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Challenging Hikes In The Hawaiian Islands

Challenging Hikes In The Hawaiian Islands
Pu'upöä Point Hanalei Bay, Kaua'i January 23, 2002 Photo: <a href="http://gohawaii.com">Hawaii Visitor's Bureau</a>

Challenge yourself to get out of the hotel room and into the wild with a memorable hike in Hawaii. A few things you can look forward to: waterfall pools, lush rainforests, native plants, or breathtaking ocean panoramas. If you’re ready for a more difficult hike, here are a few worth considering.

Waahila Ridge
Waahila Ridge. Photo: sweet + savory. Click to read more.

Waahila Ridge (Oahu) – After a short walk, jog or hike up St. Louis Drive, the Waahila Ridge trailhead awaits. This 2.4-mile hike spans up the ridge of Manoa and Palolo Valleys, alternately passing through a thick forest of ironwood and guava trees and open ridges. Native Hawaiian plants, such as ohi‘a lehua and koa, are viewed easily along this trail. Whether you’re headed for the highest peak or just escaping from the busy surroundings of Waikiki, this hike provides a few hours of worthwhile distraction.

Ala Kahakai Trail
Ala Kahakai Trail. Photo: National Park Service

Ala Kahakai Trail (Hawaii Island) – This 15.4 mile coastal loop hike can be accessed from Hapuna State Recreation Area. The moderate trail follows coastline over ancient fishermen trails, past nearby resorts, and connects to some of the state’s most pristine beaches and shoreline.

Piilani Trail (Maui) – Toward the end of the Road to Hana, find solace in the Piilani Trail. This rugged, three mile coastal trail takes visitors across barren lava, offering spectacular views of the Slopes of Haleakala and Hana coastline. Enter through Waianapanapa State Park.

Kilohana Overlook of Hanalei Bay - Kauai
Kilohana Overlook of Hanalei Bay – Kauai. Photo: Hawaii Savvy

Pihea Trail/Alakai Swamp (Kauai) – If you don’t mind getting dirty, Pihea Trail on the island of Kauai might just be the perfect hike for you. Pass through mud and fog through brush and rainforest to enjoy spectacular views of the Wainiha and Hanalei Valleys. This 3.5-mile hike can take four to five hours and is often wet, slippery, and muddy, so use caution and wear appropriate clothing.

For more information on hiking trails in Hawaii, visit Hawaii State Parks (www.hawaiistateparks.org/hiking), Na Ala Hele – Hawaii Trail & Access System (http://www.hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov/) or Unreal Hawaii (www.unrealhawaii.com).