To those who visit and live in Oahu, the area has a seemingly endless supply of options for enjoying the great outdoors. While you are sure to enjoy virtually any trail that you explore in Oahu, here is a look at five must-see trails that will be sure to leave you breathless.
Trail #1: Diamond Head Crater Summit Trail
Diamond Head is quite possibly the most popular and well-known of Oahu’s natural attractions – and for good reason! With its amazing views, which includes being able to see the entire south shore of the island on a clear day, the trail attracts more than 1.3 million visitors every year.
To hike this trail, you will only need to walk 1.6 miles. Don’t let the short distance fool you, however, as the trail includes a quick 560-foot incline that consists of two sets of steep stairs. At the top of the trail, you will encounter a 225-foot unlit tunnel. From here, the path leads to inside the crater where you can explore what remains from a short-lived yet violent eruption that occurred 200,000 years ago.
Trail #2: Manoa Falls Trail
With Manoa Valley serving as its backdrop, the Manoa Falls Trail meanders through the valley’s forests and along its ridges. This nearly one-mile trail passes through rainforests and bamboo groves before ending at the base of a 150-foot waterfall nestled deep in the valley. Just five miles from urban Honolulu, the trail offers a gentle stroll through nature that feels like hundreds of miles from the city.
Trail #3: Stairway to Heaven
Known as the Haiku Stairs on Oahu, Stairway to Heaven consists of 3,922 stairs leading to a mountain ridge. With its steep vertical incline, the trail has nothing but a handrail to keep visitors from falling to the valley below. The stairs also have an interesting history dating back to 1942, when they were built by the U.S. navy as a top secret facility for transmitting radio signals to ships. The stairs weren’t open to the public until 1987.
Trail #4: Kaau Crater Hike
Boasting a huge crater, panoramic views, rope climbing and waterfalls, the Kaau Crater Hike offers hours of scenic hiking. This somewhat rigorous hike, which reaches an altitude of 2,500 feet and takes approximately 4 to 6 hours to complete, begins in the very back of Palolo Valley.
Trail #5: Crouching Lion Hike
While the Crouching Lion hike is relatively short, it has a steep incline that adds to the difficulty of the hike. Offering breathtaking views of the quaint town of Kaawa, Kahana Bay and the cliffs of Pu’u Manamana, the trail takes hikers over gnarled tree roots and beneath stooping branches. Parts of the trail tend to be slippery due to crumbling dirt, though thick vegetation does help to stabilize the trail.
These are only a few examples of the great trails that Oahu has to offer. Whether you are out for a casual stroll or you are a serious athlete, you are sure to find a trail offering amazing views of the island’s extensive natural beauty.