Sunset from Kaena Point Hike on the west coast of Oahu, Hawaii

14 Easy Oahu Hikes For Beginners, Seniors & Families With Kids

A hike through lush tropical rainforests? What about a nice romantic coastal walk at sunset with your loved one? Or a manageable climb up an ancient volcanic crater rim for gorgeous views?

Oahu has all these and more!

Best of all, these easy Oahu hikes are family-friendly and kid-friendly!

You can hike some of these trails with seniors and older parents, pregnant friends, younger kids, and even babies on carriers or strollers!

Paved path through beautiful Waimea Falls Park, Oahu, Hawaii, one of the best easy Oahu hikes for families
Paved path through beautiful Waimea Falls Park, Oahu, Hawaii, one of the best easy Oahu hikes for families

We scoured the island for hikes that you can enjoy as a family activity, and found some on every part of the island – so there is an easy, family-friendly hike no matter where you are vacationing on Oahu!

And if you are ok with a reasonable drive, you have many more of the best easy hikes on Oahu available to you!

Planning your trip to Oahu? Check out our 2024 guide to the most popular tours and excursions in Oahu!

Hike on Judd Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes through a tropical rainforest
Hike on Judd Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes through a tropical rainforest

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The Best Easy Oahu Hikes

Some of the most popular hikes on Oahu are also easy Oahu hikes, well suited for beginning hikers, families with kids, pregnant women, seniors and older hikers.

Pearl Harbor views from the Aiea Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes near Honolulu
Pearl Harbor views from the Aiea Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes near Honolulu

If you have the time, I would highly recommend you hike all the popular easy trails: Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Hike, Manoa Falls Hike, Diamond Head Hike and the Lanikai Pillbox Hike.

These hikes will give you an excellent synopsis of the island of Oahu: waterfalls, rainforests, bamboo forests, ocean views and panoramic views.

Fruit trees on the Makiki Valley Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes near Honolulu
Fruit trees on the Makiki Valley Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes near Honolulu

The best kid friendly Oahu hikes (especially for younger kids on strollers or carriers) are Waimea Valley Falls Trail, Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail and the Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail.

Manoa Falls Hike and Waimea Falls Hike are two of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu.

With mountain ranges and ancient volcano craters, hikes for beautiful views can’t be far off.

The best easy hikes on Oahu for views include Diamond Head Hike, and all the hikes centered on pillboxes (observation posts): the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, the Ehukai Pillbox Hike, and the Pink Pillbox Hike.

Aerial view of the Pink Pillbox Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the west coast
Aerial view of the Pink Pillbox Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the west coast

The best coastal easy hikes on Oahu with trails next to the ocean include the Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail and the secluded Kaena Point Trail.

Whatever specific needs you have, you probably can find one of the best easy hikes on Oahu that will work for you!

Planning your Oahu itinerary? Read our guide to the best Oahu tours and excursions, from shark cage diving to snorkeling with turtles and kayaking to the Mokes!

1. Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 4.7 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 270 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (Wheelchair and strollers are ok)
  • Pet friendly: No, dogs aren’t allowed

While the Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail may not technically qualify as a hike, but is such a beautiful beachfront stroll over a manicured, paved path, I had to include this for our older hikers and families with toddlers.

Well-maintained, paved walking path along the four lagoons, one of the best easy kid friendly hikes on Oahu
Well-maintained, paved walking path along the four lagoons, one of the best easy kid friendly hikes on Oahu

The Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail is one of the best kid-friendly hikes on the island of Oahu.

The paved trail winds along the grassy beachfront of the four gorgeous man-made Ko Olina lagoons with amazing views of the beautiful, turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Personally, I use this trail for my morning jog when we are staying in the Ko Olina resort area. I find the run very soothing and quiet in the early morning, and love the serenity of the sail boats gently making their way across the ocean.

The Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail is also one of the most romantic hikes on Oahu, and we’ve seen many honeymooners stroll leisurely along the trail, taking in their first few spectacular sunsets together as a couple!

Spectacular sunset from Ko Olina Beach Park Walking Trail
Spectacular sunset from Ko Olina Beach Park Walking Trail

Not uncommon to spot spinner dolphins and humpback whales (in winter) from the trail, so keep a watch out and have your binoculars handy!

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

2. Waimea Valley Falls (Waimea Valley Trail)

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.9 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 270 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, stroller-friendly)
  • Pet friendly: No, dogs aren’t allowed
  • Entrance fee: $25 / adult, $12 / child (ages 4-12)

Located on the North Shore of Oahu near the stunning Waimea Bay, Waimea Valley Falls Hike is not really a hike as much as a leisurely stroll through a beautiful botanical garden with an amazing 40-foot waterfall at the end!

Waimea Valley rest area, Oahu, Hawaii, for people returning from viewing Waimea Falls
Waimea Valley rest area, Oahu, Hawaii, for people returning from viewing Waimea Falls

Waimea Falls is at its best a day or two after rains. It has a natural pool at its base, and one of the few waterfalls in Oahu where you can legally swim!

Waimea Valley is especially nice for families with small kids because they have changing rooms, restrooms and showers next to the pool, along with lifeguards and life jackets.

Waimea Falls pool, excellent spot for family fun with life jackets and life guards
Waimea Falls pool, excellent spot for family fun with life jackets and life guards

Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens has sections dedicated to different regions of the world like Hawaii, Polynesia and South America or themes like plants for food or medicine, and many side trails that you can explore.

At the entrance is the best Instagrammable photo location: a pond with huge water lilies (Victoria Amazonica).

I was pleasantly surprised to see and explore many ancient Hawaiian structures. Apparently, Waimea Valley is also an archeological site with ancient temples (heiau), native houses (hale) and fields (lo’i).

You have to pay an admission fee at the entrance, and you have some options to save money on the Waimea Valley entrance fee, for example, by attending Toa Luau, one of the best luaus on Oahu.

>> Check pricing and availability on this popular, 5-star rated Toa Luau at Waimea Valley now!

3. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail Hike (aka Kaiwi Scenic Shoreline Trail)

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.5 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 505 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, stroller-friendly, wheelchair-friendly)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is a great hike on a paved, well-maintained road on Oahu’s southeastern tip. The trail climbs up the side of a ridge and offers amazing views of the ocean and the coast.

Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is a scenic coastal walk, one of the best easy Oahu hikes for seniors and families with kids
Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is a scenic coastal walk, one of the best easy Oahu hikes for seniors and families with kids

There are observation decks and lookouts, and on clear days you can see the Koko Head Crater, offshore islets, and the distant islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i.

The iconic, red-roofed Makapu’u Lighthouse can be seen from a distance (it is off-limits to visitors).

Iconic Makapu‘u Lighthouse, Oahu
Iconic Makapu‘u Lighthouse, Oahu

In winter, you can often spot humpback whales breaching the surface of the ocean waters from the trail and observation decks, so make you take a good pair of binoculars with you.

Even if it is not winter, you can still spot spinner dolphins and other marine life and birds.

Using a wheelchair or stroller on the hike? Though paved, the trail climbs at a 5% grade, so assistance may be needed throughout the route.

To beat the crowds and the heat, the best time to hike the trail is early morning for the sunrise or late evening for the sunset.

Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Hike is one of our featured best sunrise Oahu hikes and best sunset Oahu hikes!

If you do not want to drive to the trailhead, consider this shuttle service that will get you there for sunrise.
>> Check pricing and availability for the shuttle to the Makapuu Lighthouse trailhead!

Here are some useful tips on how to hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail!

4. Manoa Falls Hike

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.7 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 633 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

Seeking a glimpse of Oahu’s famed rainforests? The Manoa Falls Hike is an easy hike that takes you through a lush tropical rainforest and a dense bamboo forest to a 150-foot beautiful waterfall!

Lush vegetation on Manoa Falls Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the windward side
Lush vegetation on Manoa Falls Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the windward side

One of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu, the trail is so pretty it was the setting for several scenes from the Jurassic Park movie series and the TV series Lost.

The trail takes you through the dense vegetation of the beautiful Manoa valley, with eucalyptus trees, ferns, bamboo trees, ginger plants and guava trees. There are many benches and viewing areas with interpretive signs along the trail.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take a photo for Instagram at the stunning bamboo forest and natural arch.

Stunning bamboo forest and natural arch on Manoa Falls Trail, Honolulu, one of the easy Oahu hikes to a waterfall
Stunning bamboo forest and natural arch on Manoa Falls Trail, Honolulu, one of the easy Oahu hikes to a waterfall

The best time to see the Manoa Falls at its fullest is after rains, but check the trail conditions and weather closures. Also note, that immediately after rains, the trail tends be muddy and slippery, so be careful!

Swimming is not allowed in the pool at the base of the waterfall, and please heed the signs.

Manoa Falls Oahu, a stunning waterfall in a beautiful rainforest
Manoa Falls Oahu, a stunning waterfall in a beautiful rainforest

The warning is for danger of rockfalls and certain bacteria in the water that causes leptospirosis, with severe flu-like symptoms.

As you walk along the trail, take in the surroundings and wildlife. We were thrilled to see a very pretty Hawaiian cockatoo on one of our Manoa Falls hikes.

Hawaiian cockatoo on Manoa Falls Trail
Hawaiian cockatoo on Manoa Falls Trail

If you don’t want the hassle of driving and parking, you can take this tour Manoa Waterfall Hike with Health Lunch Included like we did, with convenient pickups from Waikiki hotels.

The tour guide was amazing, we learned a lot about Hawaiian flowers, trees and birds along the hike to Manoa Falls.

>> Check out pricing and availability on the Manoa Waterfall Hike guided tour now!

5. Diamond Head Hike (Diamond Head Trail)

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 1.9 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 524 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: No
  • Fees: $5 / person (Kids under 3 are free)
  • Parking: $10 / vehicle

Climbing an ancient volcano on your Oahu bucket list? Diamond Head Summit Trail is your best bet, much easier compared to climbing Koko Head Crater, a difficult hike.

Shaped like a saucer, the Diamond Head ancient volcanic crater is one of Hawaii’s iconic landmarks.

The trailhead is within the Diamond Head State Monument, which has an entrance fee and strict hours (6:00 am to 6:00 pm, with the last entry at 4:00 pm).

The trail starts off flat and paved from the middle of the crater and quickly moves to a dirt trail with steep switchbacks, tunnels and sets of stairs. You will go through some tunnel stairs to World War II bunkers before you reach the rim of the crater.

Hiking the Diamond Head Summit Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes, but with climbing
Hiking the Diamond Head Summit Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes, but with climbing

I found the hike relatively easy, but the trail is classified moderately challenging because of the steep climb and the stairs.

I stopped at every lookout to take in the views and snap some photos for Instagram!

Definitely difficult for toddlers, but older kids should be able to hike this trail.

I was lucky to climb on a clear day, and the 360-degree panoramic views were simply amazing! Sadly, my Diamond Head Hike photos did not do justice to the beautiful views.

Views from Diamond Head Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes for stunning views
Views from Diamond Head Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes for stunning views

I could see all the nearby iconic landmarks of the island, Waikiki beach and Honolulu skyline and the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean!

If the timing and season permits, then try to hike the Diamond Head Crater Trail for sunrise or sunset.

Not only will you avoid the crowds and the heat, the Diamond Head Hike is rated among the best Oahu sunrise hikes and the best Oahu sunset hikes!

Here are some useful tips on how to hike the Diamond Head Summit Trail with details on the trail, parking, reservations and more!

You have many options for getting to the Diamond Head Summit Trail:

6. Lanikai Pillbox Hike (aka Kaiwa Ridge Trail)

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 0.9 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 406 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

A few minutes from the beautiful Lanikai and Kailua beaches, the Kaiwa Ridge Trail (popularly called the Lanikai Pillbox Hike) is a must-do Oahu hike, especially if you are visiting the east side (windward side) of Oahu.

Apart from being short and relatively easy, this ridge hike offers fabulous views of picturesque Kailua Bay and the surrounding landscape.

Kailua Bay from the Lanikai Pillbox hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the east side
Kailua Bay from the Lanikai Pillbox hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the east side

The pillboxes on this trail are World War II observation post bunkers, so you can imagine how beautiful the views are!

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike trailhead is in the upscale residential area of Lanikai, and I strongly recommend you park on the beach parking lots and walk up (roughly 15 minutes) to the trailhead.

The Lanikai Pillboxes Hike is often classified as moderately challenging due to some steep inclines (especially the initial few yards), and the trail can be slippery when wet and muddy after rains. I recommend good hiking shoes for this trail.

I’ve seen many kids and even some happy toddlers on the trail, but please keep an eye out for them, there are no guardrails on some of the steep inclines.

The best time for the Lanikai Pillboxes Hike is early morning (sunrise) or late evening (sunset) (there is no shade on the trail).

Beautiful sunrise view from the Lanikai Pillbox hike in Oahu Hawaii
Beautiful sunrise view from the Lanikai Pillbox hike in Oahu Hawaii

Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular and colorful. The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is featured as one of the best sunrise hikes on Oahu and one of the best sunset hikes on Oahu!

Here are some useful tips on how to hike the Lanikai Pillboxes Trail with details on the trail, parking, best time to hike and more!

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

7. Ehukai Pillbox Hike (Sunset Pillbox Hike or Peace Hike)

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 2.3 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 780 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

One of the best hikes on the North Shore of Oahu near Haleiwa, the Ehukai Pillbox Hike is one of my favorite hikes for watching sunsets! No wonder the nickname for this hike is the Sunset Pillbox Hike!

If you want to take a break from watching the pro surfers perform their magic on the massive waves on the Banzai Pipeline, I highly recommend this short, reasonably easy to moderate hike for some stunning views of the Ehukai Beach and the surrounding North Shore coastline.

Ehukai beach during a surf contest from the Ehukai Pillbox hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the North Shore
Ehukai beach during a surf contest from the Ehukai Pillbox hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the North Shore

The Ehukai Pillbox Hike trailhead is across from the Sunset Elementary parking lot. Unlike many of the other Oahu hikes, this one has some shade (at least till the flat ridge part).

The trail is overall wide and easy, with a few steep inclines (with a handy rope section for assistance when muddy and slippery), and probably why this trail is sometimes rated moderate.

You will have some views as you get to the ridge (but with trees blocking the views partially). The best views are from the pillboxes, especially the second, and sometimes you can see as far as Kaena Point, the westernmost tip of the island of Oahu.

Sunset on the North Shore beach from the Ehukai Pillbox Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes
Sunset on the North Shore beach from the Ehukai Pillbox Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes

The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is one of the best sunset hikes on Oahu, and if you time the hike for the sunset, you can expect to see spectacular colors as the sun slowly glides under the Pacific Ocean waters.

8. Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

Taking your kids and vacationing group to snorkel at the world-famous Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, but don’t like snorkeling or done that already?

The Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike might be a good alternative option for you, and give you some fabulous Instagrammable photos of this world-famous location.

World-famous Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve from one of the best easy Oahu hikes: the Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike
World-famous Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve from one of the best easy Oahu hikes: the Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike

If you are coming just for the hike, you have three parking options.

Easiest is the Koko Head Trailhead parking lot, but is a bit farther off. Hardest is the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve parking lot, mostly because it is small and very heavily used by the snorkelers.

An excellent alternative is to park on Nawahili Street or nearby, roughly 15 minutes closer than the Koko Head parking lot.

>> Don’t want to drive? Combine the hike with this snorkeling tour or take the Waikiki hop-on, hop-off tour!

The trailhead is behind the Hanauma Bay bus stop and you need to walk past a closed gate (primarily there to stop vehicles from entering).

The hike is within the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (obviously their private land), but I’ve seen many hikers on the trail, and even guards at the gate waving in hikers.

There are multiple options along the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail, that is why you will see different descriptions of the trail and multiple classifications of difficulty from easy to moderately challenging.

The initial section of the trail is on a beautiful paved path, one of the best easy Oahu hikes for beginners and families with kids.

Hanauma Bay Ridge trail is a beautiful ridge hike with incredible views of Hanauma Bay to your left, and quite often you can very clearly see the vast underlying coral reef structure on the sunken ancient crater basin and the crowd of snorkelers.

Hanauma Bay at sunrise from the Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike
Hanauma Bay at sunrise from the Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike

As you walk along the trail, Koko Head Crater is at your back, and to your right, you can see the beautiful Maunalua Bay, and far in the distance, the iconic Diamond Head landmark and the Honolulu skyline!

At the summit of the ridge trail is where the easy hike ends, and you can turn back.

If you want to explore more, you are at a junction point of a loop, with dirt trails (if you can call them that) on both sides.

The left takes you to the southern side of the bay to the ocean waters and an interesting but dangerous natural rock bridge.

The right takes you to a large sundial and then curves around to the bay.

9. Pink Pillbox Hike (Pu’u O Hulu Trail)

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 1.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 679 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Parking: Street parking (Kaukama Road)

Vacationing in the Ko Olina resorts or the west side of Oahu? Being on the leeward side of the island of Oahu, nature hiking trails are somewhat limited.

For the best views, consider the Pu’u O Hulu Trail, popularly called the Pink Pillbox Hike.

With a smattering of pillboxes on the trail, and given these pillboxes are World-War II observation posts, you can expect great views along the trail and from the pillboxes.

The Pink Pillbox Hike is named after one of the pillboxes that is painted a hot pink in support of breast cancer victims.

The Pink Pillbox Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the west coast of Oahu
The Pink Pillbox Hike, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the west coast of Oahu

The Pink Pillbox Hike trailhead is on Kaukama Road (turn right from Farrington Highway if you are coming from the Ko Olina resorts or Waikiki), roughly 6 light posts after the turn.

The Pu’u O Hulu trail is a dirt and rock trail with steep incline sections especially towards the end of the trail, and switchbacks.

The trail is family-friendly and we’ve seen many kids on the trail (but hard for toddlers).

You will be climbing along the side of a ridge, and since this is the leeward side of the island, the scenery along the trail is semi-arid desert with dry shrubs.

The Pink Pillbox Hike offers some of the best views of the west coast of Oahu, and on clear days you can see all the way to Kaena Point (the northwestern tip of Oahu), Mount Kaala in the north, and the towns of Nanakuli, Maili and Waianae.

Views from the Pu'u O Hulu Hike (Pink Pillbox Hike) in Oahu, Hawaii
Views from the Pu’u O Hulu Hike (Pink Pillbox Hike) in Oahu, Hawaii

Keep binoculars handy, you get such fabulous views of the clear ocean waters, you can easily spot spinner dolphins and, in winter, humpback whales, breaching the water surface.

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

10. Judd Trail

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 1.0 mile loop
  • Elevation gain: 170 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

Completed Manoa Falls Hike and looking for more forest trails in the area? The Judd Trail is another kid-friendly trail, short and relatively easy, great fun for families!

Just a few minutes from Honolulu, the trailhead is off Nu’uanu Pali Drive, with parking along the street.

After rains, the trail can be muddy and slippery, and navigating the Nu’uanu Stream crossing may be tricky, hence the trail is sometimes categorized as moderate.

The Judd Trail is a pleasant rainforest hike, with many bamboo trees on the trail, and, as with many of Oahu’s rainforest trails, overrun with exposed tree roots in places.

Don’t miss this amazing tree over a stream of water with aerial roots, a favorite Instagram photo!

Hanging aerial roots of banyan tree over a stream on the Judd Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes through rainforests
Hanging aerial roots of banyan tree over a stream on the Judd Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes through rainforests

The Jackass Ginger pond (with a nominal waterfall) is a popular local hangout on hot days. We’ve seen kids diving off 10-15 feet rocks or enjoying natural water slides into the pool.

If you decide to hike this trail, don’t forget bug spray, and I recommend you wear sturdy hiking shoes with a good grip!

11. Makiki Valley Loop Trail

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 3.4 mile loop
  • Elevation gain: 1053 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

Want a nice, easy, nature hike close to Waikiki and Honolulu? The Makiki Valley Loop Trail, probably the closest easy hike to downtown Honolulu, is a well-maintained, reasonably flat trail through nature, perfect for a half-day adventure with the family.

Makiki Valley Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes near Waikiki and Honolulu
Makiki Valley Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes near Waikiki and Honolulu

I’ve seen families with kids and dogs, parents with baby carriers, older hikers with sticks, and even adventurous bikers on this popular dirt trail.

With lots of shade on the trail all day, this hike can be done in the afternoon as well, but make sure you use sunscreen and bug spray.

To reach the trailhead take Makiki Heights Drive into the Makiki Forest Recreation Area and past the Nature Center to the Forestry and Wildlife yard.

Park in the lot to the right of the yard.

The Makiki Valley Loop Trail is a dirt and rock trail through a lush rainforest with streams, small waterfalls, bridges and interpretive signs describing what you can expect to see along the trail.

As with other forest trails like the Manoa Falls Trail, the dense greenery, everywhere you look, is simply amazing, with natural canopies over the trail and overgrown, exposed roots on the trail!

Dense lush green undergrowth and foliage on the Makiki Valley Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes through a tropical rainforest
Dense lush green undergrowth and foliage on the Makiki Valley Loop Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes through a tropical rainforest

Note, there are many trails that meet or cross, so make sure you stay on the correct trail.

12. ‘Aiea Loop Trail

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 4.8 miles loop
  • Elevation gain: 1259 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: Dogs on leash

Seeking a longer but relatively easy hike to keep the family engaged? The ‘Aiea Loop Trail, about 30 minutes from Waikiki is a beautiful, kid-friendly nature hike in Central Oahu.

Take Aiea Heights Drive into the Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area to the Aiea Loop Trailhead.

You can park at the upper or lower lots, and a restroom is available at the trailhead.

The Aiea Loop Trail is a well-maintained dirt trail with a gradual incline that winds through a lush green tropical rainforest.

Though we hiked in the afternoon, the trees provide a natural canopy of shade over the trail.

Natural canopy of trees on the Aiea Loop Trail
Natural canopy of trees on the Aiea Loop Trail

The kids spotted many trees like strawberry guava trees that were fruiting.

Along the trail there are benches and lookouts where the trail opens to some spectacular views of the valley, mountain ranges and the John Burns Freeway (H3) winding through the valley.

Mountain landscape panorama and scenic view of H3 highway from the Aeia Loop Trail on Oahu, Hawaii.
Mountain landscape panorama and scenic view of H3 highway from the Aeia Loop Trail on Oahu, Hawaii.

You will also see an unfortunate crash site with remnants of a small B-24J airplane.

Don’t forget to watch out for the famous loop tree (a tree with a natural circular loop in its trunk) – a common Instagram photo location!

The loop trail ends in the lower lot which has some grassy areas with benches, ideal for a family picnic!

13. Kaena Point (Farrington Highway) Hike

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 5.0 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 226 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: No dogs

Tired of the crowds near Waikiki and Honolulu? Head to Ka’ena Point Trail in Ka’ena Point State Park, a remote and secluded area of the island, far away from the big city bustle!

Want some exercise? The Ka’ena Point Trail is ideal for a nature jog or for a stint of mountain biking.

You have two starting options for the Kaena Point Trail.

The trailhead on the west side can be reached from Farrington Highway (93) and is better if you are coming from the west coast.

The one on the north side can be reached using Farrington Highway (930) if you are coming from Mokuleia or the North Shore of Oahu.

Kaena Point Trail is a dirt and sand trail that follows the shoreline with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the coast.

Kaena Point Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the northwestern tip of the island
Kaena Point Trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes on the northwestern tip of the island

The trail ends at the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve, a protected area for native plants and animals.

You can expect to see Hawaiian lobelias, Laysan albatrosses and Hawaiian coots.

Keep binoculars handy since Ka’ena Point is a popular spot to watch for spinner dolphins and humpback whales (in winter) breaching the ocean surface. You might also see the endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

If you can get here early for the sunrise or stay late for the sunset, you are in for a spectacular treat! Ka’ena Point Hike is one of the best Oahu sunset hikes and best Oahu sunrise hikes!

Sunset view from Kaena Point, Oahu
Sunset view from Kaena Point, Oahu

14. Koko Crater Botanical Garden Hike

Quick facts

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.7 mile loop
  • Elevation gain: 341 feet
  • Family friendly: Yes (kid-friendly, but difficult for toddlers)
  • Pet friendly: No dogs

A botanical garden in the basin of an ancient volcanic crater? Yes, the Koko Crater Botanical Garden!

What I found really striking about the Koko Crater Botanical Garden was how different it was from the other botanical gardens on Oahu.

Hiking the Koko crater botanical garden trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes
Hiking the Koko crater botanical garden trail, one of the best easy Oahu hikes

The Koko Crater Botanical Garden specializes in plants and trees that flourish in arid, desert-like conditions, the environment and habitat you expect in the crater basin.

You can drive right upto the crater basin (Kokonani Street), and there is a parking lot at the entrance to the botanical garden.

The Koko Crater Botanical Garden hike is on an easy, relatively flat, dirt and gravel trail that takes you through the different sections of the botanical garden.

As you enter, you are in plumeria paradise, if you are visiting during the flowering season from March to October: a spectacular, colorful view of the iconic flowers of Hawaii used to make traditional leis and other flower decorations.

Plumeria trees flowers in Koko Head Botanical Garden, inside Koko Head Crater
Plumeria trees flowers in Koko Head Botanical Garden, inside Koko Head Crater

Along the trail you will see many plants and trees common in arid drylands.

The African and Madagascan section has baobabs, the iconic trees that you see dotting the Savannah landscape of the African plains.

The cactus garden section was my highlight: I was amazed at how many different varieties there were, and how huge and unique some were!

Silver palm tree on Koko Crater botanical garden trail. Honolulu. Oahu. Hawaii. USA
Silver palm tree on Koko Crater botanical garden trail. Honolulu. Oahu. Hawaii. USA

Make sure you carry plenty of water and it can get pretty hot here, so time it appropriately!

Map of the Best Easy Hikes on Oahu

The below easy Oahu hikes map shows the locations of the trails, so you can locate those near you and get directions to the trailhead.

Easy Oahu Hikes: FAQ

What is the easiest hike to a waterfall in Oahu?

The easiest hike to a waterfall in Oahu is the hike on Waimea Valley Falls Trail to Waimea Valley Falls. The paved, well-maintained trail winds through a beautiful botanical garden, and the hike is like a stroll through a park!

What is the number one hike in Oahu?

The hike on Diamond Head Trail to the crater summit is the number one hike in Oahu, immensely popular and a must-hike trail on every Oahu tourist’s bucket list.

What is the easiest hike in Honolulu?

The easiest hike (in nature) close to Honolulu is the Manoa Falls Trail, a short rainforest trail with about 600 feet elevation gain to the 300 foot Manoa Falls. The Makiki Valley Loop Trail is closer to Honolulu, but 3.4 mile loop with an elevation gain of 1050 feet.

What are easy hikes near Waikiki?

The Manoa Falls Trail hike and Makiki Valley Loop Trail hike are two easy hikes close to Waikiki.

What are the best easy Oahu hikes for beginners?

The 5 best easy Oahu hikes for beginners are 1) Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail, 2) Waimea Valley Falls Trail, 3) Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, 4) Manoa Falls Trail and 5) Diamond Head Trail.

What are the best easy Oahu hikes for seniors?

The 3 best easy Oahu hikes for seniors which are well-paved, reasonably short and involve minimal climbing are 1) Ko Olina Beach Walking Trail, 2) Waimea Valley Falls Trail, and 3) Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail.

Hiking Gear Checklist

Many of Hawaii’s hikes are demanding, make sure you are well equipped and well prepared. Here’s what we typically take with us:

Book a Guided Oahu Hiking Adventure!

Excited about hiking in Oahu but haven’t hiked in Hawaii before? This guided hiking adventure is a great way to get started.

It’s customizable to your interests and abilities, and a local guide that’s familiar with the terrain will accompany you. Plus, round-trip transport is included.

You can pick two short hikes or a longer hike, and your guide can suggest specific hikes if you don’t know which ones you want to try.

>> Check pricing and availability on this customizable Oahu hiking adventure now!

Best Oahu Tours

Have you booked these popular Oahu tours and excursions yet?

Love snorkeling? This Turtle Canyon snorkeling excursion from Waikiki lets you frolic with colorful fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. Hands down the MOST BOOKED Oahu snorkeling tour: turtle sightings are guaranteed!

The most popular luau in Oahu, Paradise Cove Luau has a 4.5 rating on Viator with over 3.5K reviews. The tour includes pick-up from your Waikiki hotel, pre-dinner games, arts, and crafts, a delicious meal, and an award-winning show.

Based in Waikiki but want to see more of the island? This full-day Oahu Circle Island Tour includes Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Haleiwa, the Dole Plantation, and more!

Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor! This popular Pearl Harbor tour includes boat tickets and round-trip transport from Waikiki.

A super popular Oahu North Shore excursion, this Oahu shark cage dive allows you to observe wild sharks in the open ocean from the safety of a cage! It’s a THRILLING Oahu adventure for your bucket list.

We have a detailed guide to the top Oahu tours and excursions if you are in the midst of planning your itinerary for the island.

Renting a Car in Oahu

If you want to explore more of the island of Oahu on your vacation, you should get a rental car.

Oahu’s popular attractions are spread over the island: the windward coast, the North Shore, and Ko Olina are great places to explore beyond Waikiki (or the greater Honolulu area).

While Oahu does have public transport options that are better than the other islands, a car offers a lot more flexibility and time savings.

We always use Discover Cars to book Oahu car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Oahu car rentals now!

Honolulu Airport-Hotel Shuttle

If you are not planning to get a rental car at Honolulu Airport, consider booking shuttle transport in advance!

This shared shuttle can be canceled up to 24 hours from the date of service. It serves hotels in Waikiki and Honolulu and then back again to the airport the day you leave. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Oahu now!

Staying in Ko Olina? Consider this round-trip airport transfer instead!

Where to Stay in Oahu

Honolulu (Waikiki in particular) offers a large number of hotels and resorts, along with shopping and dining options. Most visitors to Oahu choose to base in Honolulu at least for a part of their stay.

While many of the large chains have a presence if you are looking to use your memberships, Honolulu also has several unique boutiques to consider.

Our faves include Halekulani for a splurge stay, the Lotus Honolulu for views of Diamond Head, and The Laylow for its awesome location.

Want more room to spread out or looking to stay elsewhere on Oahu? You will find VRBO listings all over the island!

On previous trips to Oahu, we have stayed in VRBO rentals in Waikiki as well as on the North Shore and the east coast and we’ve found the choice and quality great.

>> Look for an Oahu vacation rental on VRBO now!

More Oahu Travel Inspiration

Planning a trip to Oahu? Check out our other in-depth Oahu travel guides for help finalizing your Oahu itinerary!

Start by discovering the best things to do in Oahu. We also have a detailed guide to Oahu’s North Shore, a round-up of things to do on the east side of Oahu, and the best things to do in Ko Olina, on the west coast of the island.

If you ar planning a short first visit to the island, we have the perfect day-by-day 3 days in Oahu itinerary for you!

Of course you’ll want to learn about all the exciting things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital, and Waikiki, the touristic core of Oahu. We also have an article on the best places to eat in Waikiki!

Check out our guide to the best beaches in Oahu, and a round-up of the best beaches on the north shore of Oahu. Also read about must-visit Oahu waterfalls and botanical gardens in Oahu you have to visit.

Oahu is home to so many must-visit landmarks! Check out our in-depth article on how to visit Pearl Harbor, and our guides on the beautiful Waimea Valley in Oahu and the spectacular Byodo-In Temple.

Want to enjoy the thrill of observing sharks in the wild? Check out our article on shark cage diving on Oahu’s North Shore!

Discover the top places to go snorkeling in west Oahu, where you will find a long coastline with lovely beaches, and tips for snorkeling Kaneohe Sandbar on the island’s east coast as well as the super popular Hanauma Bay.

And if you love marine life, also check out our complete guide to (respectfully!) see and swim with dolphins in Oahu, and the best spots to snorkel with turtles in Oahu.

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, we have a round-up of the best Oahu hikes, and if you are looking to exclude the harder Oahu trails, a guide to the best easy Oahu hikes.

Find out how to do the iconic (and VERY popular) Diamond Head Hike near Waikiki for exceptional views. We also have a guide to the very popular Manoa Falls Trail in Honolulu.

More advanced hikers will want to read up on the Koko Head Hike, a long set of stairs leading to expansive views.

Learn where to go for the best sunsets in Oahu, whether you want to hike or enjoy watching a colorful Hawaiian sunset without working up a sweat.

We also have a guide to the best sunrise hikes in Oahu, one of which is the spectacular Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in the southeastern part of the island. The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is another wonderful sunrise hike on Oahu!

If you are a garden enthusiast, check out our detailed guide to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, our article on the unique Koko Crater Botanical Garden, and our guide to Foster Botanical Garden!

Discover easy hiking trails in Oahu, Hawaii, from the gorgeous Makapuu Lighthouse Trail to the lovely Manoa falls Trail!

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