There’s lots of good hikes on Oahu, but the best ones crest the summit and offer amazing views of the island. They range from easy to fairly difficult, but if you at least have a full day you can complete them all. Some will only take two hours or less.
Listed below are some of the top 5 best summit hikes on Oahu. They won’t disappoint.
Kaau Crater Hike:
The Ka’au Crater hike is another advanced hike on the island that is packed to the brim with adventure. This five to seven hour hike hits three different waterfalls, each impressive on their own, and then climbs above a hidden crater that sits above Honolulu, then summits to the top of the ridge so that you can view the other side of the island. It’s regarded as one of the best hikes on the island, but it isn’t easy and can challenge even the best. You’ll want to be prepared for a hot and muddy day. The winds don’t blow through this valley. Only after you pass the three waterfalls and go above the crater, do the tradewinds return. In the photo below: at the top of the summit you can see Olomana in the distance, along with Kailua and Waimanalo.
Read the full blog post about Ka’au Crater Hike.
A challenging but fairly easy ascent up to the summit of the Ko’olau Mountain Range, Kuliouou goes through all of the different forests in Hawaii on a set of never ending switchbacks. However, it is one of the easier summits to climb on Oahu, and you’ll be left with a view of all of Waimanalo and town. This is a good introduction to Hawaii hiking and is usually clear at the top, if you wait long enough.
Maile (Pink) Pillboxes:
The Maile Pillboxes, also known as the Pink Pillbox Hike, is one of the best hikes on the west side of the island. Here, you will be able to climb a steep oceanside ridge mountain and see five different WWII Pillboxes that sit on top of the hills. Go here for sunset for a nice way to end the day.
Consisting of 1,048 steps, Kokohead will leave you gasping for air as you reach the top. It’s your entire workout for the day, perhaps even week. But at the top, after conquering these stairs, you’ll be rewarded to a panoramic view from Diamond Head to Hawaii Kai to Sandy Beach.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail:
The paved path to the top of Makapu’u lighthouse is one of the best family friendly hikes on the island, giving you an incredible view of the east side of the island. Here, you can Rabbit Island all the way to Kaneohe. Makapu’u Beach is just below to the left. But don’t let the easy hike deter you. It can also be a difficult one if you decide to go to the Makapu’u Tide Pools on the short, steep trail down the side of the mountain. It’s worth taking this nice and energizing walk up – a nice place to talk and enjoy the views.
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