The Best Hikes in Hawaii
Leahi (Diamond Head)
It’s a calf-burning 1.6 mile slog up to the rim of Honolulu’s most famous crater, Leahi (Diamond Head). Narrow stairs and a steep tunnel lead to WWII bunkers with panoramic views of downtown Honolulu and the celebrated Waikiki coast.
Oahu’s westernmost tip, Kaena Point, is a scenic wilderness that can be reached via the north shore or the Waianae Coast. The latter is quicker; a gravel road delivers hikers to a lighthouse and the nesting spot of lovely Laysan albatrosses.
Kaiwa Ridge/Lanikai Pillbox
A steep climb for Kaiwa Ridge (Lanikai Pillbox) Trail starts beside the Mid-Pacific Country Club and winds a half-mile up Kaiwa Ridge to two WWII bunkers with heart-stopping views of the windward coast from Makapuu Lighthouse to Kaneohe Bay.
Sliding Sands to Halemauu, Haleakala National Park
Pipiwai Trail, Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu Section)
People train for months before embarking on this wild, cliff-hugging adventure on the Kalalau Trail into Kauai’s road-less rainforest. It’s 22 miles round-trip, starting at Kee Beach and passing stunning waterfalls, hair-raising drop-offs, jeweled valleys, and mostly empty beaches.
Note: A permit is required.
Kokee State Park
Kilauea Iki, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
This four-mile loop trail descends through native Hawaiian rainforest into the black cauldron of Kilauea Iki, a still-smoking volcanic crater. Ferns push through cracks in the lava and rare birds flit in the trees.
Note: Due to increased and damaging earthquakes, corrosive volcanic ash, and continuing explosions from Halemaumau, the summit crater of Kilauea Volcano, most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed as of Summer 2018.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
A two-mile stroll along this history-saturated coastline in the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is a walk back in time, past ancient fishponds, napping sea turtles, and enormous carved wooden tikis standing sentry at the edge of the sea.