The Four Best Hikes on Oahu (that aren’t the Haiku Stairs)

Before going to the Hawaiian island of Oahu, I only knew of two hikes: Stairway to Heaven (also known as the Haiku Stairs) and Diamond Head crater. I soon learned that Oahu has so many stunning hikes that showcase Hawaii’s natural beauty. These made for some truly wonderful memories and beautiful photographs.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike 

Oahu has many concrete pillboxes scattered up on its mountains, remnants from WW2. There are two main Pillbox hikes located on opposite sides of the island. The Lanikai Pillbox hike is found on the east side, so hikers opt to do this one before the sun has come up, watching it rise from the top. My friends and I woke up at 4:30am to drive from Waikiki to Kailua, roughly a forty-minute drive. We arrived in pitch black, walked up a residential street and found a sign pointing to the track. Using the flashlights on our phones, we hiked up the steep mountain in darkness. At the top, three pillboxes sat on different peaks. We chose to continue walking to the second one, seeing several people already crowding on the first Pillbox. This turned out to be a great decision as we got a prime seat to watch sun rise and break through the clouds, beaming its rays onto the ocean.

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Pink Pillbox Hike

This hike is located on the west side and makes for a beautiful setting to watch the sun set. We parked on the side of the road and found an entrance. This hike was steep and very soon I felt my calves burning, lactic acid accumulating. In 35-degree heat, the sweat dripped from our bodies. After ascending 200m we reached the gorgeous pink Pillbox and relaxed for a long time, sharing snacks, listening to music and taking in the view. Eventually, we watched the sun disappear below the horizon, picked up our things and quickly headed back down before the sunlight disappeared completely.

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Crouching Lion Hike

The crouching lion hike is located on the east coast, not far from Kualoa Ranch where Jurassic Park was filmed. A beautiful hike, you can read more about it here.

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Koko Head Trail

I never had time to do this hike, but if I were to go back I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s located near the famous snorkelling destination, Hanauma Bay. Looking up from the bay, a huge mountain towered over us. When my friends told me that was Koko head I couldn’t believe it. That’s what we were meant to walk up? The hike involves walking up an old train track from WW2 consisting of 1048 stairs. Someone at my hostel told me that a week earlier a girl had broken her leg during the hike. Surely just a freak accident? On the day we planned on doing it we ran out of time, so instead we walked up and along the ridge above Hanauma Bay giving a beautiful view of Koko Head, the bay, and the beach on the other side.

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