Moanalua Valley trail near honolulu

7 Of The Best Walks In Honolulu

Honolulu is Hawaii’s capital city, famous for its incredible beaches, hotels, and nightlife. But it’s also home to glistening turquoise waters, mountains carpeted with lush greenery, and fascinating biodiversity. Basically, it has it all. So, if you want a break from the city, you’re never far from a beautiful walking trail. Whether you’re in Honolulu as a tourist or live here as a local, getting outdoors and enjoying the scenery while working up a sweat is one of the best ways to explore it. Be it hiking up the ridge of a mountain, walking along the coastline, or trekking through a rainforest, there’s a walk for you. Here are 7 of the best walks in Honolulu.

Best Walks in Honolulu

1. Diamond Head Crater Hike

Length: 4 miles
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes

For stunning, wide-spanning views of Honolulu, this walk is up there. The path starts off from inside the crater itself and is fully paved with barriers on each side, so it’s a safe and accessible walk – just keep a lookout for loose gravel. It takes about an hour to reach the summit, which is at 650 feet elevation. When you get there, you’ll be able to look into the crater and out towards the neverending ocean, as well as clear views of Waikiki Beach and the city of Honolulu. For a relatively short walk, there’s certainly a big reward.

Diamond Head Crater in honolulu

2. Koko Crater Railway Trailhead

Length: 1.6 miles
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

This is one of the most popular walks in Honolulu and it’s certainly unique. Visitors climb over 1,000 of ‘steps’, which actually used to be train tracks. These tracks are remnants of what was built during WWII to transport soldiers and cargo – you get a combination of history, nature, and views. It’s a steep incline to the top, you’ll want to pack water and you may need to take breaks along the way. But once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Koko Head Crater and the east Honolulu shoreline.

Koko Crater Railway Trailhead

3. Moanalua Valley Trail

Length: 10.4 miles
Duration: 6 hours

If you liked the steps along the Koko Trailhead, you’ll love the Moanalua Valley Trail for its famous Haiku Stairs. It must be said this trail is for seasoned hikers, it’s a tough walk and definitely not suited to someone that’s scared of heights. Also, check the weather conditions, because it can get dangerous if it’s windy. That being said, it’s one of, if not the not, the most spectacular walks in Honolulu. Hikers traverse through a forest, a mountain ride, and of course, the Haiku Stairs. The stairs are commonly known as the Stairway to Heaven, and the sweeping view from up there is breathtaking.

Haiku Stairs near honolulu

4. Kuliouou Ridge Trail

Length: 4.7 miles
Duration: 3 hours 10 minutes

This walk takes you through a forest dense with fall, thin trees, before ascending the mountain on the ridgeline. It’s a challenging walk, gaining an elevation of around 1,800 feet, but the views are worth it. Bear in mind that when you reach the top, you’ll be met with some stairs! Keep going, the view across the Kuliouou Valley, East Oahu, the farmlands of Waimanalo, the Kailua coastline, and the Koko Crater all make it worth it. Be sure to check the weather beforehand – it can get very slippery after it’s rained.

Kuliouou Ridge trail

5. Manoa Falls Trail

Length: 1.7 miles
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Forget beaches and ocean views for a while, welcome to Manoa Valley – Hawaii’s rainforest. This microclimate offers something so different from the rest of Honolulu. Don’t be surprised if you start to feel a drizzle despite it being hot – it’s a tropical rainforest, after all! It can get a bit muddy because of the rain, so make sure to wear suitable shoes. The walk is absolutely captivating as you wind through luscious greenery and native wildflowers. The rainforest is so beautiful, it was actually a filming location for Jurassic Park and the TV series LOST. While it’s a relatively easy walk, you’ll be met with the Manoa Falls, a stunning 150-foot waterfall.

Manoa Valley

6. Ka’au Crater Trail

Length: 6 miles
Duration: 5 hours

Have you ever wanted to hike up a waterfall? Well, along the Ka’au Crater Trail, you can. This challenging but rewarding hike takes you through a valley before continuing upstream to the first out of the three waterfalls. It also includes a windy and narrow volcano crater rim walk, which is certainly an adventure. The third waterfall is the one you can climb up, where you get unbeatable views of the Ka’au Crater, but it has to be made clear – this is extremely slippy and can be dangerous, wear sensible shoes and only do it if you feel capable. Having said that, you do get an amazing reward for your efforts; a view of Oahu, Olomana, The Mokes, and Chinamans Hat.

Ka'au Crater Trail

7. Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail

Length: 4.3 miles
Duration: 2 hours

For nonstop ocean views, this walk is as good as it gets. Visitors enjoy crystal clear views of the coastline, as well as Koko Head Crater and Hanauma Bay. It’s a relatively unknown trail, so you could have the place all to yourself. Perfect for bringing a picnic and enjoying the view in peace. Do bear in mind that the trail isn’t shaded, so we recommend you wear a hat, and suncream, and pack enough water. And sometimes all you want in the heat is a dip in the water, so why not head down to one of the hidden beaches for a swim?

Hanauma Bay

Aleyna Yilmaz

Aleyna loves learning about a culture through its food, whether that's closer to home or being out there in the world. She’s always happiest when experiencing somewhere new, but her base in Manchester is a close second. A blend of her love of writing, food, travel, and culture has naturally led her to travel writing full time.

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