Oahu is full of so many hikes, some difficult, others not, some short, some long. There’s really a full range of trails to choose from. But the easy ones are perfect for beginners, families, older folk, and anyone who wants an introduction to Hawaii’s beautiful nature – especially those just wanting a relaxing day outdoors. I’ve been on all of these and can verify that they fit within the easy grade, which means there’s no rock climbing, rope usage, and fairly gentle grades of incline. Here’s a list of hikes that would take less than two hours to complete, essentially a half-day’s time including the drive there. They may still be challenging for some, but you will still be on some of the best trails the island has to offer!
The Diamond Head Crater hike is the island’s classic popular hike that lures everyone to its summit at least once in their life. On any given day, hundreds of visitors and locals alike make the short 1.3km, 30 minute climb up the gentle paved, and unpaved path. The only difficult section is a set of stairs and a few narrow passage corridors. You’ll end up 560 ft. higher at the top of the iconic mountain and will be able to see wonderful views of Waikiki, downtown Honolulu, the Ko’olau mountains, and all the way around the island as far as Waianae and Hawaii Kai. Bring a dollar for the entrance fee and $5 if you want to park inside.
Read the full blog post about Diamond Head Crater.
Located only 15 minutes away from Waikiki, Manoa Falls is one of the classic Hawaii hikes that you need to do while you are on the island. The short 1.6 mile round trip hike takes about an hour to complete and you’ll end up in front of a 150 ft. cascading waterfall. From this angle, you won’t see it, but falls is actually a set of multiple ones. It’s all the water gathered from the valleys above the forest, which collect and drop into this waterfall. Be sure to check out the Arboretum right next door.
Read the full blog post about Manoa Falls.
Lanikai Pillboxes is across the mountains in the small neighborhood adjacent to Kailua. A short, dry, and hot (depends what time of the day), climb of 15-20 minutes will take you to the tops of some hills to a concrete bunker overlooking the blue waters and white sandy beach of Lanikai. In the distance, two remote islands lie in the bay. You’ll likely see paddlers making their way around in the water. It’s a great hike at any point in the day.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail:
The gentle paved path of the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail takes you to the top of a mountain side and gives you a scenic overview of the east side of the island. This hike is one of the best for families and elderly people, as the asphalt walkway continues all the way from the parking lot to the top. There are placards and information signs placed at various lookouts. An additional reason to visit is that during the winter months you can see humpback whales breaching as they migrate back from Alaska to Hawaii to rest and mate. You can combine this hike with a visit to Makapu’u Beach or the Makapu’u Tidepools for those feeling more adventurous.
Read the full blog post about Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail.
Maile (Pink) Pillboxes:
The Maile Pillboxes, otherwise known as Pink Pillboxes, is one of the best hikes on the western side of the island and fairly easy. After a short 20 minute climb to the top, but perhaps twice as hard as the Lanikai Pillboxes hike, you’ll reach the summit with a few pillboxes to choose from. Here you can see the Waianae Mountain range, waves rolling in from the deep and crashing on the various reef breaks, and an unforgettable sunset that’ll leave you invigorated for more adventures.
Lulumahu Falls is an easy 40 minute hike up the lush Nu’uanu valley to a 50 ft. refreshing waterfall. I’d rank it as one of Oahu’s best legal waterfalls to visit and the reward to effort ratio is high. At the end there is a small swimmable pool, however you’ll want to be careful as the rocks are slippery and the trail is muddy most times. It’s best to go with someone who has done the trail, but it is much more defined compared to years before.
Read the full blog post about Lulumahu Falls.
Hanauma Bay Rim Trail:
The Hanauma Bay Rim Trail circles the bottom half of Hanauma Bay and reaches out onto Oahu’s southeastern most point of the island. On this trail, you can choose how far you’d like to go. If done in a loop, it becomes an intermediate trail (based on the length of walking), but if you choose to do an out-and-back, then it is easy enough. A 40 minute one-way walk will get you to the Kaiwi Coastline, where you will see the amazing rocky cliffside, that’s been eroded away slowly for eons. Big waves, sea-birds, and the chance to see whales and turtles, make this a great day hike.
Koko Crater Arch:
The Koko Crater Arch trail has similar terrain as the Hanauma Bay Rim Trail, but has a much steeper incline. It’s only 15 minutes walking uphill after parking at one of the lookouts, till you reach a long rock archway. Climb on top of the arch or rest under the shade in the middle, you’ll watch as cars pass by on the scenic roadway, birds fly high above in the sky, and waves crash at Sandy Beach.
More Oahu Guides Here:
These are my other guides for Oahu:
Ultimate Guide to Oahu: Best Things to Do on Oahu – Complete Bucket List
Best Hikes: The Best Hikes on Oahu
Best Beaches: Top 5 Beaches in Waikiki
Where to Stay: Best Areas to Stay on Oahu, Hawaii – Your Travel Guide