Hiking Hawaii: 4 Trails with Waterfalls, Volcanoes and Beaches


The Hawaiian Islands are an outdoors enthusiast’s dream. With so much to do, it can be hard to wrap your mind around all the options. When it comes to hiking Hawaii there are some must-see locations that combine the best that the islands have to offer from its rugged coastline to active volcanoes. Here are four great Hawaiian hikes not to miss.

Na Pali Coast in Kauai

One of the most specactular settings in Hawaii lies on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. As one of the most untouched regions on account of its sheer cliff face, this area is also one of the most beautiful. The Kalalua Trail follows four miles along the cliff side, opening up on amazing views to Hanakapai’ai Beach. Here you can either travel further with a state parks permit or trek another four miles upstream to a waterfall. Camping in this area can also be accomplished with a permit. While this trail may get busy at times, there is really nothing else that compares in magnitude and beauty. 

Maui’s Haleakala National Park

The highest point of Maui is the summit of Haleakala. Now one of the largest dormant volcanoes on the planet, you can hike into its caldera on a short five mile hike down and back. You’ll have to buy a pass to Haleakala National Park so be sure to stick around for the park’s other attractions, such as the Pipiwai Trail. Traveling through a dense, dark bamboo forest, the trail passes several waterfalls until culminating at the impressive Waimoku Falls. For many people, just getting to this National Park is an adventure in itself as the 60-mile journey takes you through some of the best viewpoints that Maui has to offer. 

Waterfalls in Oahu

In the endless repeating pattern of waterfalls, jungles and beaches that is Oahu, there are many trails with spectacular hikes. Outside Kailua, the Maunawili Falls Trail travels 3.2 miles to a waterfall where you can swim underneath. For those intrepid enough, they can dive off the cliff face into the pool for truly a scene out of paradise.  This trail follows a small creek, passing over it several times, so be prepared with shoe wear that can handle water and mud. For another waterfall hike, this time outside Honolulu, try the Monoa Falls trail featured in the show Lost and the move Jurassic Park. 

Volcanoes National Park, Big Island

No trip to Hawaii would be complete without a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to pay homage to the geologic forces that created the islands. Here you can enjoy a crater rim tour of the magnificent Kilauea volcano or take in a collection of steam vents near the visitor center. But if you really want to get adventurous, strap on your hiking boots and descend eight miles into the active Kilauea volcano crater. The trail begins by passing a lava tube and descending through thick jungle before crossing steam vents bursting with sulphuric acid. This giant lava bed that still beats with life creating an otherworldly experience. 

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons