Top 10 Hikes in Hawaii for Scenic Adventures

The beauty of Hawaii lies in its nature and the best way to step closer to this nature is by hiking its numerous trails. Treating hikers to the magnificent views of volcanic craters, tropical forests, and rugged coastal cliffs, these trails take you on a memorable journey. Be it the trail to Kalapana Lava where you get to see the dance of ocean and lava, or Hi’ilawe Falls – Waipio Valley Trail that ends at a cascading majestic fall, every hike will let you take in the best of Hawaii. The Pipiwai Trail and the Iao Needle Trail are great to hike if you are on an adventure with kids in Hawaii. Take a look at these top 10 hikes in Hawaii if you want to step into the wilderness of the state. 

1. Manoa Falls Trail, Oahu

Manoa Falls Trail, OahuImage Source: wikimedia.org

To experience one of the best Hawaii waterfall hikes, the Manoa Falls Trail in Oahu is your best bet. Laced through the lush green Hawaiian rainforest, this is a short hike of just 1.6 miles near Honolulu, leading to the cascading Manoa Falls at the end. The out and back trail has an elevation gain of over 500 feet and is as easy as it can get for hikers of all skill levels. 

Difficulty Level: Easy

Time taken to complete the hike: 1-2 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

2. Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea Canyon, KauaiImage Source: wikimedia.org

Waimea Canyon stands amongst the best places to hike in Hawaii. Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, it offers numerous hiking trails. The one that is a favorite of all is the Canyon Trail to Waipoo Falls, stretched 3.2-mile long. The trail does get a little steep at times, so it is recommended to only those with good physical fitness and prior hiking experience. Novice hikers may also take this trail but are advised to avoid it during rains. 

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Time taken to complete the hike: 2-3 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

3. Trail to Kalapana Lava, Big Island

Trail to Kalapana Lava, Big IslandImage Source: wikimedia.org

Now, who wouldn’t want to walk along the path that lets you see lava meeting the ocean? Fascinating, isn’t it?! The Kalapana Lava Viewing Trail is 9.5-mile out and back trail. Hiking along this route, you not only get to see lava fields, but also walk over them that are made of lava rock. The trail also features hot springs and at the end of it, you get to witness the ultimate battle between the lava and the roaring ocean waves. 

Difficulty level: Easy

Time taken to complete the hike: 3-4 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

4. Hi’ilawe Falls – Waipio Valley Trail, Big Island

Hi’ilawe Falls – Waipio Valley Trail, Big IslandImage Source: wikimedia.org

Waipio Valley is another great hiking place in Hawaii. Offering breathtaking vistas, the ‘Valley of the Kings’ is blessed with abundant natural beauty. The trail to Hi’ilawe Falls in the Waipio Valley is not for the faint hearted. Walking along the trail, you have to cross the Hi’ilawe Stream several times, which is sometimes even neck deep. But in the end, it is worth all the efforts when you see the gorgeous Hi’ilawe Falls cascading from a height of over 1400 feet. 

Difficulty Level: Hard

Time taken to complete the hike: 4-5 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

5. Kalalau Trail, Kauai

Kalalau Trail, KauaiImage Source: wikimedia.org

The Kalalau Trail is known as one of the most famous Hawaii hiking trails. This 11-mile trail takes you through five valleys, across rugged seaside cliffs, before dropping to the sea level at the end. And all this while, you are treated to mesmerizing views of the Na Pali Coast. One of the best spots to relax after the hike is the Kalalau Beach.

Difficulty Level: Extremely Hard

Time taken to complete the hike: 1-2 days

Best time to hike: All year-round

6. Molokai Forest Reserve Road Trail

Molokai Forest Reserve Road TrailImage Source: flickr.com

If you wish to see wildlife while hiking in Hawaii, then the Molokai Forest Reserve Road Trail is just right for you. Offering plenty of wildlife sighting opportunities, it is an 11.2-mile out and back trail. Laced through verdant greenery and tall bushy trees, this trail places you right in the heart of nature. Mountain biking or off-road driving can also be enjoyed along this trail.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Time taken to complete the hike: 3-4 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

7. Pipiwai Trail, Maui

Pipiwai Trail, MauiImage Source: flickr.com

Pipiwai Trails is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfall trails in Hawaii. It is a 3.4-mile out and back trail, laced through the thick bamboo forest of Hawaii. As you hike the trail, you will come across a number of lovely waterfalls, before reaching the end where you are welcomed by the roar of the picturesque Waimoku Falls. The trail is good even for kids, making it a family-friendly hike in Hawaii. 

Difficulty Level: Easy

Time taken to complete the trail: 1-2 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

8. Iao Needle Trail, Maui

Iao Needle Trail, MauiImage Source: wikimedia.org

If you have a very short period of time at hands, yet want to explore the wilderness of Hawaii, then take the Iao Needle Trail. Meandering through the Iao Needle State Park, this is a 0.4mile loop trail. With a simple elevation gain of just 114 feet, it is a very kid-friendly hiking trail in Hawaii. Walking along the trail, you will come across a variety of wildflowers and wild animals.

Difficulty level: Easy

Time taken to complete the hike: 1-2 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

9. Haiku Stairs, Oahu (Beware - it is illegal to hike)

Haiku Stairs, OahuImage Source: summitpost.org

One of the best ways to view heaven (even when you are alive) is by taking the Haiku Stairs. Known as the Stairway to Heaven, this is a steep staircase with more than 3,900 steps. Although the out and back trail is moderately trafficked, beware that it is closed to public. People are warned that they may get fined for climbing the stairway, but you will see many taking the trail for just the spectacular vistas. 

Difficulty Level: Hard

Time taken to complete the trail: 4-5 hours

Best time to hike: All year-round

10. Mauna Kea-Humu'ula Trail

Mauna Kea-Humu'ula TrailImage Source: nps.gov

For those looking to have an adrenaline packed hike in Hawaii, the Mauna Kea-Humu’ula Trail is the challenge. Taking you to the summit of the highest mountain in Hawaii, this is an out and back trail, measuring 11.2 miles. With an elevation gain of over 4,700 feet, the Mauna Kea-Humu'ula Trail is no simple trail and is recommended only to experienced mountaineers. The trail is, however, beautiful and features panoramic vistas of lakes and oceans. 

Difficulty Level: Hard

Time taken to complete the hike: 5-7 hours

Best time to hike: March to December

While you will find hiking paths all over the volcanic archipelago, these best hikes in Hawaii will let you have the most adventurous time. Decide soon which one to hike and let us know in the comments. 

dotted-line
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Usually lost in a reverie, Ketki is someone who absolutely refuses to live in the practical world. While she has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, she should be honored mastery in procrastination ...

dotted-line

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

NEXT ARTICLE

dotted-line