Best Hawaiian Island for Hiking and Epic Expeditions | Look Into Top 5 Trails

Published On: April 1, 2024Last Updated: April 29, 2024
Best Hawaiian Island for Hiking

Many people know Hawaii because of its hiking trails and beaches. With the numerous well-developed trails, it can be confusing to choose the best Hawaiian island for hiking. Every island has something unique, from Oahu to the Big Island and Honolulu. Although some of these hikes can be challenging or dangerous, the 360-degree view from the trailhead is worth the risk. Every year, thousands of trekking enthusiasts and travelers turn to Hawaii’s hiking trails to experience the real spark of life.

Why Choose Hawaiian Island For Hiking?

Hawaii is in the USA, but when you see its culture, geology, and top tourism vacation destinations, it feels like a foreign land. The serene waters, sky-touching mountains, rainforests, and rich diversity of wildlife can leave you spellbound. While picking the best Hawaiian island for kids, you might have to struggle as every option is better than the next.

Hiking in Hawaii can give you memorable experiences and facilities you can never find anywhere else. It has something for everyone. Whether you want to sit by the beach or go hiking, Hawaii has the best of everything.

Top Picks For Best Hikes in Hawaii For a Daring Escape

You will find the level of difficulty, duration, and safety concerns of the top 5 trails in this piece. So you can pick the suitable one to finalize your adventurous vacation trip to Hawaii.

1. Diamond Head Crater (Lēʻahi) Summit Trail, Honolulu | HighStuff Recommendation

Diamond Head Crater - Best Hawaiian Island for Hiking
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3.1 km
  • Duration: Less than one hour

The 450-acre diamond head crater is Hawaii’s first introduction for many travel enthusiasts. It is named Diamond Head Crater because, in the 19th century, British sailors discovered diamond-like shiny calcite crystals. It also has a history of military usage. So, when you travel along the trail, you see the old bunkers and underground tunnels.

It is a moderate hike because of the steep slope, but it gives the most satisfying and breathtaking views of the Hawaiian coast. But, you have to make reservations or buy tickets ahead of time because it is a hot attraction for tourists who want to hike or spend vacations in the luxurious resorts of Hawaii.

Tips from travelers: It has a steep hike, so wear comfortable shoes and bring sufficient water bottles. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

Also Read: Top 10 Luxury Shoe Brands

Safety concerns:

  • Avoid using dangerous ridges
  • Trail surfaces might be challenging sometimes
  • The surface can be slippery due to dirt or loose pebbles

2. Kilauea Iki Trail, Volcanoes National Park, Big Island

Kilauea Iki Trail

Trail Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5.1 km
Duration: 2-3 hours

Big Island is already famous for its adventurous travel spots and has some of the best places to stay in Hawaii. Kilauea Iki Trail is one of the most immersive and the best hikes in Hawaii’s Big Island you will ever experience. It has hardened lava that erupted 50 years back but is still warm. It has formed a lake-like structure that you can easily walk on. However, you can still see steam from the small cracks on the surface. But don’t worry, it is just the rainwater stuck in them. It is not the lava.

Its hiking trail is loop-style. So, you will either go clockwise or anticlockwise. If you ask experienced travelers, they will suggest you go anticlockwise because it is much easier to climb, and you will cross the rainforests on the way. Many travelers feel that they are walking on an entirely different planet.

Tips from travelers: Reach early to get the parking. Go when the weather is good because you will exposed directly to the sunlight, and wear waterproof gear.

Safety Concerns:

  • Drive safely to the parking.
  • Maintain a distance from wildlife.
  • Wear a jacket and closed-toe shoes.

3. Koko Crater Railway Trail, Honolulu, Oahu

Koko Crater Railway Trail, Honolulu, Oahu
  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 2.6 km
  • Duration: More than an hour

Situated in Oahu (which is the best Hawaiian island for couples), the Koko Crater Railway Trail is considered the toughest among all hiking trails. On the trail, you will find many abandoned military railroad ties of the time of World War 2. The scariest part is the bridge with no surface or ground. But don’t be overwhelmed, as they have alternative routes of trail that you can use.

If want to experience spectacular panoramic views of Hanauma Bay (among the best beaches on Oahu for snorkeling), this one might excite you. To reach the trailhead, you need to hike 1.6 miles round up, which can be difficult for new hikers.

Moreover, Oahu is home to the top 5 star hotel in Hawaii, which means you can get the best of everything in one place. And it can be one of the best honeymoon destinations ever.

Interesting Fact: In March 2023, it attracted 20.6% more visitors (487,393) as compared to March 2022. We can safely conclude that the best Oahu hiking trails have significantly contributed to this prominent growth.

Tips from travelers: Some areas can get slippery as they are made of concrete. It can be dark early in the morning, so bring torches or lamps. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle and hat if you are traveling in summer as it can become quite sunny in the day. Try the best snorkeling in Oahu to experience an adventurous trip.

Safety concerns:

  • 25 feet gaps that can be dangerous
  • Longest staircase
  • Can be really steep

4. Olomana Three Peaks Trail, Loop Rd, Kailua

  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 7.2 km
  • Duration: 2-3 hours

If you see the aerial images of this trail, it might frighten you for a second. And rightly so, because many people have lost their lives on this trial. Only experienced hikers should pick this route. Technical 4th – 5th class scrambling skills are required to reach the top. But once you get there, you can see some of the best panoramic views of Hawaiian islands and a great hiking experience.

Visit Hawaii’s most dangerous trails and experience the thrilling side of its islands. Plus, it is one of the most famous treks. So you can expect people at the base. You will need sufficient water since it is a long journey.

Pro Tip: Pick the best time to cruise Hawaii and explore the entire state to its full potential.

Safety Concerns:

  • Highly dangerous for new hikers
  • Can be muddy
  • Expect rock scrambles and slippery slopes

5. Kaena Point Trail, the westernmost tip of Oahu

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 9.8 km
  • Duration: Almost 2 hours

It is among the best hikes in Hawaii Oahu if you are an explorative person looking for exquisite birds and animals. Traditionally, this point has a sacred value and also offers scenic views of the Pacific. Along the trail, you will see the water patches, sandy and rocky climbs, monk seals, and sea birds.

While visiting the best Hawaiian island for families, you should take this hiking trail as it does not require technical skills. Moreover, it also has water pools at the trailhead that can light up your Instagram stories. On the west side, you can spot dolphins and whales as well. There are many other best waterfall hikes in Oahu to explore further as well.

Tips from travelers: Bring sunscreen, water, binoculars, and some snakes as it is a long hike. Wear special hiking shoes because the path can be muddy.

Safety Concerns:

  • Falling rocks
  • Threatening shore breaks
  • Vehicle burglary incidents


You can consider Oahu if you are on a family vacation, as there are many things to do in Oahu with kids. Big Island can be the best option if you want travel moments adventure and luxury travel. To pick the best Hawaiian Island for hiking, you should set the basics first. You should finalize the plan, budget, the group you are going with, and your accommodation. Now that you have explored the best Hawaiian islands, maybe pick the best honeymoon cruises to truly enjoy your vacations here.

About the Author: Mujahid Khan Jatera

Mujahid, a lifestyle blogger, is a passionate explorer who loves to travel. With a keen interest in luxury automobiles, he exemplifies a strong business mindset and entrepreneurial drive.

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