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5 Beautiful Hikes To Explore In Hawaii

Does the excitement of exploring a new place thrill you as much as it does me? I get excited just thinking about seeing someplace new. The vision of beautiful landscapes and unfamiliar nature trails always gets butterflies buzzing around in my stomach! This is what Hawaii does to me. Which is why I want to share these 5 beautiful hikes to explore with you!

Explore Hawaii

Hawaii is such a magical place and presents a vibe that is like no other. While many people think of Hawaii as a place for charming resorts, sparkling swimming pools, and relaxing beaches. Hawaii to me is full of nature, beautiful landscapes and adventure. There are numerous hiking trails to explore in Hawaii, that we have yet to scrape the top 10 of them. These 5 beautiful hikes in Hawaii will most certainly challenge you, ground you, and no doubt; create unique extraordinary memories.

The Trails


1. Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail: 4.5 mile roundtrip. Elevation 1597 feet  Directions

If you are hungry for scenic yet challenging adventure while on your visit to Hawaii, this hike will surely put a smile on your face. Our day began with a little sun and clouds hoping the rain might stay away. I don’t know about you, but the word ridge places a tiny bit of fear in me being this is the first time we’ve hiked this trail.

Overcome Your Fear

Ignoring the on-slot of a bit of fear I seemed to develop, we proceed to gather our water, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses and piled in the car and drove towards East Honolulu area. Actually, the journey on the way to the trailhead is quite spectacular by itself. We drive to higher altitudes through what seemed to be an upscale neighborhood of homes and hills. Upon reaching the trail, there is no guard or official person at the post, so we proceed to park in the appropriate designated spots. Usually you do need a permit to park in the designated areas to hike this trail.

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Beautiful hikes to explore in Hawaii

The Weather

The clouds are building up at this time making for a possibly muddy, wet, and slippery hiking experience. Early in the hike, we approach a beautiful canopy of trees of all sizes but mostly tall and large. The wind began to swirl and howl making for an eerie stroll through this part of the trail.

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Tree Tunnels

One of my favorite spots on the trail is the area where a rope is available and is used to help climb these steep sections. I am thinking about Indiana Jones or Mission Impossible while I am pulling myself up.

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This part of the hiking trail offered a few challenges and obstacles. The rope definitely is very helpful in climbing to the next phase. Please note: Trail can be muddy and slippery when it rains, so take it slow and be careful as you gradually make your way to the summit.

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Views. Beautiful hikes to explore in Hawaii

The views and beauty of the trail aren’t the only things to be excited about. If you blink you may miss some of the most luscious plants and flowers.

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Be sure to take a rest on the ‘Swing’ and tree area, and if you are hiking the trail on a weekday, you may be lucky enough to get a seat on the one lonely bench that sits at the summit of the trail. You will enjoy 360 degree views everywhere up here and they are incredible! Hang on to your hat as the winds can be quite wicked up at the top.

2. Aiea Loop Hiking Trail: 4.8 mile Roundtrip. Elevation 900 Directions

The Aiea Loop trail is located in Aiea – Pearl City area of Honolulu and is an interesting path as you begin at the trailhead located within a park. There are a few scattered picnic tables and the park is quite large in size. The trees are massive and the lemon eucalyptus trees offer a scent of sweet citrus as you ponder further into the trail. There are a few large tree trunks that block the trail, and you’ll climb a few steep switchbacks along the loop.

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Aiea Loop. Beautiful hikes to explore in Hawaii
Aiea Loop Trail

You will catch some views of the freeway H-3 from particular areas on the trail. Conditions of the trail can also be a little muddy if you are out exploring this hike on a misty or rainy day.

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During our hike on this trail, I ended up partly on my own. My hubby got so far ahead of us, then my parents were slowing and I went ahead of them. I was beginning to question if I was going in the right direction at one point. Wondering if I might catch up with them or get to the end of the loop. There is an area where one bench sits at peak of a slight climb and elevated area, and I sat there for a moment hoping I wasn’t lost. I finally came to the end of the loop and saw my father in law trying to approach the friendly cat. Wild or ferel cats are quite common to see roaming around all parts of Hawaii. The rating for this hike path is considered easy to moderate.

3. Waimano Falls and Pools Trail: 3 Mile Roundtrip. Waterfall Hike  Directions

If you are looking for a rewarding trail, then you will enjoy Waimano Falls and Pools. This hiking trail was both challenging and satisfying. The trailhead is located near or in the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades.   Parking is limited, so you may wish to start this trail early. The trail begins with a smooth wide pathway of red dirt and rocks with plants lining the path. On misty rainy days, be prepared to walk through muddy routes.

Muddy Trails

As you continue further on the trail, it can become muddy and slippery depending if you hike this one on a misty or rainy day. You’ll have to keep an eye out where you walk and step because there are large tree roots everywhere and the elevation can create a slightly dangerous trail.

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Tree Roots on hiking trails

Going downhill may be easy and you can use the tree roots for stepping, but coming back up can get you huffing and puffing. This part of the trail is known as ‘Cardiac Hill’.

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The trail is really not that difficult overall, but it becomes slightly dangerous if it’s a rainy or misty day and especially when you are descending down towards the beautiful pools and waterfall, it can be very slippery.

Be prepared to encounter a wide variety of plants and trees to ponder over as you slither your way carefully down the path over red dirt hillsides, trees, and slippery mud. I lost the soles of my shoes and I had mud all over. There are a few spots where you use a rope to help you down steeper rocks or hillside parts of the trail. You may encounter a wild pig or hunters with dogs so just be aware and don’t be alarmed. There are plenty of birds singing as they fly from tree limb to limb. The hidden gem on this hike is the infamous Waimano Pools and Waterfall.

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Beautiful hikes to explore in Hawaii
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Beautiful hikes to explore in Hawaii


4. Manoa Falls Hike: 1.6 mile roundrip. Waterfalls (150 feet falls) Directions

If you are looking for an easy yet very rewarding and full of nature and very large trees, then you will enjoy this hike. At times, this hike can also be slippery and muddy depending on rain. The trees are wide, tall, and giant on this very interesting and fun trail.

If you are someone who wants to get away from large crowds and noise, and have a desire to explore and surround yourself with nature, then you’ll have to check this one out. This hike has a rating of easy.

5. Koko Head Stairs Trail: 1.8 mile roundtrip. Elevation 990   Directions

The spectacular views will not be the only thing that gets your heart racing during this extraordinary hike up the Koko Head stairs.  This climb of approximately 1,050 stairs (or railroad tithes) is a challenge for any exercise enthusiast and will definitely offer a cardio workout like no other. The Rating on this trail is difficult.

Koko Head is the eastern side of  Maunalua Bay and the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. On its western slope is the community of Portlock, a part of Hawaiʻi Kai. You will enjoy wonderful views of Haunama Bay and beyond.  The climb can be grueling and scenic, so its a good idea to take a rest and take in the views.

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Note: There is a section on the Koko Head Stairs which has a large opening below. This is a drop to a ridge located underneath the stair trail so take your time and go slow if needed. You may be huffing and puffing half way up the climb, only to learn you have quite a ways to go. You still need to climb higher and higher. This is a view from below and is about half way to the top. You can see it still looks like there are quite a few steps to go to reach the summit. You may find yourself breathing heavy at this point.

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Koko Head Stairs Hike

Final Thoughts

There is an abundance of excitement and adventurous activities for those thrill seekers visiting Hawaii. I hope you find this information helpful, because if you are like me, I enjoy wandering off the beaten path. These beautiful hikes are perfect to include in your itinerary to explore Hawaii.

Read more about Hawaii:  Hawaii Islands Uncovered
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