Easy Oahu Hikes – fun, accessible and family friendly places to explore (updated 2023)

There are many of these easy Oahu hikes to do and this guide shares the best and kid friendly hikes to do around the island. If you are traveling with family, elderly or multi-generational these are the easy and fun hikes to do with views, waterfalls and jungle experiences worth exploring around the islands.

You’ll love trying out all these easy Oahu hikes from Honolulu area to traveling around the outside on the road trip to check out some of these gorgeous hikes on the island to experience.

Easy Oahu Hikes - fun, accessible and family friendly places to explore

Easy Oahu Hikes FAQ

What is the easiest hike to do on Oahu?

Probably one of the most popular to do here on the east side is Makapu’u Light house trail which is all paved to the lookout point

How many hike trails are there in Oahu?

There are at least over 200 trails that you can do around the island of Oahu

Can you hike the Stairway to Heaven?

It is illegal and very dangerous to hike the Stairway to Heaven and also the access through the back areas. The trail was heavily damaged and there’s a hefty fine if you are caught trying to do this hike

Easy hikes around Honolulu Area and just outside

Easy hikes around Honolulu Area and just outside

These family friendly hikes are perfect for the family and some have a little challenge on graveled paths but most do have stable and small includes that are easy for many family levels.

Diamond Head Hike

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

Located on the eastern tip of the island, the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is paved all the way to the lookout point to the lighthouse and the eastern coastal areas of the island. Since this is the 2nd most popular hike to do after Diamond Head, Makapu’u is busy and the parking lot is packed so better to arrive early or late in the afternoon when it is cooler.

Things you can see or check out around the trail area includes:

Old Service Pillbox ruins

Some giant wave pools and blow holes

Makapu’u Point

Lighthouse at the end of the trail

The trail is about 2 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 500 feet.

Check out this post for more information to visiting Makapu’u lighthouse trail here for more details.

Tip – this is a good beginner trail with kids since it is all paved and parking to the trail head is fast and easy. The side tours to the bottom of the tide pools are not for children and more dangerous to do and not recommended since they are steep and dirt.

Here’s a fun and quick tour of the Makapu’u lighthouse trail below

Lanikai Pill Box hike

Lanikai Pill Box hike

This hiking trail is also known as the Kaiwa Ridge Hiking trail and is about 2 miles (3 miles for the entire loop trail) roundtrip from start to end and about 30 minutes each way. The Lanikai Pill Box is known for the large pillboxes that dot the ridge line and built around WWII to protect the island from invasions, nowadays they are covered with graffiti and are a stop for photos and selfies.

The trail is a little challenging at the start with some slippery areas but it gets dry and easier to hike through to the two pillboxes and amazing views from above.

Less than a fifteen-mile drive from downtown Honolulu, this is one of the most scenic and fun hikes to do on the east side of the island.

Tip – if hiking with children, it might be easier to just do the first pillbox along the way instead of the two

Check out the sunrise hike to Lanikai Pill Box below

Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls located in Manoa Valley by the University of Hawaii, Manoa Falls is about 1.6 miles roundtrip or 2.7 Kilometers from start to end. This easy hike takes over an hours’ time to complete, get to the falls and return. There is no swimming allowed at the pool area below the falls. The hike is lush and jungle inspired like Jurassic Park and can be muddy at times.

Tip There is a lot of rainfall in this area so wear appropriate clothes and solid shoes for the hike, also bring bug spray with you for the hike.

Here’s a fun look at the Manoa Falls hike below

Wiliwilinui Hiking trail

A close drive from Honolulu area to the upland areas, the trailhead is in a gated community, Waialae Iki. The Wiliwilinui Hiking trail is easy until the last segment which is towards the ridge and more moderate a climb.

The hike is about 4.7 miles out and back with an elevation gain of about 1,617 feet. It starts on a paved road and changes to more dirt trail and is muddy at different sections of the pathways. There are sections with a lot of stairs so it is an uphill trek at most sections.

The trail is beautiful with views of the valley areas on both sides of the trail to gorgeous landscapes and worth the effort but definitely more challenging on the end. Those with children or mobile challenged might want to just hike to their best comfort level and head back after they max out.

Here’s why the Wiliwilinui Hiking trail is one of the best of Oahu below.

Diamond Head Hike

Diamond Head Hike

The most popular hiking trail in Oahu, Diamond head is fun and the views are worth the hike from the base to the rim areas of the top of the crater. The trail head starts from the parking lot area and is mostly paved to the base of the crater where it is then gravel and dirt paths with stairs, tunnels and more stairs until you get to the observation areas above.

The trip to the top is 1.6 miles roundtrip on mostly hot and dry terrain and a moderate difficulty factor with all stairs and incline.

This is a more moderate uphill hike that involves stairs, switchbacks and even more stairs at the top so some might find this a real work out.

Highlights to visiting Diamond Head

Visitors center and gift shop

Pillboxes on the rim

Gorgeous views of Honolulu and Waikiki

Exit detour rim trail with views of the eastern side of Oahu

Tips – it is hot and dry with no shade so bring cover, a hat and plenty of liquids and use that sunscreen before you go out to hike.

Check out our post to visiting Diamond Head here for more details and inspiration to hiking it

Check out this fun tour hiking up Diamond Head in Honolulu

Kuliouou Ridge Trail

Distance 5 miles / 8km

Height Elevation – 1800 feet

One of the most beautiful trails on the east side of the island is the Kuliouou RIdge Trail.

A little more challenging as a hike but doable, the Kuliouou Ridge Trail is located in Oahu’s east side with majestic views of the east side along with jungle and dense woodlands trail to hike through. This is definitely one of the more challenging hikes with changing terrain with the peak of the hike at the rim offering a 360 degree look around the eastern coast with the Kailua coastline, Kaneohe and Hawaii Kai area landscapes below you.

Check out this fun video tour below for inspiration

Ala Moana Park Hike

Ala Moana Park walking trail

This easy hike around Ala Moana Park is less than 2.5 miles and covers Magic Island if you also want to explore this fun beach area. The park trail is all paved along the shoreline and takes less than an hour to complete unless you want to take stops or go swimming along the way. It makes a nice shoreline park walk and is great for families and also spending sunrise or sunset times here on the beach area.

Check out this post to visiting Ala Moana Park here for more details and information.

Here’s a fun tour of Ala Moana Park below

Easy places to hike outside of Honolulu

Waimea Falls

Waimea Falls

Waimea Valley and Falls is located on the North Shore of Oahu and directly across for beautiful Waimea Bay. This area is a part of the Waimea Valley Botanical Garden and a combination of visiting some gorgeous gardens, historic village area and then the waterfalls at the which you can actually swim in.

The trail going to the waterfalls is on a slight incline and mostly paved making this an easy 1.5 miles, 3.1 Km hike and there are also shuttles that can take you there if there is accessibility needs to get to the falls.

This family friendly hike and swim to the waterfalls is a great experience and there are docent tours of the gardens and the mock village experience. There is an entry fee to the valley that takes care of the maintenance and the organization that manages the entire valley district.

Check out my post here on Visiting Waimea Valley and waterfalls here for more information to visiting.

Here’s a fun visit to Waimea Valley and the waterfalls below

Ka'ena Point area

Ka’ena Point area

Located on the west side of the island, Ka’ena Point is flat and easy to hike through with gorgeous rugged landscape of the hills and coastline areas. Not as crowded as some of the other touristy hikes on the Honolulu side, Ka’ena Point is further west and less visited making it more attractive to visitors that want to see the real Oahu and nature at its best.

There are two routes you can do here, first on the Wai’anae side at the Keawaula Section of Ka’ena Point State Park which is 2.4 miles on dirt roadway. The 2nd route is through the Mokule‘ia side, park at the end of the paved road and follow the dirt roadway for 2.5 miles to the natural area reserve.

Here’s a look at the beautiful Ka’ena Point trail and landscape below

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens 

Located on the eastern side of the island, the gorgeous botanical garden is fun to explore with a flat trails that is approximately 1.9 miles roundtrip with many scenic places including the famous IG entry drive with the stately palms that are well known and an instant photo op moment.

The garden is free and open 7 days weekly from 9am to 4pm

Tip – there is a visitors center on site to get a map and check out other details. They even loan out fishing poles to borrow on the free fishing days in their ponds.

Check out the details to visiting the park here for more information.

Here’s a fun tour of Ho’omaluhia Botanical gardens below

Koko Crater Botanical Garden and Hike

This is a fun and easy hiking experience around Koko Crater Botanical Gardens on the east side of Oahu at Waimanalo. The hiking trail is mostly a dirt loop around the dryland and arid gardens filled with cactus and other mediterranean planting in the garden.

The loop trail is less than 1.7 miles and takes an average of 50 minutes to complete. The area is hot and exposed so bring sturdy shoes and bring water or beverage for the hike especially with children.

Check out this family friendly visit to the Koko Crater Botanical gardens below

Ko Olina beach hiking path

Ko Olina beach hiking path

An easy and fun beach day in Ko Olina on the leeward or west side of Oahu can begin with this easy waterfront hike. Skirting the four main lagoons and beaches of Ko Olina, the walking path is all paved and flat and extends out for over 4.7 miles so this can be a nice long walk, jog exploring all the lagoon areas.

Cooler in the morning or late afternoon before sunset where you can pick up the perfect spot to hang out and enjoy the end of day here at Ko Olina.

You’ll love this easy and family friendly beach area that the entire family will enjoy visiting on the west side of the island.

Check out our post on visiting Ko Olina here for more inspiration and images.

Check out the visit to the Ko Olina lagoons

Hauʻula Loop Trail

Hauʻula Loop Trail

Located on the Northshore of Oahu, this scenic hike loop trail is family friendly with lush forest ocean and waterfall views to enjoy.

This 2.7 mile loop trail has everything you would like in a trail to enjoy with views to die for. It is a popular trail for mountain biking and hiking and takes about 2 hours to do depending on the number of stops along the way. Nice and breezy and perfect in the morning with just a few hikers at this time.

The trail is mostly shady, with gravel and pine trail and muddy depending on rain in the area.

Check out this site for more information here for more details.

Address:  54-55 Maakua Rd, Laie, HI 96762

Things to know and some hiking details around Oahu

Things to know and some hiking details around Oahu

Bring plenty of bug spray for the waterfalls and forested areas especially for early morning or late afternoon hikes

Make sure you have camera all charged up to take some gorgeous images of family and location

Try to learn a little bit more about the hikes with tips, best vantage points and some history to the area

Bring plenty of water and snacks to tie you over for those longer hikes or very hot sunny days

Always appropriate shoes and clothing for changing weather patters

Be aware of changing weather conditions and look online for information to bad weather so you might have to change itineraries for the day

A mini first aid kit for any small bruises or falls would be ideal especially with younger children

Conclusion to easy hikes around Oahu

Check out these other posts visiting Oahu now

Explore the top beaches in Oahu

Adventure tours in Oahu

Best hikes in Oahu

Waterfalls of Oahu

Botanical gardens of Oahu

Conclusion to easy hikes around Oahu

Hope this post has inspired you to be outdoors and explore some of the easy hikes to do around Oahu. These are definitely worth visiting with a variety of fantastic views, nature and gorgeous landscape to explore on the islands.

We hope that this was educational and you’ll get a chance to explore outdoors and do some of these fantastic hikes on Oahu. If you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social sharing buttons below.

We love to hear your comments about this or any other observations you have experienced here in Hawaii.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.