Hiking in Honolulu [2024]: Best Trails Summarized!

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Hiking in Honolulu [2024]: Best Trails Summarized!
It's time to head outside and go for a hike. There's no better place for scenic hikes than Hawaii. Explore this guide on the best hiking trails in Honolulu to find your next outdoor adventure.
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Hawaii is known around the world as a favored vacation spot for a lot of reasons. The island is simply incomparable when it comes to world-class beaches and lush greenery. 

When visiting Hawaii, most people find the capital of Honolulu as an unmissable part of the experience. This capital city is not only home to a whopping 1 million people but also a centerpiece for Hawaiian culture.

Many also visit Honolulu for the amazing hikes you can take there. The island capital is packed to the brim with trails at every turn. These trails feature every terrain, from forests to beach views and even volcanoes!

Before starting a hiking trip in Honolulu, preparing for what is to come is essential. This is because some trails take much more preparation than others. For this reason, knowing what to pack is a key part of the process.

Packing for a Hiking Trip

Packing for any hiking trip requires detailed information on exactly what you need to bring with you. If you are still new to hiking, use this complete list of items to pack for a hiking trip

Ka'au crater trail hike in Honolulu
Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash


The weather in Honolulu is warm all year round, although temperatures in the hot season can increase by up to 10F. 

For this reason, hydration is essential, and always carrying a water bottle with you is crucial. The last thing you want is sweating buckets on a cliff in the middle of nowhere, only to find that you didn't bring a water bottle!

Not fun.

Instead, bringing a liter of water for each hour you spend walking should be more than sufficient to deal with the Hawaiian heat.

Although less important, packing some small snacks such as nuts can be helpful too. 

Clothing to Wear

When packing clothing for hiking in Honolulu, less is more.

A great idea would be to wear a t-shirt or tank top, some basic sports shorts and sneakers. Also bring adequate sunscreen if its hot outside.

For most hikes in Honolulu, you won't need proper hiking boots unless you are climbing a mountain or taking a difficult hike. In this case, Salomon Women's X Ultra Pioneer Hiking Shoes are both comfy and offer sturdy protection for your feet. Salomon also offers men's hiking shoes.

Need more recommendations, maybe some items on the Amazon hiking gear list will interest you.

Best Hikes in Honolulu

Diamond Head Trail

Average Time to Hike: 1.5-2 hours round trip

Distance: 2.9km (1.8 miles)

The Diamond Head Trail is one of the most popular trails in Honolulu for a good reason. The one-hour walk to the top provides some stunning panoramic views of Oahu!

During the walk, you will have to climb up many steps, which is the most challenging part of the whole hike. Reaching the top will be well worth it, though, and I highly recommend it when in Honolulu. 

The best part about reaching the top must be the view of the ocean that can be seen. It is a gorgeous blue color, and it really provides the proper introduction to the tropical wonderland that Hawaii is.

Diamond head state monument
Photo by Christian Joudrey on Unsplash

Lanikai Pillboxes

Average Time to Hike: 1-1.5 hours round trip

Distance: 5.79km (3.6 miles)

Another stunning hike to add to your Honolulu list is the Lanikai Pillbox trail.

For such a short distance to hike, you are provided views of both Mokulua Islands and Lanikai Beach at an elevation of 686ft. 

This is pretty darn high when you think about it!

Although the trail is described as moderately difficult by many, most families have been able to complete it relatively quickly, so it shouldn't be too challenging. This trail is perfect for those who wish to see a Hawaii sunrise if you can wake up early enough.

The highlight of the entire hike is the pillboxes that sit on top of the ridge. If you want to get a seat on these, it is advised to leave a little earlier for sunrise. This is because it can get hectic during sunrise especially, and many people want to take photos on the pillboxes.

The top of this trail offers insane aerial views, and there is so much to see that it makes it difficult to get down.

Makapu'u Lighthouse Hike

Average Time to Hike: 1-hour round trip

Distance: 3.2km (2 miles)

Do you like lighthouses?

If you do, you certainly will want to attend the Makapu'u Lighthouse Hike. This gorgeous and memorable little hike is only a 30-minute drive from Honolulu city center, making it a safe option for those near the island's capital.

What makes this trail unique is its location, considering it sits right on the Kaiwi State shoreline. After arriving at the lighthouse, you are greeted by vast ocean views which stretch as far as the eye can see and beyond. The dark blue color of the ocean is most stunning, and you can use one of the nearby viewing machines to gaze into the distance.

The well-paved paths make the hike much smoother, and there is plenty to see there!

makapu'u lighthouse
Photo by little plant on Unsplash

Crouching Lion Hike

Average Time to Hike: 1-hour round trip

Distance: 1.6km (1 mile)

When discussing hikes in Honolulu, the Crouching Lion trail is likely the shortest of them, making it a favorite among many. Although the hike is short, the catch is that it is both steep and uphill, making it slightly more challenging than most would expect. 

After walking for roughly half an hour, you will be greeted by the marvelous spectacle of Kahana Bay and the hills around it. From here, continue for another 5-10 minutes until you finally reach the famous Crouching Lion spot. 

The spot is distinctively known for the oddly shaped rocks at the top of the cliff. Some would say these look like an open mouth, and others would say a lion. Either way, they look interesting!

Crouching lion hike
Photo by KOJI FUTAMI on Unsplash

Use Pilot to Enhance Your Honolulu Trip

If you're heading to Honolulu for more than just hikes, then you need to make a plan. Luckily, Pilot can help you out with that.

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Collaborate stress-free with your travel companions and have all the features you need all in one place with Pilot. It’s completely free and ready for you to try it out now!
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Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

Josh Ellery Blog
Written by:
Josh Ellery
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