Easy Hikes on Oahu: 9 Awesome Tropic Trails 

If you’re searching for more relaxed Oahu hikes, you’ve come to the right place! This list features 9 accessible and scenic Hawaiian hiking trails, including highlights and descriptions for each trek.

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Written by: | Reviewed by: Kieran James Cunningham
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Oahu is blessed with a bounty of gorgeous hiking trails, many of which will give you a good workout on steep and challenging terrain. However, if you’re traveling with the kids or are more into a more easy-going hike, Oahu will not disappoint!

These half-day hikes are ideal for visitors to Hawaii since they’ll leave you with plenty of time and energy for an adventurous tour, scenic island drive, or relaxing on the beach.
In this guide to the top chilled hikes in Oahu, we’ll cover the island’s most family-friendly and mellow trails and share each hike’s main attractions, difficulty, and length.

1. Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Lanikai Pillbox trail in Kailua, showing view over Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islets
The top choice for hikers looking for a short, fun hike with the most spectacular views. 
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 1.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Its stunning vistas of the turquoise water off the coast from Kailua and Lanikai and the Mokulua Islands make it one of the most scenic hikes on Oahu. If you want to see the best views but are short on time, this is your hike.

The Lanikai Pillbox hike is officially known as the Kaiwa Ridge Trail. The trail’s nickname comes from the two pillbox-shaped World War II bunkers located along the trek.

Kaiwa Ridge Trail is a short, 1.7-mile easy to moderate hike with a 600 feet elevation change. This rugged hiking path is situated on the windward (eastern) side of Oahu and ascends the ridge behind Lanikai. 

The trail has some steep sections as it travels through coastal vegetation and winds up to the ridge, but it’s far from challenging. Just wear proper hiking shoes and watch your feet as you walk. Once at the top, you are met with the first World War II bunker and incredible panoramic views of Oahu.

It takes most hikers about one-hour round-trip to complete this trek. Be aware that parking is extremely limited in the residential area near the trailhead.

2. Waimea Valley Trail

Waimea Falls In Oahu Hawaii
Take a stroll through a lush, sacred valley to see the stunning 45-foot Waimea Falls.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Waimea Valley, also known as the Valley of the Priests, is a segment of private land stretching from the ocean to the mountains. The property is owned by a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect this sacred land near Oahu’s North Shore. It boasts a gorgeous beach, lush valley, historical sites, and the beautiful Waimea Falls.

The Waimea Valley Trail is an effortless trek along a well-maintained, paved trail. The route takes hikers past impressive Hawaiian botanical gardens and historical sites with interpretive signs. If you have the time, stop to read the signs and learn about the local culture along the way.

The path ends at the gorgeous 45-foot-tall waterfall. The fall is part of the Kamanui Stream which plunges into a natural swimming pool below.

This is a relaxing and family-friendly hike that takes less than an hour to complete. The entrance fee helps preserve this culturally-significant area and the surrounding environment.

3. Manoa Falls Trail

Manoa Falls trail near Honolulu, Hawaii
A relaxing walk through a lush rainforest just a 15-minute drive from Honolulu.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 1.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Very easy

If you’re looking for an extremely easy and short, yet stunning hike near Honolulu, look no further than Manoa Falls Trail. This 1.6-mile roundtrip trail traverses a dense rainforest in the Manoa Valley to reach the base of Manoa Falls. Its minimal elevation change and short distance make it the perfect hike for beginner hikers, younger kids, and the elderly. 

The hiking path begins at a shipping container and leads through the container and into a large open field. From there, the path goes over a wooden bridge through a grove of Eucalyptus trees. Soon after arriving at the freshwater pool, the trail becomes less maintained. It winds downhill through a lush rainforest and then a bamboo grove. 

After that, the trail becomes less rugged as it arrives at the steps leading up to the viewing area for the falls. Take a moment to sit on the bench and take in the stunning scenery before heading back. 

4. Ehukai Pillbox Hike

View from Ehukai Pillbox Hike, Hawaii
This local’s favorite on Oahu’s North Shore offers fantastic views of the epic surf break.
  • Type: Loop
  • Length: 2.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Located in the Pupukea Paumalu Forest Reserve, the Ehukai Pillbox Hike is a great option for families with kids. It’s perched above the world-famous North Shore and provides awesome vistas of the iconic coastline.

Similar to the Lanikai Pillbox Trail, this trek passes by old military bunkers. But unlike the extremely busy Lanikai hike, this path is still somewhat unknown and much less visited. 

The Ehukai Pillbox Trail is also known as the Sunset Pillbox hike due to its majestic views of the sun setting and Ehukai Beach (commonly called the Banzai Pipeline by surfers) below. This hike takes most hikers a little over an hour to complete.

The hike starts behind Sunset Elementary School. Look for the sign marking the start of the trail. The rugged path starts with a steep incline as it travels through the vegetarian and over rocks, mangled tree roots, and fallen tree trunks. This part of the path has ropes to use as support for those who need it. Kids will love this adventurous segment of the route.

The first pillbox is on your left when you reach the flat area at the top of the ridge. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the beautiful views before continuing your hike. 

5. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail

View from Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail, Hawaii
Check out the breathtaking views from the southeasternmost point on the island.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 2.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

For a short but extremely picturesque hike, make the trek up to the Makapu’u Lighthouse.

The scenic Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail offers jaw-dropping vistas of Makapu’u beach and the southeastern part of Oahu, including Koko Head and a look inside Koko Crater. The panoramic views seem to go on forever. On clear days, you can even see Molokai and Lanai islands in the distance.

The historic Makapu’u Lighthouse was built in 1909 and its bright red roof provides the perfect contrast against the deep blue sea. Be sure to bring your camera for this picture-perfect view!

This hiking path is known for being one of the best places to see migrating humpback whales. If you’re visiting from November through May, be sure to keep a lookout for the breaching gentle giants. Don’t fret If you forgot your binoculars! You’ll find several viewing scopes along the trail. 

6. Diamond Head Hike

Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaii
A bucket-list adventure to the top of Oahu’s iconic Diamond Head.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 1.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Known as one of Hawaii’s most iconic landmarks, Diamond Head is a towering geological formation overlooking the Waikiki coastline. Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres of this massive crater formed by an ancient volcanic eruption.

A classic Oahu hike, Diamond Head Summit Trail, also known as Le’ahi, is a must for any avid hiker. 

This short and easy trek takes less than an hour, making it one of the easiest hikes on our list, and rewards hikers with incredible panoramic views of the island. The Diamond Head Hike can seem intimidating when you’re laying out on the shores of Waikiki Beach, but the trek to its 760-foot summit is only 1.6 miles round-trip.

Keep in mind that this is an extremely busy trail and possibly the most popular hike in Hawaii. Show up early if you want a chance at avoiding the crowds!

7. Ka’ena Point Trail

Ka'ena Point Trail, Oahu, Hawaii
Explore the island’s northwesternmost point on this rugged coastal trek.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: East to moderate

For an off-the-beaten-track adventure, head to the end of the road on the West Side. This less-visited part of Oahu is home to a stunning white sand beach called Yokohama Bay and the trailhead to Ka’ena Point.

The Ka’ena Point Trail is the place to go to get away from the crowds and immerse yourself in nature. It’s a 2.9-mile one-way trek to the remote and beautiful Ka-ena Point Natural Area 

Reserve at the northwesternmost tip of Oahu. While its length makes it the most challenging hike on our list, there are no steep inclines and the going is mellow most of the way.

This scenic shoreline is home to some of the area’s last coastal sand dune ecosystems which are home to native plants and seabirds. The waters just off the coast are a favorite destination for migrating whales in the winter months.

8. Friendship Garden Trail

Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
The easiest hike on our list, this one offers a peaceful and relaxing walk with stunning vistas of Kaneohe Bay.
  • Type: Loop
  • Length: 0.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Friendship Garden Trail is an easy stroll near a serene friendship botanical garden perched high above Kaneohe Bay. It’s a lesser-known hike that’s ideal for those looking for solitude as they walk through the forest.

This short but very well-maintained hike is part of the Friendship Garden’s trail system. It’s a family-friendly hike that’s great for kids. Some steep sections become slippery when wet, but it’s still an easy trek with less than a 200 feet elevation gain.

9. Hauula Loop Trail

Hauula, Oahu East Coast, Hawaii
Trek through a variety of flora and fauna on this lesser-known hiking path. (Photo by Robert Linsdell / CC BY 2.0)
  • Type: Loop
  • Length: 2.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

The Hauula Loop Trail is a less-visited trail with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, the neighboring islands, and the valley below from the top. It’s a beautiful trek through the biodiverse Ko’olau Mountains on the northeastern side of the island.

This 2.7-mile route takes you up 800 feet in elevation and across Waipilopilo Gulch to stunning views of Kaipapau Valley. You’ll get to see an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, including ironwood trees and Captain Cook pines.

Its thick tree canopy keeps hikers shaded almost the entire way and makes it the ideal choice for a sunny day. Be aware that it does get very muddy after heavy rains.

The beginning of the trail is found in the tiny town of Hauula. There’s no street parking at the trailhead, so park at the public beach instead.

Best Easy Hikes on Oahu

From the iconic crater at Diamond Head to the rushing waterfall in Waimea Valley, we hope this list of short trails and kid-friendly hikes on Oahu helps you find the perfect one for you.

What are your top recommendations for easy hikes on Oahu? Feel free to share them in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, please send it to your friends!

Last update on 2023-06-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Kristina Ros is an adventure travel writer and outdoor enthusiast. Whether it's backpacking to alpine lakes in Colorado or camping on white sand beaches in Mexico, she’s always seeking more time in nature.

A lifelong native of southern California, she had much to learn about cold weather living after moving to Colorado. A few slips on the ice and numb fingers later, she adapted to life in the snow. Moving to the mountains allowed her to enjoy a greater variety of outdoor activities, like snowboarding and snowshoeing, aside from her previous experience as a certified scuba diver and avid snorkeler.

Kristina has been traveling full-time since 2018, including many hiking, backpacking, and camping adventures. Most recently, she and her husband have spent over a year exploring the western United States and Mexico in their self-converted Sprinter van. 

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