Nature Lovers, if you love lush, tropical islands filled with exotic plant and animal species, Oahu is the place to go! I live in San Francisco, so I'm used to redwoods, coastal scrub, and wetlands. Hawaii was an amazing change of scenery. I fell in love with the warm weather, blue skies, and gorgeous plant life with their vibrant hues of green and colorful flowers.
Most hikes I completed were relatively short with different levels of difficulty, but all offered amazing views. In more local spots, expect trail runners and military training. Military people will be easy to spot running with weighted packs!
Pro-tip #1: Remember to wear sunscreen, a baseball cap, and hiking shoes. Carry extra socks and a water bottle in a lightweight backpack. Your socks will be stinky from the hike and soaking wet from the warm weather, alone.
Pro-tip #2: Schedule your hikes during golden hour--the time of day when the sun is the lowest (most horizontal) just before it sets. For mornings, golden hour occurs about an hour after sunrise. For evenings, golden hour occurs about an hour before sunset.
Here are the three amazing hikes I took in Oahu:
1. Koko Head Trail
Level of Difficulty: Medium
Distance: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 642 feet
Time: 1 to 1.5 hours roundtrip depending on skill level
Show Me the Money: Breathtaking panoramic views of Oahu. You can see Lanikai, Hanauma Bay, and Honolulu all from one spot at the top. This was my favorite hike!
Trail: Climb (yes, literally) up railroad ties. The longer your legs, the faster you'll fly up. The ties are spaced about 1 1/2 feet on center or more, so be careful if you aren't particularly nimble or fast. Take your time on this one. It's very easy to fall, but doesn't happen often.
2. Radio Tower at Hanuama Bay Trail
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Distance: about 2+ miles roundtrip to the radio tower
Time: 1 hour roundtrip
Show Me the Money: Gorgeous view of Hanuama Bay from above. You can get a better view of the reef formations and the waves from higher up. You might see a litter of feral cats on a hot day sleeping in the bushes or sitting in trees.
Trail: Paved for truck access. Leisurely and great for all ages and skill levels.
3. Manoa Falls Trail
Level of Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
Time: 1 hour roundtrip
Show Me the Money: Lush forest with abundant plant life. Scenes of the new and old Jurassic Park were filmed here! The waterfall is beautiful, but I enjoyed the journey more than the destination.
Pro-tip #1: There is an area with a swinging vine, so look for it half way up the trail on the right-hand side.
Pro-tip #2: I used Oahu Nature Tours for this hike. It was fantastic having the luxury of riding in an air conditioned shuttle bus. The guide was extremely knowledgable, and talked about the geological history of Hawaii.
So there you go. Enjoy these three amazing hikes in Oahu!