The 12 Best North Shore Oahu Hikes

Aloha,

Are you looking for a new hiking spot in Oahu’s North Shore?

North Shore Oahu is the perfect place to hike. There are so many great trails and hikes, making it hard to know where to start!

We’ve put together a list of our favorite North Shore Oahu hikes that we think you will love too:

  • Kealia Trail
  • Hau’ula Loop Trail
  • Kaipapau Falls Trail
  • Kaunala Trail
  • Turtle Bay to Kahuku Point
  • Ka’ena Point
  • Ma’akua Ridge Trail
  • Kuaokala Trail
  • Poamoho Ridge Trail
  • Ehukai Pillbox Hike
  • Waimea Valley Trail
  • Mokuleia Access Road to Kealia Trail

You’ll find everything from short and easy hikes like Waimea Valley, some of the best waterfall hikes in Oahu, and more challenging ones like the Kaunala Trail.

No matter what your fitness level is, there’s something on this list for everyone. So grab some friends and get ready for an adventure!

Plan your trip to Oahu Cheat Sheet with a Map of the Island

    Before we begin, let’s answer some FAQs.

    Oahu North Shore Hiking FAQs

    What is the hardest hike on Oahu?

    Three Peaks, Wa’ahila Ridge Trail, Hawai’iloa Ridge Trail, and Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail, are some of the most challenging hikes on Oahu. Out of the bunch, I would say Three Peaks is the most difficult.

    What is the easiest hike in Oahu?

    The Waimea Valley Hike is one easy hike in Oahu.

    Can I hike Crouching Lion?

    Unfortunately, the Crouching Lion hike in Oahu is now illegal.

    Does Oahu have waterfall hikes?

    Yes, there are gorgeous waterfall hikes in Oahu, such as Manoa Falls, Waimea Falls, Likeke Falls, and more.

    Why is the Stairway to Heaven in Hawaii closed?

    The Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, are closed due to 2015 storm damages that caused significant damage to the stairway. The hike is considered dangerous and unusable.

    The Best North Shore Oahu Hikes

    Kealia Trail

    Length: 7.6 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Moderate
    Time: About 4-5 hours
    Elevation: 2516ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Free parking

    The Kealia Trail starts right at the Dillingham Airfield parking lot and takes you to the top of the hill. Once you get to the top, you will be greeted with incredible views of Makua Valley, a remote part of Oahu. The trail is part of the Na Ala Hele, which is the State of Hawai’i Trail and Access System.

    The trail can get very hot depending on the time you go, so make sure to bring extra water. It’s mostly uphill, so be prepared for some great cardio and calorie burn.

    The Kealia trail has amazing coastal views and is rated as a moderate hike on Oahu's North show. Definitely one of the best hikes

    You will pass some look-outs along the way that give you great views of Honouliuli, Ka’au Crater, and Oahu’s North Shore.

    There is a picnic table at the top of the hill with a great view of Ka’au Crater. Please beware of falling rocks; signs are there to warn you of the danger.

    Note: Dogs are allowed

    Hau’ula Loop Trail

    Length: 2.7 miles (Loop trail)
    Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate
    Time: 1.5 hours
    Elevation: 879ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Free parking

    Located near Hau’ula, The Hau’ula Loop Trail is perfect for hikers of all levels. The Hau’ula Loop Trail is part of the Na Ala Hele system.

    The Hau'ula Loop Trail has amazing jungle vibe views and is one of the top hiking spots in the North Shore of Oahu

    The trails offer a great mix of scenery—tropical, jungle-like areas. Make sure to bring lots of water! Also, it can get muddy and slippery here, so be sure to wear proper hiking shoes.

    Note: Dogs are allowed

    Kaipapau Falls Trail

    Length: 8 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
    Time: 5 hours
    Elevation: 3287ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Kawaipuna St. parking

    The Kaipapau Falls Trail in Haiku leads hikers to Kaipapau Falls, a waterfall cascading into a water pool below where people can swim.

    You will spend a good amount of your time crossing through the riverbed. Avoid doing this hike during heavy rain as it can lead to dangerous flash floods and falling rocks.

    As you hike through the valley, you will be rewarded with gorgeous green scenery and beautiful landscapes.

    Don’t forget to pack lots of water and snacks for this hike since the hike is long.

    Kaunala Trail

    Length: 5.2 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Moderate
    Time: 3 hours
    Elevation: 1204ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Free parking at the roadside near the Boy Scout Camp.

    The Kaunala Trail is located near Kahuku, and it offers incredible views of Oahu’s North Shore.

    The trail includes a single-track section with uneven terrain and can get slippery in some parts, so make sure to wear the right shoes for hiking in Hawaii. You will need to hike about 0.6 miles to get to the trailhead from the Boy Scout parking.

    Note: Dogs are allowed, but they will need to be kept on a leash.

    Turtle Bay to Kahuku Point 

    Length: 2.3 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Moderate
    Time: 30 minutes to an hour
    Elevation: 134ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Free parking at Turtle Bay Resort (Beach Access parking)

    The Turtle Bay to Kahuku Point hike is another excellent North Shore Oahu hike that offers fantastic oceans views. The trail will take you to the highest point in Oahu!

    You will be greeted with beautiful views of the North Shore coastline, and you might even see some sea turtles during your hike. Most of this trail is along the coastline, which makes it a great beach hike.

    See also: Turtle Beach Oahu: Everything You need to know about Laniakea Beach

    15 Best Beaches in Oahu You Should Visit

    Be sure to pack water, snacks, sunscreen, or a rashguard to make the most out of your trek.

    Turtle Bay at Kahuku offers great ocean views. A very scenic hike in Oahu

    Ka’ena Point Trail

    Length: 7 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Easy
    Time: About 5 hours
    Elevation: 442ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Free parking at the Ka’ena Point State Park

    The Ka’ena Point Trail is great for birdwatching and spotting wildlife such as sea lions. The trail is easy but very long, so be prepared to spend a lot of time here.

    View of the ocean at Ka'ena Point, one of Oahu best hiking trails in the North Shore

    The trail is not shaded for the most part, so be sure to bring sunscreen and enough water. You will be rewarded with gorgeous ocean views the whole time you are on this hike.

    Ma’akua Ridge Trail

    Length: 3.7 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Moderate
    Time: 2 hours
    Elevation: 1030ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Down the road across from the beach park

    Located in Hau’ula, Hawaii, The Ma’akua Ridge Trail features gorgeous scenery, including amazing wildflowers. The view at the top is breathtaking and worth the hike.

    Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes for this one, as the trail can get slippery after rainfall. You will have to climb over rocks and stream beds for part of the hike. Also, don’t forget to bring your bug spray and sunscreen.

    Note: Dogs are allowed, but they will need to be kept on a leash.

    Kuaokala Trail

    Length: 4.7 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Moderate
    Time: 3 hours
    Elevation: 1049ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: You will need to print a parking permit from the Division of Forestry & Wildlife. There is a $2.50 credit card processing fee. Remember to bring your ID to get through the military station.

    The Kuaokala Trail is located near Waialua and features fantastic forest scenery. You will be rewarded with amazing views of the North Shore and the Kaneohe Bay coastline.

    Enjoyed the gorgeous mountainous views at Kuaokala Trail. This is by far one of the best hikes in the North shore

    You can see the Waianae mountain range from the top of this trail, which offers great views. This trail can get muddy, so be sure to wear proper hiking shoes and pack lots of water as it can get hot in the afternoon.

    Note: Dogs are allowed, but they will need to be kept on a leash.

    Poamoho Ridge Trail

    Length: 6.8 miles
    Difficulty Level: Moderate-Difficult
    Time: 4 hours
    Elevation: 2119ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Permit is required. You can get one from the Department of Forestry and Wildlife.

    The Poamoho Ridge Trail is located near Wahiawa and it offers incredible coastal views. Please note that the road leading to the trailhead is a 4WD road, and it can get very muddy in parts. This is definitely one of the most difficult hikes in the North Shore of Oahu.

    The hike offers amazing views of Koolau mountain range, Poamoho Stream, and the north, east and west coasts. Once you get to the top, you will be rewarded with views of Ka’a’awa, Kaha, and Punalu’u.

    while long and difficult, the views are stunning, so this hike is worth checking out. Just make sure you do it on a clear, sunny day with no rain.

    Ehukai Pillbox Hike

    Length: 2.3 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate
    Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
    Elevation: 734ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee: There is no parking at the trailhead, but you can park at one of the designated street-side parks nearby. Please make sure to follow all street signs and parking protocols.

    Located across the street from Ehukai Beach, the Ehukai Pillbox hike offers stunning views of Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline, and the most amazing sunsets you will ever see.

    The Ehukai Pillbox Hike has awesome jungle views and is one of the best hikes in the North Shore

    Waimea Valley Trail

    Length: 1.9 miles (round trip)
    Difficulty Level: Easy
    Time: 50 Minutes
    Elevation: 272ft
    Entrance/Parking Fee : $20

    Located in Haleiwa, Waimea Valley Trail is one of the easiest hikes in the North Shore of Oahu. The trail will lead you to a gorgeous waterfall suitable for swimming.

    The view at the top of Waimea Falls is breathtaking, and the hiking trail itself offers stunning scenery as you walk by plants and flowers along the trail.

    We were rewarded with this gorgeous ocean view on the hike. Definately one of the best hikes on the north shore of Oahu

    Mokuleia Access Road to Kealia Trail

    Length: 10.5 miles (point to point)
    Difficulty Level: Difficult
    Time: About 4 hours
    Elevation: 2723 ft.
    Entrance/Parking Fee: Free parking

    Located in a remote area near Waialua, this route offers stunning views of the North Shore and glimpses of the west side.

    The hike offers amazing forest scenery, and once you get to the Makua Valley lookout, you will be greeted with even more stunning views.

    Stopped to enjoy the mountain views on the Mokuleia trail in Oahu's North shore

    The trail is located off the Farrington Highway. This is a point-to-point hike, so unless you want to hike all the way back to where you started, you may want to bring two cars and leave one at the end so that you can drive back to the starting point.

    The Wrap Up

    If you’re visiting the North Shore of Oahu, these are some great hikes to get your heart pumping and see some beautiful scenery. Remember to wear proper hiking shoes, bring lots of water and enough snacks for the hike.

    Thank you for reading our post. Aloha, and happy hiking in Oahu’s North Shore!

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