I should have kept driving. My initial plan was to hike through the Honolulu Mauka Trail System by spending a lazy Saturday hiking the Pauoa Flats, Nuuanu, and Judd Trails. I would use the Manoa Cliff Trail to access Pauoa Flats. The Manoa Cliff Trail was wet and muddy, but nice as usual. I was the only one on the trail, I guess everyone else was at the Dead Man’s Catwalk. Better for me. The bench along the Manoa Cliff Trail is one of my favorite places. It faces Manoa Falls, and on a good day, you can see it flowing from a distance.
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!
I love fruits. It’s this unquestionable passion for sweet flesh that has led me to do the Makiki Loop Trail on a weekly basis over the last two months. Ever since I noticed the blossoming of the bright pink mountain apple flowers I have been dying to pick the tasty fruit to stimulate my taste buds and fill my belly. My mouth is watering just thinking about the extraordinary tropical taste of a freshly picked and ripe mountain apple. Unfortunately, I can’t fast forward mother nature and so thus far my mountain apple picking days will have to wait. Despite my futile mountain apple adventures, I have become quite accustomed with the Tantalus/Round Top portion of the Honolulu Mauka Trail System.
If you’re looking to do a quick hike in the Honolulu area then set your sights on one of the trails that make up the Honolulu Mauka Trail System. We’ve covered the Makiki Valley Loop Trail in the past when we connected the Maunalaha and Kanealole Trails. More recently, we explored ourbackyard once again by paying a visit to the Manoa Cliff Trail and connecting it with the Pu’u Ohia Trail. The route discussed here is a quick 3.5 mile loop that can be completed in under 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The Makiki area is a great place to live. The University of Hawaii is five minutes away. I can walk to work at Queen’s Medical Center. Ala Moana Beach Park is a hop and a skip from my apartment. And as if that’s not good enough, the Honolulu Mauka Trail System is located right in my backyard. About two minutes from my apartment is the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve. Just above the reserve is the Hawaii Nature Center. A few feet beyond the nature center is the start of the Makiki-Tantalus Trail, a grand 8-mile loop trail.