20 Great Oahu Hikes
Here are 20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas and waterfalls, steep climbs and relics of the past.
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Editor’s Note: Check out our updated list from 2018, 24 O‘ahu Hikes We Really Like.
Hikes with History
1. ‘Aiea Loop Trail
Length: 5 miles
Hunting for an ancient hei‘au? Wondering where to find wreckage from a World War II bomber? This trail at the end of ‘Aiea Heights Drive has a variety of sites for history buffs, and the path is suitable for hikers of all abilities. For a more modern vignette, check out the bird’s-eye view of the H3. When you’re finished, pavilions make this the perfect place to picnic, post-hike.
HEADING WEST ON THE H-1 TOWARD ALOHA STADIUM, TAKE THE STADIUM/‘AIEA EXIT ONTO MOANALUA ROAD. TURN RIGHT ON ‘AIEA HEIGHTS DRIVE AND FOLLOW IT UNTIL IT LOOPS AROUND IN KEA‘IWA HEIAU STATE PARK, WHERE THE TRAIL IS LOCATED. PARKING AND FACILITIES SHOULD BE PLENTIFUL HERE.
2. Kamananui Valley Road
Photo: Cory Yap
Length: 7 miles round trip
Finding petroglyphs on O‘ahu is hard, but you can check some out on a boulder just off this path in Moanalua Valley. Add in some old carriage bridges and ruins from the former Damon Estate, and you’ve got a great hike made even better by fascinating archaeological sites. Experienced hikers: Motor past the official end of the trail to find the legal(ish) backdoor route to the top of Ha‘ikū Stairs, along with some of the most treacherous ridge hiking on the island.
TRAVELING WEST ON THE MOANALUA FREEWAY, TAKE THE MOANALUA VALLEY/SALT LAKE/RED HILL EXIT ONTO ALA AOLANI STREET. CONTINUE ON ALA AOLANI UNTIL THE STREET ENDS. PARK IN THE LOT NEXT TO THE BASKETBALL COURTS. PROCEED BY FOOT ON THE DIRT PATH TO THE TRAIL.
3. Judd Memorial Trail & “Jackass Ginger” Pool
Length: 1.5 miles
This hike’s a quick one, with a sweet swimming hole just past a grove of banyan and mango trees. All were planted by territorial forester Charles S. Judd decades ago. The trailhead is off Nu‘uanu Pali Road near Reservoir No. 2. Apparently, a donkey was tethered there in the early 20th century, surrounded by (you guessed it) a bunch of ginger.
HEADING NORTH ON THE PALI HIGHWAY, TURN RIGHT ONTO NU‘UANU PALI DRIVE. SHORTLY AFTER THE HAIRPIN CURVE, LOOK FOR A CONCRETE BRIDGE AND A SIGN ON THE RIGHT THAT READS “PLEASE KOKUA NO DUMPING” JUST BEFORE IT. THE TRAIL STARTS JUST BEFORE THE BRIDGE. PARKING IS LIMITED, SO CONSIDER OTHER SPACES IN THE RESIDENTIAL AREA BEFORE THE TRAILHEAD.