When it comes to breathtaking sunset experiences, few places can rival the enchanting beauty of Oahu, Hawaii. With its captivating landscapes, idyllic beaches, and panoramic vistas, Oahu is a tropical paradise.
Sunset hikes in Oahu, Hawaii, let you admire spectacular Hawaiian sunsets from amazing vantage points!
In this blog post, we will take you to the 9 best Oahu sunset hikes and the 7 best Oahu sunset locations (without hiking), ensuring you don’t miss a single moment of the island’s awe-inspiring sunset views.
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Map of the Best Oahu Sunset Hikes and the Best Oahu Sunset Locations
The below map shows the locations of the 9 best sunset hikes in Oahu and the 7 best locations to watch Oahu sunsets without hiking.
9 Best Sunset Hikes in Oahu
Oahu, Hawaii, is a haven for sunset lovers with stunning vantage points that offers so many options to witness the magic of Oahu’s sunsets. Whether you prefer coastal hikes, elevated viewpoints, or iconic landmarks, there’s a perfect hike for you!
Ehukai Pillbox Hike Trail
The Ehukai Pillbox Trail offers a short and popular hike with stunning sunset views from the top (one of the best sunset hikes in Oahu and, hence, the hike is also called the Sunset Pillbox Hike).
The Ehukai Pillbox Trail is named after the pillboxes along the hike, which are World War II-era concrete bunkers that offer an intriguing glimpse into Oahu’s history, while also serving as perfect vantage points for capturing panoramic views.
The trailhead is located near the Sunset Elementary School in the north shore area of Oahu. The trail begins with a short walk through a residential area before leading you into the lush vegetation, immersing you in the island’s natural beauty.
The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is a relatively short hike that spans approximately 1.6 miles round trip, but with a moderate difficulty level, since the hike includes some steep inclines and uneven terrain.
It caters to hikers of various skill levels and remains manageable for most individuals, including families with older children.
As you ascend along the trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the North Shore coastline and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The towering palm trees and vibrant tropical foliage provide a picturesque backdrop, immersing you in the island’s natural splendor.
Keep an eye out for native bird species and the occasional glimpse of the ocean’s turquoise waters, as you make your way to the pillboxes.
The first pillbox provides a fantastic perspective of the surrounding landscape, but the real treat awaits at the second pillbox.
At the second pillbox, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible sunset view over the Ehukai Beach and the Banzai pipeline beach. Positioned on a ridge, this vantage point allows you to witness the sun’s descent in all its glory.
The vibrant hues of orange and pink wash over the sky, reflecting off the shimmering waters below, creating a postcard-worthy scene that will leave you breathless.
The majestic sunset at the second pillbox is the perfect punctuation mark to a remarkable hiking experience.
>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!
Lanikai Pillbox Hike Trail (Kaiwa Ridge Trail)
The Lanikai Pillbox Trail (also called the Ka’Iwa Ridge Trail) is a must-do hike for those seeking stunning views and a memorable sunset experience on Oahu’s eastern coast.
The trailhead is located on Kaelepulu Drive, where you can find street parking (plan to reach early).
Spanning approximately 1.8 miles round trip, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for families with older children and hikers of various skill levels.
While there are some steep sections along the way, the rewarding views and manageable distance make it a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.
As you start your ascent, you’ll immediately be captivated by the beauty that surrounds you. You’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of Lanikai Beach, often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
As you climb higher, the panoramic views of the turquoise waters and the Mokulua Islands emerge, creating a scene straight out of a postcard. The gentle sea breeze accompanies you throughout the journey, enhancing the overall experience.
For an unforgettable sunset experience, make your way to the second pillbox. Positioned atop a ridge, this vantage point offers an unobstructed view of the setting sun, casting its golden rays over the horizon.
As the sun paints the sky with vibrant hues of orange and pink, you’ll witness the transformation of Lanikai Beach into a mesmerizing tableau.
The Mokulua Islands, silhouetted against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, add a touch of magic to the already breathtaking scenery.
Planning this hike? Check out our tips in the Lanikai Pillbox Hike Trail Guide!
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Hike
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Hike is a relatively easy sunset hike in Oahu that takes you to the southeastern tip of Oahu, offering panoramic views and a stunning sunset experience.
The trailhead is located in the Makapu’u Point State Wayside Park where parking is available.
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail spans approximately 2 miles round trip. The well-maintained trail consists of paved paths and some inclines, providing a comfortable family-friendly hiking experience.
As you make your way up the trail, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged coastline. The striking contrast between the deep blue waters and the dramatic cliffs creates a picturesque backdrop for your hike.
Along the way, keep an eye out for native plant species such as naupaka and hala trees.
Continue your hike until you reach the iconic Makapu’u Lighthouse lookout, perched atop the cliffs, with an excellent vantage point to witness the sun’s descent.
The lighthouse itself, with its striking red and white structure, stands as a symbol of Oahu’s maritime history.
As the golden hour approaches, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, casting a warm glow over the ocean. The panoramic view from the lookout provides an awe-inspiring setting to embrace the beauty of a Makapu’u sunset.
Read our detailed blog post on the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail Oahu to plan this hike!
Kaena Point Hike
The Kaena Point Hike is a captivating hike that takes you to the westernmost tip of Oahu, offering breathtaking views and a unique sunset experience.
The hike begins at either the Keawaula (Yokohama Bay) or Mokuleia Rock Beach trailhead, depending on the starting point you choose. Both trailheads provide parking options, allowing for easy access to the trail.
Spanning approximately 4 miles round trip, the Kaena Point Trail is rated moderate difficulty due to its length, while the trail itself is relatively flat. Note that this hike is not stroller-friendly and may not be suitable for very young children.
During the hike and at the Kaena Point Arch and the Hawaiian Monk Seal Beach viewpoints, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Pacific Ocean stretching and the untamed beauty of Oahu’s western shore, with its rugged cliffs and crashing waves.
The trail is adorned with native vegetation, such as naupaka and kiawe trees, adding to the picturesque scenery. Keep an eye out for native bird species near the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve, such as the Laysan albatross, as they soar above the coastal cliffs.
For a truly mesmerizing sunset view, make your way to Kaena Point itself. This remote and secluded area serves as the westernmost point of the island, offering an unobstructed view of the setting sun.
The rocky terrain, crashing waves, and panoramic ocean vistas create a sense of awe and tranquility that is unique to this hike.
During winter, you may even spot some whales along the shoreline!
If you visit Hawaii in winter, and plan a stop in Maui, don’t miss out on this best time for whale watching in Maui – plan a whale watching session using our detailed blog post!
>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!
Turtle Bay Pillbox Hike
Unlike some of the more popular hikes on the island, the Turtle Bay Pillbox Hike is a hidden gem that provides a quieter and more intimate experience. The trailhead is located near the Turtle Bay Resort and has ample parking.
The Turtle Bay Pillbox Trail spans approximately 1.5 miles round trip and is relatively flat, but sandy. Along the trail, keep an eye out for native bird species, such as the Hawaiian honeycreeper, as they flit among the trees.
Continue your hike until you reach the pillbox at the top. Positioned on a ridge overlooking the coastline, the pillbox offers an ideal vantage point to witness the sun’s descent over the Kawela Bay.
As the golden hour approaches, the sky transforms into a vibrant canvas of colors, casting a warm glow over the North Shore.
From the pillbox, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the ocean, the sandy beaches, and the verdant hills, creating a picturesque sunset scene.
Koko Head Hike Trail (Koko Crater Tramway)
The Koko Head Hike takes you up a historic railway track to the summit of Koko Crater, offering stunning views and one of the best sunsets on Oahu.
Hiking Koko Head for sunset is one of the most epic things to do in Oahu!
The trailhead for this hike is located at the Koko Head District Park, where you’ll find ample parking available.
The Koko Crater Railway Trail spans approximately 1.8 miles round trip, but don’t let the distance fool you – it is a challenging and steep ascent (moderate to difficult level).
The trail follows the old railway track, which consists of over 1,000 steps made from railroad ties.
Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by the vibrant colors of tropical flora and may catch glimpses of native bird species.
As you approach the summit, the views become increasingly panoramic, with the sparkling Pacific Ocean stretching out before you and the island of Oahu revealing its beauty.
The wide expanse at the summit of Koko Crater provides an ideal vantage point to witness the sun sinking below the horizon with a 360-degree view of the island.
As the golden hour arrives, the sky transforms into a masterpiece of oranges, pinks, and purples, reflecting off the ocean’s surface.
This hike is popular among locals and tourists who seek a physical challenge and a memorable sunset experience with stunning views of Oahu’s coastline.
Planning this hike? Check out our tips in the Koko Head Hike Trail Guide!
Diamond Head Summit Hike
The Diamond Head Summit Hike offers stunning views from one of Hawaii’s most iconic geological features: a volcanic crater that is now part of the Diamond Head State Monument park.
The trailhead for this hike is conveniently located within Diamond Head State Monument, just a short drive from Waikiki.
As you arrive at the park entrance, you’ll find ample parking and a clearly marked trail leading to the summit.
The hike covers approximately 1.6 miles round trip (about 2+ hours) of a well-maintained path with sections of stairs and switchbacks, making it relatively short but moderately challenging.
While there are some steep sections, the hike is considered family-friendly and suitable for all ages, but not ADA accessible.
As you ascend the Diamond Head Summit Trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Along the way, you’ll pass through a series of tunnels and bunkers, remnants of the area’s military history.
From the summit of Diamond Head, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Waikiki Beach, the Pacific Ocean, and the cityscape of Honolulu.
The park closes at 6:00 pm, so you may not be able to see the sunset, but you can still admire the fantastic views!
The hike is a favorite among both locals and tourists and provides a unique perspective of the iconic Diamond Head Crater, with sweeping vistas that showcase the natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands.
Online reservations are required and you must enter by 4:00 pm to hike the trail. The admission fee for tourists to the enter the park is currently $5 per person and $10 per vehicle.
Here are the best tips for hiking the Diamond Head Summit Trail!
Mt. Olomana Three Peaks Hike Trail
The Olomana Three Peaks Hike is one of the best sunset hikes in Oahu that takes you to the iconic peaks of the Ko’olau Mountain Range, offering breathtaking views and one of the best sunsets in Oahu.
The three peaks are Olomana (1643 feet), Puu Manamana (1586 feet) and Puu Ka Ilihi (1553 feet).
The trailhead for this hike is located at the end of Ahiki Street in Kailua, where you’ll find limited parking available. The trail begins with a steep incline and quickly immerses you in the lush, tropical surroundings.
The Olomana Three Peaks Trail covers approximately 4.5 miles round trip (roughly 5+ hours) with an advanced difficulty level, as it involves steep ascents, narrow ridges, and sections that require scrambling.
It requires a good level of fitness, agility, and proper hiking gear.
As you navigate the trail, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range, the verdant valleys, and the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The lush foliage and tropical flora create a stunning backdrop, showcasing the natural beauty of Oahu.
Keep an eye out for native bird species, such as the ‘I’iwi and ‘Apapane, as they flutter among the trees.
While the Olomana Three Peaks Hike does not offer a specific designated spot to watch the sunset, the vantage points along the ridges provide unparalleled views as the sun dips below the horizon.
The exposed nature of the hike allows you to witness the changing colors of the sky and the distant silhouette of the Hawaiian Islands.
The three distinct peaks require careful navigation, especially during the descents. Plan your hike with ample time to descend before it gets dark, as the trail can become challenging in low light.
This hike is popular among experienced hikers and thrill-seekers who crave a challenging and rewarding adventure.
>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!
Pu’u Manamana Hike (Crouching Lion Hike)
The Pu’u Manamana Hike, also known as the Crouching Lion Hike, is a thrilling hike located on Oahu’s windward side.
The trailhead can be found along Kamehameha Highway (Route 83) in Kaaawa, offering convenient access for hikers.
This hike covers a distance of approximately 2.5 miles round trip, making it a moderate-level hike in terms of length.
However, the Pu’u Manamana Trail is challenging due to its steep and exposed sections, rocky terrain, and narrow ridges.
The trail traverses along a narrow ridge, offering panoramic vistas of lush valleys, jagged cliffs, and the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The beauty of Oahu’s windward coast unfolds before your eyes, creating a sense of awe and appreciation for the natural wonders of the Hawaiian Islands.
While the Pu’u Manamana Trail is not specifically known as a sunset hike, the stunning sunset views from the summit are truly worth the effort.
The golden hues of the descending sun paint the sky with vibrant colors, casting a warm glow over the surrounding mountains and the vast ocean beyond.
Summary Table of the 9 Best Sunset Hikes in Oahu
The below table provides a quick summary of the best sunset hikes in Oahu discussed above.
|Trail Name||Trailhead Location||Distance (Round Trip)||Difficulty||Elevation Gain|
|Turtle Bay Pillbox Trail||North Shore, Oahu||2.4 miles||Easy||500 feet|
|Ehukai Pillbox Trail||North Shore, Oahu||1.6 miles||Easy||400 feet|
|Lanikai Pillbox Trail||Kailua, Oahu||2.2 miles||Moderate||600 feet|
|Diamond Head Summit Trail||Honolulu, Oahu||1.6 miles||Moderate||560 feet|
|Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail||Waimanalo, Oahu||2.5 miles||Moderate||500 feet|
|Koko Crater Railway Trail||Hawaii Kai, Oahu||1.8 miles||Moderate||1,048 feet|
|Kaena Point Trail||Waianae, Oahu||5.4 miles||Moderate||220 feet|
|Pu’u Manamana Trail||Kaaawa, Oahu||2.5 miles||Difficult||1,500 feet|
|Mt. Olomana (Three Peaks) Trail||Kailua, Oahu||4.2 miles||Difficult||1,500 feet|
7 Best Oahu Sunset Locations (Watch the Sunset on Oahu Without Hiking)
If you’re not a fan of hiking but still want to experience the beauty of Oahu’s sunsets, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with the seven best Oahu sunset locations that don’t require a hike.
Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park, located in Honolulu along the south shore, is my favorite best place to watch the sunset on Oahu, strolling along the sandy shore of Waikiki Beach, feeling the gentle ocean breeze on your skin.
The beach is among the most beautiful beaches in Oahu and the park offers a lagoon, palm trees and grassy areas.
As the sun begins its descent, the sky transforms into a breathtaking display of colors, painting the Pacific Ocean in hues of gold and pink.
Find a cozy spot on the beach, spread out a blanket, and immerse yourself in the perfect atmosphere for a stunning sunset experience.
Waikiki Beach is not only famous for its pristine sands and crystal-clear waters but also for some of the best sunsets in Oahu. As evening falls, the beach comes alive with vibrant energy.
Grab a seat at one of the oceanfront restaurants or lounges, order your favorite tropical drink, and watch as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the Pacific.
The combination of the beautiful sunset, the sound of crashing waves, and the bustling atmosphere creates an unforgettable experience.
Ko Olina Lagoons
Escape the crowds and head to Ko Olina Lagoons, a hidden gem on the western coast of Oahu.
This tranquil paradise offers sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, and breathtaking sunset views.
China Walls, a stretch of lava rock ledges near Hanauma Bay, is a great spot to watch the sunset.
Be prepared for a steep incline and rocky terrain as you make your way to this beautiful place.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, making it a perfect place to witness unforgettable sunsets.
If you’re a fan of snorkeling or want to explore the underwater world, Shark’s Cove is the place to be.
Located on the North Shore of Oahu, this rocky shoreline also offers an excellent spot to witness a beautiful sunset while being surrounded by a natural aquarium.
Located in the Tantalus-Arboretum Trail area near Honolulu, inside the Puu Ualakaa State Park, the Tantalus Lookout provides a panoramic view of the city, Diamond Head, and the Pacific Ocean.
It’s an excellent spot to watch the sunset while taking in the city lights.
Sunset Beach Park
As the name suggests, Sunset Beach Park is a go-to spot for witnessing breathtaking sunsets.
Located on the North Shore, this beach offers a long stretch of sandy shoreline where you can find your perfect spot to enjoy the evening’s display of colors.
Bonus: Oahu Sunset Cruise
Sunset cruises offer a unique perspective, allowing you to witness the vibrant colors of the sky as the sun dips below the horizon.
We took this top-rated, small group tour on a traditional Polynesian canoe and loved it!
These cruises often include amenities such as live music, delicious meals, and refreshing drinks, enhancing the overall experience.
Whether you choose a catamaran, sailboat, or yacht, a sunset cruise in Hawaii provides a romantic and picturesque setting to create lasting memories.
Check out these highly rated sunset cruises:
Best Sunset Hikes in Oahu: FAQ
Where is the best place to watch the sunset on Oahu?
The best place to watch the sunset on Oahu is hands-down the Sunset Beach! Located on North Shore, roughly 40 miles from Honolulu, Sunset Beach is aptly named for its spectacular sunsets!
Should you hike Diamond Head at sunrise or sunset?
You should hike Diamond Head at sunrise, if you are interested in seeing sunrise or sunset. The reason is simple: the park closes at 6:00 pm, and you may not be able to stay till sunset. Most winter months you should be able to see the sunrise.
Beautiful Memories of Oahu Sunsets
Oahu, Hawaii, is a treasure trove of enchanting sunset hikes and perfect places to watch the sun paint the sky with its golden hues.
From the sandy shores of Ala Moana Beach Park and Waikiki Beach to the panoramic vistas of Tantalus Lookout and the rugged beauty of China Walls, each location offers a unique perspective on nature’s masterpiece.
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.
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 advennture 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Want to enjoy the thrill of observing sharks in the wild? Check out our article on shark cage diving on Oahu’s North Shore!
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!
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