The Best Hikes on Oahu Are Hidden

The valleys we drive past daily have hidden treasure within them. Go down the rabbit hole and you will discover much more than you ever thought was there. From the outside, Oahu may seem to only have a handful of hikes, which are consequently all overcrowded by visitors. However, I’ve come to find the hikes with a little more of a challenge often lead to the best views and the least amount of people. While many are illegal for safety reasons, I’ve discovered a few that are legal, and less crowded than most. 

Hidden Hiking Trail on Oahu

In the deep valleys on the south side of Oahu, between Diamond Head and Kuliouou is a neighborhood known as Waialae Iki Valley. After you drive up the neighborhood’s windy road for what feels like ten miles, there is another gated community. Once the guard has given you the green light to go through, you’ll receive a pass to park your car and access the hike. Then, after what feels like another few miles up the valley you will finally come upon the entrance to the hike and an already stunning view of the ocean. 

view from top of a hill toward the ocean

Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

The trail, which is called Wiliwilinui Ridge, begins on a dirt path with a steady incline under a tunnel of trees. As you gradually incline, the trail gets narrower and curvier in some parts and you’ll wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. With lots of water and snacks, this hike is very doable, but can feel a bit daunting after some steep inclination. The constant views of peaks and valleys on either side of you as well as the ocean worked for me as motivation to continue towards the end. About two hours in, the other side of the mountain seems palpable. There are vibrant native plants and birds as far as the eye can see but don’t get too distracted as these plants can trip you up. 

Reaching the top of the mountain and standing above Waimanalo with views from Rabbit Island to Kaneohe Bay will make you forget all about the effort it took to get there. Once you take it all in and enjoy the peaceful mountains, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to return to the hustle and bustle of the city. I challenge you to go on the longer, steeper, hidden trails that will make you remember why you live in Hawaii.

view from top of hiking trail looking down to valley and ocean

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Cherie Tsukamoto

January 18, 2023

Great blog, Ashley!

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