Best Of: Casual Hiking Trails of Hawaii Pt. 1

Published: November 14, 2013

Part 1 is going to cover some of the tourist-friendly trails of the island of Oahu. Known as "The Gather Place", Oahu is statistically the most populated of all the islands in the state. It's also the most city-like, subjectively speaking. All your modern day commodities exist here on Oahu such as Walmarts, Starbucks, McDonalds, Kmarts, Wendy's, Macy's, Sears.. You name it! It might seem unusual that I'm featuring Oahu as Part 1 considering those facts.

But I live here. On Oahu. So. Here's Part 1. Probably Part 1 of 1. Lol?

I'll rate each trail by quality, scenery, and enjoyment (which factors in diffciculty and undulation of the ground) on a scale of 1-10. And keep in mind, all of these opinions are based upon personal experiences with each trail.

  1. Maunawili Trail & Maunawili Falls

    Among the nicest of the trails on the island, Maunawili boasts an incredible scenery of mountain ranges and local greenery. Best of all for tourists, there are two entrances which have two different difficulties. The short one, appropriately named Maunawii Falls Trail, leads to Maunawili Falls itself. This endpoint consists of a waterfall and a pool of water that you can't swim in, but they're nice to look at. The other trail is the regular trail, called Trail Trail on the official Na Ala Hele hiking website. It's not really called Trail Trail by local terms. That's just the way to distinguish the two. This longer low to medium difficulty trail is nearly 7 miles (if you detour to the same Maunawili Falls endpoint) and up to 10 miles (if you keep going and going).

    Quality: 9 (a point taken off for the pool of water you can't swim in)

    Scenery: 10

    Enjoyment: 10

    Overall: 9.7

    Location and more details:

    Falls Trail- http://hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov/trail.php?TrailID=OA+15+092&island=Oahu

    Trail Trail- http://hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov/trail.php?TrailID=OA+13+088&island=Oahu

  2. Aiea Loop

    I totally have to kick myself here. I believe I've skipped seven to eight other trails and had to settle for this one. Why? Because this is a Best Of "Casual" Trails list. Going along with the general definition of fun, I don't suppose "Casual" includes vertical rope climbing (or rope-less in a few trails), dodging hunting grounds, or encountering a swamp. Shucks- minus the swamp.

    Aiea Loop takes 2.5 hours to complete at a mild 4.5 miles with very moderate undulations. The wild plant life is decent, and there are occassional scenery lookouts. The lookouts are up some hills a tad off trail, but are still fairly easy to climb up/down since its non-vertical (not even close to vertical). Overall, this is a beginner's hike.

    Don't let that fool you if you don't stretch a little before taking on the Loop. Your legs will burn after the hike if you've been sitting on the couch for the past couple of months. But yet, if you see yourself fit enough to hike alongside local neighbors with their dogs who probably take the Loop daily as a morning routine, then go for it.

    Quality: 9

    Scenery: 6

    Enjoyment: 8

    Overall- 7.7

  3. Ka'au Crater

    An enjoyable and somewhat challenging trek up to Ka'au Crater. That's a picture of the crater right above. It's all vegetation, and quite possibly hikable, but not recommended.

    The trail is, from my recollection, mid-long 6 - 6.5 miles or so. It involves some climbing (with pre-installed ropes) that make this trail a little less casual that the above two. It's still very doable if taken at the right pace.

    Quality: 9 (some grafitti on local water pipes)

    Scenery: 8

    Enjoyability: 8

    Overall: 8.3

Um. I gotta go..

Hope you enjoyed my short list. Once editing tools are more awesome, I will come back and do more content.

Preview: Pillbox Trail

Hilly, easy, tourist attraction. Pillboxes are from WWII. They currently have graffiti though. Some tasteful, some not.

Preview: Hawaii Loa

Beautiful scenery, trail, and plants. There are quite a few Ohi'a Lehua (a very unique flower of the islands) that are absolutely perfect, and aside from the more known Hibiscus flower, this flower is a critical image that represents Hawaii. Why wasn't this trail listed earlier? It's for locals only. If you're visiting the island, you gotta have a local connection to let you in (to show State ID).

Preview: Manoa Falls

I remember when I did hardcore hikes and did my best to avoid disgustingly easy trails. This is one of them. Yay! It's pretty, short, pretty short, and it has a waterfall. I think it has sidewalks. I've never stepped foot anywhere near this "trail" so I wouldn't know. Great, easy peasy trail :)