Famed for their rugged, tropical landscapes, the Hawaiian Islands offer hikers of every skill level the chance to see dazzling scenes that include lush rainforests, cliffs, waterfalls, volcanoes, and of course breathtaking coastlines. If you get a chance to explore the Paradise of the Pacific, consider one of the five best hiking trails in Hawaii we've chosen to highlight based on recommendations from Trails.com.
The Pihea Trail
Hikers are treated to stunning scenes of the Kokee/Waimea Canyon area along the Pihea trail, which runs almost 4 miles along a narrow ridge in the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve. You'll see the Alakai Swamp, the fluted Na Pali cliffs, the Kalalau Valley, the Pacific Ocean, and Mount Waialeale, the dampest place on earth.
Aihualama Trail to Nuuanu Overlook
The 5.6-mile trail from Manoa Falls to the Nuuanu Overlook of the Pauao Flats takes hikers through a rainforest thick with eucalyptus, koa, banyan, and bamboo trees and alive with native birdsongs. The reward of the Aihualama Trail is a unique overlook of the valley below all the way to Waikiki and Diamond Head, as well as clear panoramic views of the Koolau Mountains.
The Kalalau Trail
Arguably one of the the best hikes in the country, if not the world, is the 11-mile trek along the uninhabited Nā Pali Coast from Keʻe Beach to the Kalalau Valley. The Kalalau Trail treats hikers to some of the most exhilarating, dramatic views in Hawaii, including steep seaside cliffs, rainforests, waterfalls, and the untouched Kalalau Valley. A camping permit is required to complete the entire Kalalau Trail, or you can stop at the white sands of Hanakapiai Beach (the 2-mile marker) to enjoy the rest of your day.
Kīlauea Iki Trail
The 4-mile Kīlauea Iki Trail loops through the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to give hikers a rare opportunity to see the remains of a volcanic eruption and peer into the still-smoking vents. From Crater Rim Drive hikers descend through a rainforest and past lava tubes, including the Thurston Lava Tube, to the long-solidified lava lake created when Kīlauea Iki erupted in 1959.
The ‘Aiea Loop Trail
The‘Aiea Loop Trail takes hikers on a 4.8-mile loop through the Keaiwa Heiau State Park, winding along a ridge of the Koolau Mountains through canyons and vast forests of lemon eucalyptus, Norfolk Island pine, ironwood, guava and native koa and ohi‘a trees. The well-maintained path provides great views of the southern O‘ahu coastline including the Wai‘anae Range, Diamond Head (Le‘ahi), and Pearl Harbor (Pu‘uloa).