Tough and Beautiful – Strenuous, Scenic Hikes in Hawaii

[This post contains sponsored content]

Koko Crater (Image via Danramarch)

This Guest Post from the good folks at Aqua Hotel & Resorts shares some great hikes in Hawaii!

In most cases, the view from the top is the best, both metaphorically and literally. Of course, one most put in some considerable effort to get there, especially when it’s in the form of a hike.

I’ve been an avid hiker for years across California and the Pacific Northwest, trekking across everything from desert boulders to misty redwood forests, with a variety of coastal trails between it all. As your heart pounds and your calves burn, taking in the view becomes the sole luxury of a strenuous hike.  The cool humidity and lush tropical foliage of Hawaii make it one of my prime hiking destinations, according to this hiking tips article; and there are extraordinary views offered at every island.  Some of the toughest hikes I’ve done have offered me the most incredible vistas, and I’ve compiled a list of a few standouts.

Koko Head Crater Trail, Oahu

There’s no getting around it: this is a very steep climb with innumerable stairs and little shade. That being said, reaching the summit offers spectacular views in every direction. On a clear day, you can see three islands on the other side of the Koko crater as well as Hanauama Bay, Hawaii Kai, Diamond Head and Waikiki. The climb alone on this gauntlet will make you feel far away from civilization, but in actuality, it’s just a short bus ride or drive from many Waikiki hotelsand resorts. Definitely not for those looking for a quick stroll in sandals!

Manoa Falls, Oahu

Manoa Falls (Image via thegirlsny)

This one isn’t too tough for most, and the scenery is outstanding.  It’s conveniently located near some of my favorite standbys, like The Modern Honolulu, making it one of the spots I choose for an early morning invigorator or mid-day traipse.  There are some steep muddy sections on the hour-long trek to the 100-foot waterfall, but it is otherwise a pleasant walk through bamboo forest and tropical flowers.

Moanalua Saddle to Haiku Stairs (Aka Stairway to Heaven), Oahu

I save this one for last, as it’s the most dangerous and challenging. This one is truly not for the faint of heart, and is best accessed with an experienced guide. This is a short, treacherous route with narrow, crumbling sections that involve serious climbing. As in, you may need to set up ropes at times at a couple of the obstacles. The hike starts easily enough in Moanalua Park, where you follow a paved road until Kulana’ahane trail. Then, you reach the ridge of the Moanalua Saddle before heading right towards the stairs. Then it’s a terrifying series of ropes, stairs, footholds and narrow crumbly sections requiring heavy focus. After this, the trail eases up to offer you a pleasant path with an amazing view of the major summits of the Ko’olaus and the city below. This is definitely one worth the trouble, if you can handle the thrill and scare.

Looking down the haiku stairs at the H3 highway and Kaneohe. (photo via syntheticaperture)


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!