Hawaiian Road Trip: 6 Secret Hiking Trails to Find by Car

10 Best Places to Go Hiking in Hawaii | Travel + Leisure

Turquoise water, white sand and palm trees growing everywhere: this is how you imagine Hawaii. However, another thing that attracts travelers there is the scenic hiking trails.

If you like leisurely walks surrounded by wildlife, hiking in Hawaii will be an unforgettable experience. Popular routes run in hard-to-reach places – between mountains and volcanoes, in tropical rainforests and coastal zones. This means you need a car to get to the desired destination. You can book it online or through the Rental24H.com car rental app anywhere in Hawaii, which will be the first step to a successful trip. 

Hawaiian hiking trails create a perfect background for a family weekend. By the way, here’re the most beautiful and dangerous hiking trails in the world! Want to enjoy them? Then keep reading…

  1. Diamond Head Summit Trail
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The Diamond Head volcanic cone is one of the main symbols of Oahu. You will see it when approaching Honolulu airport. The Diamond Head State Park itself is located in the summit crater. However, there’s nothing to do there except hiking. Everyone who comes to the park goes to the top of the volcano for the best views of Honolulu and the surrounding area. Most of the beautiful photos of the island are taken from this point.

A well-equipped trail leads to the top of Diamond Head. People of any age can walk along with it, even in flip flops. The only thing is that the road on most of the trail becomes slippery when it gets wet, so it’s not very comfortable to go in the rain.

Getting to Diamond Head on a rental car is easy, as it’s located about 15 minutes’ drive from Honolulu.

  1. Manoa Falls Trail
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The second most popular hiking trail on Oahu runs through the rainforest. If you are traveling with children, a large 8 passenger SUV rental will be the best way to get around the steep slopes. The route starts at the Lyon Arboretum Botanical Garden. All travelers on the route need to register at the garden administration building. 

In general, the road to Manoa Falls is not at all difficult, and it doesn’t require special skills or equipment. There are no steep stairs like the Diamond Head Summit Trail. Those who have reached the finish point will enjoy the amazing 45-meters-high Manoa Falls.

The starting point of the Manoa Falls Trail is situated 9 miles from Honolulu, making car rental a convenient way to get there.

  1. Koko Crater Railway Trailhead
9 of the Best Hikes in Oahu, Hawaii • A World in Reach

You won’t find information on the trail to the summit of the Koko volcano on any official website of Hawaii. Firstly, this is because the trail itself is unofficial, and you can reach it by traveling in a rental car only. Secondly – because this is not a trail, but the rails of an old funicular leading to the summit of the Koko volcano.

The funicular worked during World War II and brought the military to a small observation post at the top of the volcano. Subsequently, both the observation post and the funicular stopped their work, and tourists chose this place for hiking. Now there are 1,048 steps leading to the top of Koko Head.

  1. Kaena Point Trail
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Kaena Point is the westernmost point of Oahu. It offers wonderful ocean views, and in the winter months, you can even see whales swimming off the coast. In addition, the Kaena Point Bird Sanctuary is located on the cape itself. 

In fact, this is the only popular trail on Oahu that is not accessible by public transport, but you can easily reach it by car.

You can start hiking on the Kaena Point Trail both from the south of Keawaula Beach and from the north in the Mokuleia area – the length of these trails is almost the same. 

There’s a parking lot on both sides where you can park your rental car. Toilet facilities are available at nearby beaches. The trail runs along the coast of the island, from the northwest side the route is flatter. In any case, this road is quite easy, only the total length adds complexity to it.

  1. Kalalau Trail
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There are dozens of hiking trails on every Hawaiian island. However, the Kalalau Trail is among the mega-popular spots. It stretches for 16 kilometers along the western part of the Napali Coast and is considered to be the most beautiful and dangerous hiking road in the world.

The path starts at Ke’e Beach and follows the coast to Kalalau Beach. As Kalalau is separated from the rest of the island by a large cliff, hikers have to turn back. The transfer of tourists to Kalalau Beach by boat is also prohibited. If you don’t plan to take such a long journey, but you want to see the most beautiful hiking route, go for a walk for the first 3.2 km leading to Hanakapi’ai Beach.

  1. Aihualama Falls Trail
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Aihualama is a dry waterfall that operates only during rains. The good news is that the weather is often rainy there, so you can admire the waterfall quite often. Plus, if the trail leading to Manoa Falls is closed, it would be a great alternative for hikers.Note that the Hawaii Trails website and Google Maps show a very different road to Aihualama Falls, starting from Manoa Falls. You can find the right interactive map of the required trail here. It starts from the botanical garden administration building and runs almost parallel to the Manoa Falls Trail.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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