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Oahu, Hawaii – the very best hikes

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Oahu, the third largest island, is about 70 kilometres long and 48 kilometres wide. It consists of two mountain ranges, namely the Wai’anae – where there is also the highest mountain on the island (the Ka’ala of over 1,200 metres above sea level) – and the Koʻolau. About 80% of the population of Hawaii live on this tourist island. Oahu is particularly known for Waikiki, the district in Honolulu with the most hotels and for the Pearl Harbour naval base. Above all, it is known for the golf surfing which is elevated to art and top sport here.

In our opinion, Oahu is the island where you can go on amazingly beautiful walks, varying from short walks of less than an hour to complete day trips. Some walks are great for almost everyone, for others you need some experience and condition. In some cases, you would need to not have a fear of heights.

On the day trips, to make sure we didn’t get lost but could still see the most beautiful sights, we used a guide. This guide, called Saverio, is of Italian origin who speaks fluent English. He has lived on this paradise island for many years and also guides hikers on multi-day hikes on the other Hawaiian islands. Besides day trips, Saverio offers multi-day packages too where you can go on the most beautiful hikes for a week or even two on various islands that most fervent hikers would never get to do! Saverio can be reached via the Maka Maka Tours website, his Facebook page or via email: info@makamakatours.com. Makamaka seems to mean hiking buddy in Hawaiian.

Here are some of the most amazing hikes on Oahu at a glance.

Moana Lua Valley and Stairway to Heaven

The name ‘stairway to heaven’ refers to the particularly steep staircase that you could previously take to the top of the mountain. Nowadays the stairs are closed and guarded. The only way to get to the top is by a long but beautiful walk from the heavily wooded Moana Lua valley on the other side of the ridge. This valley is one of the holy valleys for the Hawaiians. The trip back and forth takes between 6 and 9 hours and is quite strenuous especially at the end of the climb. You really need to be in good condition and preferably not afraid of heights. We did the hike in just over 7 hours and after the hike we were tired but more than satisfied. The view of the top and during the climb is breathtakingly beautiful. We found this one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done.

Kulio’u Ou

On this hike, you walk about 4 kilometres there and also 4 kilometres back along the same path. In the beginning, you find typical Hawaiian flora. As soon as the fairly steep climb goes up, the landscape changes noticeably. At the end, you finish in a beautiful forest with tall trees. In good weather, it is worthwhile to climb a little further for a beautiful view of the back part of the island. The hike is fantastic even in bad weather because the forest has something mystical thanks to the mist. In principle, the walk can also be done by people who are not in tip top condition too.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point is a special place on the northernmost side of Oahu, since according to the Hawaiian people, the souls of the deceased make the crossing to the hereafter. The beautiful walk that you can do here takes about an hour and goes over flat terrain. It is warm with little shade. You will often find monk seals and – in winter – nesting albatrosses. It is best to come here from Yokohama Bay. If you go swimming from the beach of Keawaula, you have a good chance of seeing some dolphins.

Mauna Wili Falls

A nice walk in the surroundings of Kailua. It is about a 45-minute walk over flat terrain to the beautiful waterfalls. If it has not rained too much, turning the path into a mud bath, this hike is particularly nice to do.

Accommodation in Oahu

The island of Oahu offers a large number of accommodations. Since we stayed there with friends we can’t provide any recommendations based on our own experiences.