All-Day Oahu Hiking: Our Top 5 Long Trails

Oahu Hiking Mt Kaala
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > All-Day Oahu Hiking: Our Top 5 Long Trails

Oahu hiking is great for any level! We have lots of trails on the island, including multi-mile treks that will allow you to immerse yourself in Hawaii’s natural beauty. 

Ready to discover these great hikes? Read on to learn all about them, along with some tips for making the most of adventure. 

Are Long Hikes Right For You?

Do you love to spend the day outdoors? Do you have a moderate amount of hiking experience? And, most importantly, do you have a lot of endurance?

If so, you’re the perfect candidate to try some of the best long hiking trails on Oahu. Unlike the easier, shorter hikes that average about 1 to 2 hours, many of these longer trails will require you to block off the lion’s share of a day. But, the rewards at the end are well worth it!

Ahead is our take on the top 5 long Oahu hiking trails!

5 Oahu Hiking Trails That Are More Than 5 Miles Long

1. Mt. Kaʻala Hiking Trail

One of the most popular long hikes on Oahu is the Mt. Kaʻala Hiking Trail. This 6.8-mile hike boasts a 5,000-foot elevation gain, so definitely only attempt it if you’re an experienced hiker in good shape. 

This Oahu hiking trail is in Waianae, on the island’s western side. Look for the trailhead a few miles along Plantation Road, which is just off Farrington Highway. 

The Beginning of Mount Kaala Hiking Trail
The Beginning of Mount Kaala Hiking Trail

Ropes assist climbers at the trickiest inclines, and be prepared for mud. The steep elevation gain is challenging, but it also means you’ll be treated to incredible views and cool, crisp air. But, even just part of the hike is worth the effort, so feel free to turn around at any point if you’re looking for a shorter Oahu hike. 

2. Wahiawa Poamoho Oahu Hiking Trail

The Poamoho Trail is part of the “Na Ala Hele” Hawaii Trail and Access System. That means it is a state-sanctioned trail maintained by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and open to the public. However, you do need a permit to hike this trail.

Starting in Wahiawa (Central Oahu), you drive six miles to the trailhead. Once through the first gate, follow the yellow post through two more gates. The Poamoho Hele Loa access road is about six miles away. The road first goes through old pineapple fields and cow pasture. Then, after about four miles, the vegetation transitions into native Uluhe fern with Koa and Ohia trees emerging throughout the landscape. 

A map and directions will be provided with approved access permits.

The Wahiawa Poamoho Trail is a spectacular ridge hike that traverses along a ridge through mostly native forest up to the Koolau Summit. The trail is quite narrow in sections and is not suitable for novice hikers. 

the koolau mountains
The Koolau Mountains

This Oahu hiking trail offers a wide variety of native plants — some of them quite rare. From the summit, Poamoho Trail rewards hikers with awesome views of Kahana and Punaluu Valleys and the northeastern shores of Oahu. It’s also a good trail for bird-watching. The Poamoho Trail takes you up to a peak on the Koolau Mountains, where you’ll be treated to a massive panoramic view of the east side of Oahu.

3. Konahuanui 

This is an extreme hike and should not be attempted by novice hikers. The 7.2-mile hike is a steep, muddy trail that climbs to the top of a pair of towering peaks, the tallest in the Koolau range. 

The summit region of Konahuanui is nearly a living catalog of the common and some of the uncommon plants found in Hawaii’s wet forests. The views are spectacular on the rare clear day, but being on Konahuanui in the clouds is an equally special experience.

4. Waimano Ridge Trail

If you’re looking for a trail with lush vegetation and spectacular views, this may be the hike for you. Oh, and you need a long day to do it, too.

Waimano Trail begins at a chain link fence next to the parking area. You will quickly come to a fork where Lower Waimano Trail splits from Upper Waimano Trail. These Oahu hiking trails form a loop. 

Lower Waimano Trail continues on an old jeep road to the floor of the valley and then follows the stream for a distance up the valley. The trail will then climb back uphill to join the Upper Waimano Trail. 

The upper trail continues from the split along the road for a half mile. It then turns left and follows a ditch and tunnels to an intake in the east branch of Waimano Valley. 

During your hike, you’ll go over a ridge and along a stream to an old abandoned dam.. The trail then goes slightly to the right, makes several switchbacks, and then continues gradually up to the Koolau summit. 

This trail offers a wide variety of native and non-native vegetation and spectacular views of Waimano Valley. From the summit, it ends at a view of the windward side of Oahu.

5.  Maunawili Trail

When you imagine hiking in Oahu, you may well imagine an experience similar to the Maunawili Trail. That’s because the trail environment is full of vegetation, PLUS, at the end, you’re rewarded with a waterfall with a swimming hole below. 

Maunawili Falls
Maunawili Falls

Maunawili Trail is a 10-mile trail that contours the base of the Koolau Mountain Range on the windward side. It begins off the Pali Highway and ends in Waimanalo. It offers spectacular views of the windward side of Oahu, Olomana, and the Koolaupoko watershed. 

Vegetation along the trail includes mountain apple, rose apple, ti, naupaka, mamake, lobelia, koa, and ohia. Maunawili Trail is a good family trail, and there are three access points for this trail.

Oahu Hiking Tips

If you’re a beginner hiker, but still want to try hiking a moderately difficult trail, be sure to join a hiking group or book a hiking tour through a reputable tour company, such as Hawaii Aloha Travel. The company offers hiking and sightseeing tours, and you can be assured of your safety when you join their experienced guides for a long (or short!) hike.