We pick 4 great Oahu hiking trails (and tasty end-of-hike rewards)by: Catherine E. Toth
posted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM
So you’re on Oahu, on vacation, and indulging in our incredibly diverse and delicious local dining scene.
Chicken katsu. Macaroni salad. Hawaiian plate lunches (with laulau, kalua pig, lomi salmon, poi, haupia, etc.). Ahi and tako poke. Multiple stops at the garlic shrimp trucks. Malassadas. Lunchwagons.
Want to burn some calories—so you can keep eating at a steady clip—and take in some scenery?
Lucky for you, Oahu has dozens of terrific hiking trails, ranging from the gentle 1-mile trek to Manoa Falls tucked in the back of Honolulu’s Manoa Valley, to the challenging 4-mile Puu Manamana hike in Kahana Valley State Park on the Windward side that demands sure feet and a cool head.
Hiking is one of the best ways to take in Oahu’s natural beauty, from its lush native forests to breathtaking views of the island’s coastlines. Hiking through some of the island’s forests and along the windswept ridges of the Koolau mountain range, you may even find it hard to believe that you’re on Hawaii’s most populous island.
Here are my picks of four great Oahu hiking trails (each with a post-hike reward for your hard workout).
Be sure to bring water, insect repellent, sunscreen, comfortable shoes and a fully charged camera. You won’t want to miss these sights.
Waimano Pool Trail
Location: Pearl City, Central Oahu
Length: 3-miles roundtrip
Level of difficulty: Beginner and intermediate
This is a tough three-mile hike, with a huge payoff. The trailhead is at the end of Komo Mai Drive in Pearl City’s Pacific Palisades subdivision. The first part of the hike is a bit misleading—a level path of dirt, meandering through groves of ironwood and eucalyptus trees. But turn right where the trail forks (there’s a metal stake marking the spot) and you’ll start down a section of the ridge trail leading to three pools. One of the pools even has a rope swing. You might want to recharge here with some granola bars when you’re done swimming—the trail you take down to the pools is named “Cardiac Hill” for the slow climb back up. The left fork in the trail, at the metal stake? It’s the Manana Trail, arguably one of Oahu’s toughest hikes and a full-day round trip trek up into the Koolau mountain range.
Post-hike reward: Get a slice of homemade pie from Anna Miller’s Restaurant (98-115 Kaonohi St., Aiea, near Pearlridge Center). Our pick is the signature fresh strawberry pie.
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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
“Best of Hawaii” 2010: Our readers' favorite Hawaii hiking trails
Hiker-level views of scenic Big Island trails coming to Google Street View
Top 5 favorite Hawaii hiking trails