Anyone who knows me knows that hiking is my favorite hobby. When I moved to Hawaii four years ago, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a hiker because I wanted to experience as much beauty as the islands have to offer. Oahu is filled with so many breathtaking trails that offer an escape from the rat race. Over the past four years, I’ve enjoyed my escapes into nature immensely.
As a newbie to Hawaii I used to first ask around for hiking ideas but my biggest help was Yelp. I spent hours reading reviews about different trails all over the island. I would also search the name of the hike in Instagram to view even more photos.
I started small and did hikes like Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, Diamond Head, Lanikai Pillboxes and the Makiki Loop trail before getting into longer hikes like Kuliou‘ou Ridge Trail and Hawaii Loa Ridge Trail. I’m a pretty cautious person, so it took a few years to finally try some of the more advanced trails like Olomana (Three Peaks).
Kamehame Ridge in Hawaii Kai.
The thing that I love most about hiking in Hawaii is stepping onto the trail and being surrounded by the intense greenery. I love it when the city disappears from sight and I’m in the middle of bright green trees, flowery bushes and dramatic ridgelines. I feel completely free and on top of the world while all of my stresses from the work week and daily life just slip away.
Most of the hikes on Oahu offer a beautiful reward at the trail’s end. My favorite is the turquoise blue waters of Waimanalo and Kailua Bays that just melt into the sky, as seen from the peaks of the trails in the Ko‘olau Mountains.
Being in nature in general is such a natural high. Not only is hiking good for the scenery, but it’s also great exercise! For those with fitness trackers like the Fitbit, steps add up so quickly and easily while you are too busy enjoying yourself to remember that you are exercising.
Kealia Trail to Makua Valley, Waialua/Mokuleia.
The neighbor islands also offer some really beautiful hiking trails. Some of the most memorable (and favorite) hikes I’ve completed on other islands include the historic Pali trail to Kalaupapa on Moloka‘i, the Waihe‘e Ridge Trail on Maui, and the Awa‘awapuhi Trail in Koke‘e State Park on Kaua‘i. I dream of completing the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast. Someday I will get there and do it!
If you’re interested in getting into hiking, I highly recommend purchasing a pair of hiking boots online or from an athletic store. Regular athletic shoes can be slippery and may not offer much ankle support.
I also recommend purchasing a Camelback bladder/backpack. It’s so much easier to stay hydrated that way and Camelback bladders can hold a lot more water than a regular water bottle. Having enough water is one of the most important things to bring with you. I often fill my pack all the way to the top, and if it turns out I don’t need all of the water I can just pour some out to lighten my pack. It’s much easier that way and I don’t want to ever regret not bringing enough.
Hopefully I have inspired some of you to try a new hike this weekend. For more ideas and to read about some hikes I’ve done, check out my blog!
Oneawa Hills, Kaneohe.