I love exploring the north and west shores leading up to Kaena Point, primarily because I think it is the last stretch of wild coastline on Oahu. Once you step beyond where the paved roads end in both Mokuleia and Waianae, you are instantly surrounded by beautiful coastal terrain, cultural sites, and remnants of a historical past once dominated by plantations and the military.
Tucked away on Oahu is a valley hike with a hidden swimming hole and a forgotten bunker. This one actually consists of a long tunnel and bunker system that goes on for quite a while. Someone decided to spray paint an image of Mighty Mouse on one end of the bunker, hence the name that I made up for it during our hike, Mighty Mouse Bunkers. Appropriate, right? You’ll need a headlamp for this one.
Lazy Saturday, means lazy hiking day. And in Hawaii, it doesn’t get any lazier than the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail. It’s paved all the way up to the lookout. However, there are a couple of exciting variations to Makapuu. The last time that Exploration: Hawaii was up there, we had the very unique and rare opportunity to visit the inside of the lighthouse, and then took a backside route to Pele’s Chair. It was spectacular, and we even unleashed the Animal Heads Super Team to the world.
One of the most frequent email questions that I receive from Exploration: Hawaii readers is: “What are some kid friendly hiking trails on Oahu?” This post will help to answer that question. First of all, I will disregard the three hikes that both you and your children probably have already done: Diamond Head, Makapuu Light House, and the Manoa Falls Trail. Of course, these three hikes are definitely good options if you haven’t already completed them. I’d like to focus a bit on the more obscure, or out-of-the-way trails. It’ll add to your child’s sense of adventure, and maybe get them hooked on the outdoors. You’ve been warned.
NOTE: none of the trails listed below are probably appropriate for infants or toddlers. These are NOT the kind of hikes meant for infants or toddlers. I’d probably say kids 10 and older can manage the trails below, but of course, you, the parent, is the best judge of whether or not your child can hike the trails listed below. Try these hikes first: Diamond Head, Makapuu Light House, and the Manoa Falls Trail, before you try the ones listed below. I have no hikes to suggest for those looking to hike with an infant or toddler in a hiking backpack.
With that said, here are 5 great kid friendly hikes on Oahu. Below each description, I provide estimates for time and distance, a few tips, and trailhead directions. Each of these hikes were also previously mentioned in depth here and I have provided links to those posts as well. Before you venture out on any of these hikes, please review these tips on hiking safely in Hawaii. Have a suggestion for a great kid friendly hike? Leave it in the comments!