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Best Hiking Trails in Hawaii – USA

Overview

Hawaii consists of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, belonging to the US.  These islands have stunning mountain landscapes to hike in when you’re not enjoying their beautiful beaches. There is hiking on all four main islands (Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai), with the most hikes on Oahu. Some of the popular hikes include Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Kalalau Trail, Sliding Sands Trail, Koko Crater Trail, and Kaau Crater. The best months to hike in Hawaii vary according to the island. Read on for more information on where and when to hike in Hawaii. 

Capital: Honolulu

When To Hike in Hawaii – USA?

Year Round: On Kauai and Oahu, you could go year round; for Maui and Big Island, April – October are best 
November – March: Rainier time period but depending on the area, could be ok

Climate: Tropical – with wet and dry seasons, although precipitation varies with altitude and position of the islands.  Temperatures are steady throughout the year.  O’ahu has minimal rain and is the hottest of the islands. 

 

Hawaii Monthly Weather

 

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy: There are well-marked trails in many areas throughout the islands.  Kauai has the least developed trail network out of all the main islands. 

Transportation required: Car

 

Top Places to Hike in Hawaii – USA

There are mountains on all the islands, but the main islands for hiking are the Big Island (home to the highest peak), Kauai (home of the famous Kalalau Trail), O’ahu (the most trails by far out of all the islands), and Maui (which has two main parts to the island, the Haleakalā National Park in the east being more amenable to hiking) . Highest Mountain: Mauna Kea (4207 m) on Big Island.

Filter out hiking places of Hawaii – USA by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Kailua-Kona

  • Area on the western side of Big Island
  • Pu’u Wa’awa’a trail
  • Other trails

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park

  • Captain Cook Monument Trail

Waipio Valley

Mauna Kea

  • Highest point in Hawaii
  • Mauna Kea
  • Lot of telescopes up here

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Around Maalaea

  • Lahaina Pali Trail

Waihee Valley

  • Waihee Ridge Trail

‘Īao Valley

  • Hiking trails here in this valley in western Maui

Haleakalā National Park

Waianae Kai Forest Reserve

  • Mount Ka’ala

Kuaokala Forest Reserve

  • Kuaokala Trail
  • Mokuleia Trail
  • Kealia Access Road and Trail

Kuli‘ou‘ou Forest Reserve

  • Wiliwilinui Trail 
  • Kuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail

Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park

  • Pu’upiei Trail
  • Pauao Ridge

Mokulē’ia Forest Reserve

  • Mokuleia Trail

Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve

  • Kulana’ahane
  • Kolowalu Trail
  • Pu’u Pia Trail
  • Aihualama Trail

‘Ewa Forest Reserve 

  • Waimano Trail
  • Manana Trail

Waianae Kai Forest Reserve

  • Ka’ala Hiking Trail

Makaha Valley

  • Pu’u Kea’au
  • Kamaileunu Ridge Hike

Kuaokalā Forest Reserve

  • Kuaokala Trail
  • Mokuleia Trail
  • Kealia Trail

Halelea Forest Reserve

  • Hiking trails here

Puu Ka Pele Forest Reserve

  • Hiking trails here

Kōke’e State Park

Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

Hawaii – USA's Long Distance Trails

  • Kalalau Trail – on Kauai

Hawaii – USA's Walking & Hiking Resources

Hawaii Hiking Books: – lots of books, but many of them are dated

  • Hiking the Hawaiian Islands: A Guide to the State’s 71 Greatest Hikes, by Suzanne Swedo, 2021, Falcon Guides
  • The Hiker’s Guide to the Hawaiian Islands: Updated and Expanded, by Stuart M. Ball, 2018, University of Hawai’i Press
  • Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, by Andrew Doughty, 2021, Wizard Publications
  • The Hiker’s Guide to Oahu: Updated & Expanded, by Stuart M. Ball, 2013, University of Hawai’i Press
  • Moon Big Island of Hawaii: Including Hawaii Volcanoes, by Bree Kesler, 2016, Moon Guides
  • Moon Maui: With Molokai & Lanai, by Greg Archer, 2019, Moon Guides
  • Top Trails: Maui: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone, by Sara Benson, 2010, Wilderness Press
  • The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed, by Andrew Doughty, 2019, Wizard Publications 
  • Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, by Andrew Doughty, 2022, Wizard Publications

 

Hawaii Hiking Associations/Clubs: Lots of clubs

 

Best Hiking Trails in Hawaii:

There are so many great hikes in Hawaii that it is difficult to pick a handful, but here is a small sampling. You can find more details on hiking these trails from hiking guidebooks, official park websites, trail maps/apps, other websites, and tourist offices:

  • Mauna Kea – Big Island
  • Mauna Loa – Big Island
  • Kalalau Trail – Kauai
  • Diamond Head – Oahu
  • Koko Crater Trail – Oahu
  • Manoa Falls Trail – Oahu
  • Sliding Sands Trail – Maui
  • Waihe’e Ridge Trail – Maui
  • Maunawili Trail – Oahu
  • Kaau Crater – Oahu

Easy Hiking Trails in Hawaii:

  • Hi’ilawe Falls – Big Island
  • Lanikai Pillbox Hike – Oahu
  • Halemaumau Crater – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

 

Hawaii Hiking Websites:

 

Hawaii Hiking Weather Website: 

 

Hawaii Official Tourism Site:  

 

Hawaii Hiking Apps: 

 

Hawaii Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Beaches
  • Water activities

Other Important Points

  • The Stairway to Heaven (or Haiku Stairs) hike, on Oahu, considered one of the best in all of Hawaii, is closed (due to risk of injury) and trespassers will be fined