you start your thrilling adventure, it will start of flat as you approach the mountain. Once you get closer to the mountain, the terrain will get a bit steeper and harder to walk on. Most people wear proper hiking shoes because it can get slippery from dirt or mud at times.
During the hike, you will be assisted by ropes that they have constructed for the wetter days! You will come up to a bench where you can enjoy the view of the world famous Banzai Pipeline, before making the rest of your trip up, and following the path that shortly leads to the pillbox.
If you choose to do it during the sunset, make sure you bring a flashlight in case you make it back in the dark.
But most of all, enjoy the stunning nature and view that this gem of a hike has to offer on the North Shore!
6. Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Many people all over Oahu would have to call Lanikai Pillbox Hike one of the best hiking trails on the island. This easy hike had been ranked so high for some very clear reasons as your adventure begins.
Located about one hour away from Waikiki, and nestled along the cliffs of Lanikai, you get a steady view of the Mokulua Islands which is well known for some of the craziest cliff jumpers around the island. You also get a view of the beautiful blue waters of Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach.
There are many other famous landmarks that you could spot along your journey such as Kaneohe Bay, Chinaman’s Hat, Waimanalo Bay, and Makapu’u Lighthouse which was mentioned in an earlier hike on this article.
This hike is an easy 1 hour on average roundtrip hike. You reach the first bunker in about 20 minutes and are left with an incredible view the entire time. If you are part of the 5 a.m. crew and enjoy a beautiful sunrise off of one of the most popular sunrise spots around the island, you’ll be left with a tear dropping scene.
Truly one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunrise on Oahu.
We didn’t just write this article for no reason, if you’re visiting Oahu for a short period of time and are trying to get some of the most beautiful views around, try your shot with our Top 6 Beautiful Hikes on Oahu for Beginners!
We promise you’ll be left with a face of amazement, that probably won’t go away till you leave the island, trust us. We have seen it before.
See you guys in the mountains! Aloha!