Hawaii Hiking Destinations

If you enjoy hiking, you’re gonna love Hawaii hiking! Even if you’re not a gung-ho hiker, you can find a Hawaii hiking tour that can take you just a bit off the beaten path where you can enjoy panoramic views or discover some of the many hidden waterfalls. In fact, most of the Hawaiian island’s interior are not accessible by road.

Hawaii Volcano National Park

One favorite hiking tour, and one of the most visited attractions on the Big Island, is Hawaii Volcano National Park. The only active Hawaii volcano, Kilauea, has been spewing lava since 1983. While this National Park is quite safe and fun for those who take the time to read the safety brochures, it is nice to go with a Hawaii volcano tour.

In the summer of 2007 following a series of earthquakes, a cone collapsed, stopping the flow to the sea, but new fissures opened up east of the National Park. You can view this flow safely from the air, and a Big Island helicopter tour will provide a spectacular view and photo opportunity. You can also view new black sand beaches created from the previous flow. These are found at the foot of the volcano off Chain of Craters Road.

Your Hawaii Volcano tour may also take you to the short hike through the songbird forest down to Thurston Lava Tube, a well-lit cave you can walk through. The first place you should stop is the Hawaii Volcano National Park Visitor Center where you can collect information, watch an exciting movie and talk to rangers. Jaggar Museum in the Park is also a must-do.

If you are seeking accommodations on this side of the island, consider Volcano Lodge. Located in the Volcano National Park, the lodge is set among cedar trees and lush, green forests. The Lodge’s bar and restaurant overlooks a steaming crater and is appointed with pictures of earlier eruptions and one of the volcano’s most notable guests, Mark Twain.

Hawaii Volcano National Park is a study in diversity – black lava moonscapes and steaming craters contrast with Hawaii’s finest greenery and a birdwatcher’s paradise. If you are visiting the Big Island, don’t miss this wonderful National Park!

The early Hawaiians blazed many of the well-maintained Hawaii hiking trails, and your Hawaii hiking tour guide will enjoy sharing historical tidbits with you. Hawaii hiking guides, often naturalists, will also share their wisdom of Hawaiian botany and geology along the way.

Keep in mind that hiking in Hawaii can be very different from hiking in your local region, meaning new safety guidelines apply. You can download the State’s free guide to “Hiking Safety”. Unless you are taking a very short and well-traveled hike, the smartest way for a newcomer to explore Hawaii hiking trails is with a guided hiking tour.

Does Hawaii have good hiking?

All of Hawaii’s islands, from Kauai to the Big Island, provide fantastic hiking experiences surrounded by lush tropical foliage and are accessible by day trip from your base. Enjoy canyon trails that wind their way around various volcanoes, ascend the spectacular Diamond Head, or enjoy a short walk to the tide pools.

Here are just a few of the highlights of hiking Hawaii:

Kauai Hiking

The Kalalau Trail along the steep, green cliffs of the breathtakingly beautiful Na Pali Coast allows you to hike to the first white sand cove and loop back or go on an overnight hiking tour. On this amazing Kauai hiking trail you will see panoramic vistas from 700 feet above the ocean. Na Pali hikers also enjoy a myriad of waterfalls and secluded, white sand coves.

Oahu Hiking

Oahu is the best Hawaiian island for hiking. Hiking paths on Oahu traverse the island’s two volcanic mountain ranges. Oahu’s extensive network of trails caters to hikers of all skill levels. On Oahu, hikers can enjoy waterfall walks, WWII pillbox hikes, and coastal ridges.

The hike to Diamond Head Monument is the most popular hike on Oahu. The trail offers sweeping vistas of Honolulu, and the crater floor offers a nice meadow for picnics.

How long is the Koko Crater hike?

Although it is only 1.4 miles long, the hike is strenuous, with an abrupt gradient that will have you doubting your ability to reach the summit. The military built the Koko Head Railway during WWII to move supplies and soldiers.

Maui Hiking

Maui has some fantastic hikes as well, but they fall short of Oahu. There are fewer waterfall treks (though the Pipiwai trail hike is a must), and if you stay on the leeward side of the island (as most people do), you’ll be going up reasonably dry paths in the heat.

Among the most popular Maui hiking tours are the excursions to a beautiful valley along the Hana Highway where you trek through rain forest and open meadows to waterfalls nestled in among fragrant blossoms like white ginger. Hiking in Maui allows you to enjoy standing beneath the falls and playing Tarzan with a rope swing.

Big Island Hiking

Hiking Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with its steaming craters, songbird forest, lava tube caves and sweeping ocean views is one of the most popular activities on the Big Island.

These are just a few highlights and wonders of what hiking in Hawaii has to offer. As always, book well in advance because popular Hawaii hiking tours fill fast.

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