Top 8 Most Famous Hikes in Hawaii

Oct 30 , 2021 · 5 min read

With postcard-worthy views everywhere you turn, it’s no surprise that Hawaii is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. From crystal blue waters and hidden coves to massive volcanoes and towering waterfalls, Hawaii is abundant with breathtaking natural beauty. 

It’s this incredible beauty that makes The Aloha State so popular for hiking, but with hundreds of trails to choose from; how can you find the best hikes in Hawaii? Our team at Trip Support has rounded up the very best of the best, from hikes in Hawaii with waterfalls to hikes in Hawaii with views of active volcanoes. 

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Without further ado, here are the top 8 most famous hikes in Hawaii: 

1. Kalalau Trail, Kauai

Kalalau Trail, Kauai in hawaii

Perhaps the most famous hike in Hawaii, the Kalalau Trail is a quintessential trail that encapsulates the beauty of Kauai. Clocking in at approximately 11 miles each way, this popular hiking trail is not for the faint of heart. Kalalau Trail is world-renowned for its sweeping views of the Na Pali Coast, which can only be seen by land through this hike.

With hazards like narrow trails and falling rocks, this hiking trail is not meant for beginners. Before taking on Kalalau Trail, always make sure to check the current trail conditions and weather forecast to prepare yourself for what’s ahead. If you’re an experienced hiker looking for a new challenge, this is a can’t-miss hiking spot.

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2. Manoa Falls Trail, Oahu

Located in Oahu’s Manoa Valley, the Manoa Falls Trail takes hikers through a lush tropical rainforest and ends at the 150-foot Manoa Falls. The scenery found throughout this beautiful hike is like something out of a movie—really, scenes from Jurassic Park and Lost were shot here. Between the vibrant tropical plant life and abundance of unique wildlife, there is much to be admired throughout the duration of the hike.

Consisting of just 1.6 miles roundtrip with very little elevation gain, Manoa Falls Trail is a relatively easy hike that can be done with kids. Because the Manoa Valley gets a significant amount of rainfall, it’s important to check the weather before venturing out to avoid getting caught in a flash flood.

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3. Diamond Head Summit Trail, Oahu

Diamond Head Summit Trail, Oahu in hawaii

Diamond Head Summit Trail is named after one of Hawaii’s most famous natural landmarks, an enormous volcanic crater that spans over 475 acres. Nestled along the Waikiki Coast in Oahu, this historic hiking trail offers panoramic coastal views from the top that guarantee to take your breath away. 

While the trail itself is under 2 miles each way, it’s an arduous climb to the top. With a 560-foot elevation gain in under a mile, it’s certainly not the easiest hike in Hawaii. However, the view from the top of the summit is well worth the shortness of breath, as the stunning views of the Waikiki Coast can’t be beat. 

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4. Sliding Sands Trail, Maui

Located in Maui’s Haleakalā National Park, Sliding Sands Trail features otherworldly views that will make you feel like you’ve left Hawaii and traveled to Mars. With 11 miles roundtrip and an elevation gain of 2,795 feet, this trail is recommended only for experienced hikers. For a more moderate adventure, you can easily hike only part of the trail and still take in some amazing views. 

Sliding Sands Trail departs near the summit of Haleakalā volcano, then descends to the crater floor with astonishing once-in-a-lifetime views of the crater. Because the trail extends downward, it’s important to keep in mind that however far you travel down, you will eventually have to make it back up. 

5. Lanikai Pillbox Hike, Oahu

Lanikai Pillbox Hike, Oahu in hawaii

Nicknamed after the “pillboxes” that are scattered throughout the hike, Lanikai Pillbox Hike in Oahu is a moderate hike that extends 1.8 miles along the Kaiwa Ridge. While the entire hike takes between an hour and a half to two hours to complete, the first pillbox can be found within thirty minutes of walking, perfect for those looking for a short trek. 

Known for its picturesque views of Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands, Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a fantastic trail for those looking for a moderate hike in Hawaii that can be done with the whole family. For the ultimate photo op, plan your hike around the sunset. 

6. Pearl Harbor Historic Trail, Oahu

Ideal for history buffs and adventurers alike, Pearl Harbor Historic Trail offers an emotional and up-close tour of America’s involvement in World War II. While the entire trail extends 16.7 miles roundtrip, it’s most well-known for the 6-mile stretch that encompasses the area’s history. 

This moderate trail is popular for both hiking and biking, with scenic views of Oahu and stops at the Pacific Aviation Museum and Pacific National Monument along the way. For the ultimate combination of history and natural beauty, Pearl Harbor Historic Trail is one hike in Hawaii you won’t want to miss.

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7. Halema’uma’u Trail,

Halema’uma’u Trail,in hawaii

Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Halema’uma’u Trail starts in a tropical rainforest and descends to the floor of Kīlauea Caldera. This picturesque hiking trail boasts lush vegetation, incredible biodiversity, and panoramic views of the volcanic caldera. 

With approximately 1.7 miles roundtrip and 429 feet of elevation gain, Halema’uma’u Trail is a moderate hike filled with stunning views from start to finish. The hike to the bottom is fairly easy as you descend, with more of a workout to get back to the top. For some of the best views in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this trail makes a fantastic choice.

8. Mauna Kea

Last but most certainly not least is Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in Hawaii. Rising to an elevation of nearly 14,000 feet, Mauna Kea is not for the faint of heart. While this hike is known as one of the hardest hikes in Hawaii, it’s also known as one of the most beautiful. 

The strenuous climb takes you above the cloud line, allowing for some of the most breathtaking sunset views seen anywhere in the world. With an elevation gain of 4,783 feet, this incredible 11.2 mile trail is equally difficult and rewarding.

If you’re dreaming of traveling to Hawaii to see these spectacular hiking trails for yourself, our team at Trip Support is here to help you turn that dream into reality. With our Book Now, Pay Later flights model, the world’s most desirable travel destinations are no longer out of reach. 

Contact us today to get started on planning the Hawaiian vacation of your dreams!


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