An introduction to some of Hawaii’s premier hikes.
DISCLAIMER: J + J Hikes is a site for inspiration only. As you can see, we don’t include directions to our hikes, and advise anyone hiking similar trails to be cautious of your surroundings, and R-E-S-P-E-C-T nature! Know your limits.
Kaena Point is the westernmost tip of Oahu, and some ancient Hawaiian folklore believe it is the “jumping point” for souls in to the next world. After crossing martian territory complete with ancient heiaus, we reached the iconic pillbox, and beheld the vastness and beauty that is the Waianae Mountain Range meeting the Pacific Ocean.
The Kealia Trail is a hike found behind the Dillingham Airfield base, known for being a landing space for skydivers and local planes. It is a sanctioned trail, and paved throughout, with nineteen switchbacks to the top. PC: Shanelle “Ziggy” Salvador
Stairway to Heaven (via Moanalua Valley)
The backside to the Haiku Stairs starts from Moanalua District Park and ends in Kaneohe, following a steep ridge up through the valley. The path is clearly laid out and many ropes will guide your way. Stay in the clouds to reach the summit. (Photo contributors: Ziggy Salvador, Kalani Nui, Claudia and “Kai” Tortuga) And … Continue reading Stairway to Heaven (via Moanalua Valley)
Oahu Rock Bridge
The Oahu Rock Bridge is located just off of the famous Hanauma Bay Trail. A long, dry hike that leads to an oasis that is the Rock Bridge and Toilet Bowl. Crossing this desert you feel like you’ve landed on Mars, with its bizarre rocks and colored sands. When you finally cross over, the rock … Continue reading Oahu Rock Bridge
The Crouching Lion is a hike on the Northeast side of Oahu, just past Kualoa Ranch. It is a short and intense hike with ropes and lots of climbing, but once you reach the top, you will behold one of the greatest views Oahu has to offer.
Diamond Head. This iconic hike can be seen from most places on the south side of Oahu, and is a huge go-to for tourists. Watch the foot traffic; but the view will make you wish you were swimming in the clear, deep water that stretches from the Diamondhead Lighthouse to the Pink Hotel and beyond.
Wiliwilinui Ridge is one of three popular ridge hikes on the south side of Oahu including Mariner’s Ridge and Kuliou’ou Ridge. Much like Kuliou’ou, what begins as a dry hike leads to a staircase that starts your ascent into the clouds. The higher up you go, the muddier it gets, but there are many ropes … Continue reading Wiliwilinui Ridge
Olomana (Three Peaks)
Olomana, Olomana. This is an intense ridge hike located between Kailua and Waimanalo that is known for attracting thriller seekers. There are three peaks, with the first and second being the most populated, and the third for those who dare. To assist with the ridge hike there are many ropes installed on the way, but … Continue reading Olomana (Three Peaks)
Oneawa Hills (Kapa’a Quarry)
The Kapa’a Quarry can be found past the Friendship Garden hike in Kaneohe. A few views can be seen before reaching the quarry, but afterwards it is mostly brush and canopy!
Makapu’u Tom Tom Trail
The Makapu’u Tom Tom Trail is located across from the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, a famous tourist destination. The Tom Tom Trail is steeper and follows along the cliff, but offers great views of the eastside, which is known for its beautiful, sparkling blue ocean. R.I.P. Darlene Feliciano, 2015.
The Pali Notches is quick climb up the right side of the famous Pali Lookout. More of a workout than its sister hike, the Pali Puka, the notches require steep uphill climbing at first…then one must climb over and under brush and rocks to get to the two notches. Much of the East Side can … Continue reading Pali Notches
The Pali Puka is a short hike located off of the Pali Lookout, known for being a historical place where King Kamehameha III conquered his enemies by pushing them off the cliff! The Puka gives a framed and elevated view of the valley that you just can’t get below. To get there, follow the short, … Continue reading Pali Puka
The Ehukai Pillbox is a hike on the North Shore of Oahu, that provides a brilliant view of the north side of the island. The hike itself is short and dry, with a steep inclination. Around the bend, you will find Waimea Bay, home of the legendary Eddie Aikau surf contest, and a great spot … Continue reading Ehukai Pillbox
Pu’u Papa’a Pillbox
The Pu’u Papa’a Pillbox is a pillbox located near Kailuatown. We fought miles of brush to find these two landmark pillboxes and their catacombs of graffiti.
Mo’ole Valley, located across the road from Lulumahu Falls, is known to lead up to seven waterfalls (if you can find them all) within the valley. We made it to three, but found the trail to be wild and overgrown. Still, it was nice to take a break from the overpopulated waterfalls of Oahu.
Pu’u O Hula Kai Pillbox
The Pu’u O Hula Kai Pillbox on the Westside is a hike that gives you a 360-view of the Waianae coast. The trail can be seen from the road, and is easily followed, but the dry heat and steep incline add to the intensity of the hike (especially when you forge your own path). The … Continue reading Pu’u O Hula Kai Pillbox
Pu’u Heleakala, also known as the “Hawaiian Pyramids” is a short hike just off the Farrington Highway in Waianae. It is a straightforward trail that follows an unexposed ridge to the back of the valley, ending in a view that gets you up close and personal with the Waianae mountain range. Photo help: Jenna Han … Continue reading Pu’u Heleakala
Mt. Ka’ala is the highest peak on Oahu at 4,025 ft. As difficult as this sounds, a paved path will lead you up a third of the trail, while purple bottle caps guide your way throughout. You will first pass two water towers, a picnic table (stay on the right), and cross a dried up … Continue reading Mt. Ka’ala
The Makua Caves, or Kaneana Caves, is a hike on the Westside that overlooks both the Pacific Ocean and Makua Valley. Just off the Farrington Highway, this hike is relatively short, and requires some uphill climbing with a few ropes. Worth the view, and a great place to enjoy ice cream out of a hydroflask. … Continue reading Makua Caves
Koko Head Arch
The Koko Head Arch is located right behind the famous Koko Head Stairs. To get there, you have to climb from the Makapu’u side. This is a short, uncovered hike that can get pretty slippery near the top.
Mauna Lahilahi is a short hike on the Westside of Oahu. Along the way, you will find a secluded beach, usually reserved for the hotel guests that stay on its shore.
Located in the back of Palolo valley, past the Korean Temple, this hike leads you along three waterfalls to get to the Ka’au Crater. Along the way there are ropes to climb, and plenty of streams to cross over. There are also rusted pipes along the trail which help guide you through your journey.
Aiea Loop Trail
Aiea Loop Trail is a long hike in Central Oahu through the forest. It is an easy trail with lots of coverage. Great for hiking with your dog, or taking a break from the city for a while.
The Waihe’e Falls hike, or “Hunger Games” hike, is located in Kaneohe. Beautiful, canopied, and uncrowded, this waterfall is a great escape on a hot day.
Lulumahu Falls & Kaniakapupu Ruins
Lulumahu Falls is a waterfall hike just down the road from the famous Pali Lookout. Along the way you will encounter much of Hawaii’s beauty. This is a short hike which requires climbing over rocks and crossing streams. On this same road are the remains of King Kamehameha III’s summer home, which is now off … Continue reading Lulumahu Falls & Kaniakapupu Ruins
The name of this waterfall is not really Jumanji, but since we can’t disclose the location look out for many lush falls off of the Pali Highway.