14 North Shore Oahu Hikes: Discover Oahu’s Hidden Trails

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Have you ever wondered what the North Shore Oahu hikes have to offer? 

Well, you’re about to find out. 

The North Shore of Oahu, known for its stunning beaches and world-class surf spots, also boasts some of the most scenic and rewarding hikes in Hawaii. 

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual wanderer, the trails here offer something for everyone.

Why Choose North Shore For Your Hiking Adventure?

The North Shore isn’t just about surfing – it’s a paradise for hikers too. With its lush landscapes, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking vistas, hiking in North Shore, Oahu is truly a nature lover’s dream come true. 

From wandering through dense rainforests to ascending rugged peaks, you’ll experience the natural beauty of Hawaii in a whole new way.

Planning Your North Shore Hiking Trip

When planning your hiking adventure, it’s important to consider the timing of your visit. The best time to hike in Oahu is during the drier months, typically from April to October.

 However, keep in mind that Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to check the forecast before you set out.

As for what to bring, make sure to pack a sturdy pair of hiking boots, sun protection, plenty of water, and snacks. 

Don’t forget to carry a map of the area or a reliable GPS device. If you’re planning on hiking for the whole day, consider bringing a lightweight, waterproof jacket in case of sudden rain showers.

Top North Shore Oahu Hikes

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter: the hikes. Each trail in North Shore, Oahu has its unique allure. Here are some of our top picks:

North Shore Oahu Hike 1: Kaʻena Point Trail

Kaʻena Point Trail – 4.7 (1.5K reviews): Embrace the allure of the island on Ka’ena Point Trail, a premier hiking and biking destination in Oahu. 

Nestled along Farrington Highway, the trail presents hikers with stunning ocean views that stretch into the horizon. 

As you traverse this well-maintained path, the whispering sea breeze and the rhythmic cadence of the waves provide a soothing backdrop. 

Prepare for the chance to witness local wildlife in their natural habitat. With the trail always open, an extraordinary coastal adventure awaits you any time of year.

Kaʻena Point Trail

  • Length: 10 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Elevation: 1,000 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: $5 per vehicle

North Shore Oahu Hike 2: Keālia Trail

Keālia Trail – 4.7 (172 reviews): Keālia Trail, tucked away on Farrington Highway, is an absolute treat for hiking enthusiasts. 

The trail is known for its rigorous ascent and rewarding vistas, making it a top-rated hike on the island. 

As you climb, expect to witness the grandeur of Oahu’s coastline, where the azure waters meet the cloud-dappled sky.

Keālia Trail

  • Length: 7.6 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Time: 4-6 hours
  • Elevation: 1,200 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hike 3: Mokulēʻia Forest Reserve

Mokulēʻia Forest Reserve – 4.7 (304 reviews): Immerse yourself in the lush, green tranquility of the Mokulēʻia Forest Reserve, a sought-after tourist attraction in Waialua, HI. 

The dense forest trails here offer opportunities for hiking and biking through a vibrant ecosystem teeming with life. 

Each step taken reveals the vibrant biodiversity of the island, adding to a deeply enriching experience.

Mokulēʻia Forest Reserve

  • Length: Varies
  • Difficulty Level: Varies
  • Time: Varies
  • Elevation: Varies
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hike 4: Kaʻena Point State Park

Kaʻena Point State Park – 4.7 Stars (2.1K reviews): Experience the allure of the wild at Kaʻena Point State Park, a beloved hiking area in Waianae, HI. 

According to one reviewer, it’s among the best hikes they’ve done in Hawaii, even when faced with unpredictable rain. 

This captivating trail offers raw beauty, as well as a chance to encounter local wildlife and explore unique natural formations. Rain or shine, it’s a thrilling journey.

Kaʻena Point State Park

  • Length: Varies
  • Difficulty Level: Varies
  • Time: Varies
  • Elevation: Varies
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: $5 per vehicle

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North Shore Oahu Hike 5: ʻEhukai Pillbox Hike

ʻEhukai Pillbox Hike – 4.6 Stars (512 reviews): Situated in Haleiwa, HI, the Ehukai Pillbox Hike provides an exhilarating yet brief escapade. 

The trail, often described as a ‘quick one’, is perfect for those seeking a compact adventure. As you ascend, prepare to be rewarded with stunning views that encapsulate the quintessential Hawaiian scenery. 

It’s a hike that packs a punch in a short span of time, making every moment truly memorable.

ʻEhukai Pillboxes Hike

  • Length: 2.3 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation: 500 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hike 6: Waimea Falls

Waimea Falls – 4.6 Stars (2.8K reviews): Nestled in the heart of Haleiwa, HI, the trail to Waimea Falls is a must-do experience. 

The route, which is ranked among the top 3 hikes by some reviewers, offers a sublime blend of natural beauty and gentle challenge. 

The trail culminates at the spectacular Waimea Falls, a sight to behold. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, this hike guarantees a memorable, enriching experience.

Waimea Falls

  • Length: 1.2 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Elevation: 200 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: $5 per vehicle

North Shore Oahu Hike 7: Pūpūkea-Paumalū Forest Reserve

Pūpūkea-Paumalū Forest Reserve – 4.6 Stars (190 reviews): An oasis of natural beauty in Haleiwa, HI, the Pūpūkea-Paumalū Forest Reserve is renowned for its diverse trails. Not just for hiking, these paths also make for splendid jogging routes. 

As you traverse the reserve, enjoy a medley of tropical sights, sounds, and scents that collectively make for a truly invigorating experience.

Pūpūkea-Paumalū Forest Reserve

  • Length: 2.5 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation: 500 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hike 8: Mokulēʻia Access Road

Mokulēʻia Access Road – 4.6 Stars (52 reviews): The Mokulēʻia Access Road, situated on the picturesque Farrington Highway, provides a unique Oahu hiking experience. 

The sun-drenched trail invites you to meander under the clear Hawaiian skies, revealing spectacular vistas at every turn. 

Be prepared for the radiant sunshine – bring water to stay hydrated and apply sunscreen for protection. 

Amid the rugged, sun-kissed landscape, you’ll find breathtaking views that stretch into the horizon, offering a fascinating juxtaposition of desert-like conditions and the endless azure of the Pacific Ocean. 

The Mokulēʻia Access Road hike is a beautiful journey, a picturesque canvas of Oahu’s contrasting landscapes waiting to be explored.

Mokulēʻia Access Road

  • Length: 1.5 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Elevation: 200 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hike 9: Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail – 4.5 (24 reviews): Experience the rustic charm of Oahu on the Kuaokala Trail. This less-traveled path, nestled on the North Shore, offers an immersive journey through a diversity of landscapes. 

Begin by wandering through lush, untouched forests, their canopies casting dappled sunlight on the trail. As you traverse the trail, expect to encounter panoramic coastal views that provide a breathtaking contrast to the verdant greenery. 

The Kuaokala Trail brings you closer to nature, offering a serene yet adventurous exploration of Oahu’s stunning terrain. This hike is a true testament to the island’s natural beauty, leaving every visitor with lasting memories.

Kuaokala Trail

  • Length: 4.2 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Elevation: 1,000 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hikes 10: Mokulēʻia Trail

Mokulēʻia Trail – 4.5 (30 reviews): On the Mokulēʻia Trail in Oahu, hikers can anticipate a splendid, off-the-beaten-path adventure. 

This diverse trail weaves through an array of landscapes, presenting a unique microcosm of the island’s natural beauty. Start with an ascent through rugged terrain, punctuated by the vibrant hues of local flora. 

The dense canopy provides a refreshing escape from the tropical sun, the cool shadows punctuated by flashes of sunlight. 

As the trail elevates, panoramic views of the coast and surrounding landscapes emerge, an ever-changing tapestry of ocean blues and forest greens. 

The Mokulēʻia Trail offers an immersive Hawaiian hiking experience, where every step brings new discoveries.

Mokulēʻia Trail

  • Length: 7.6 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Time: 6 hours
  • Elevation: 1,500 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hikes 11: Poamoho Trail

Poamoho Trail – 4.4 (29 reviews): Immerse yourself in the splendors of Oahu’s tropical paradise on the Poamoho Trail. 

This hike is a journey into the heart of the island’s lush landscape, leading you through dense rainforests, vibrant with the sights and sounds of local fauna. 

As you navigate the well-maintained trail, you’ll be shaded by a canopy of verdant green, while small streams and waterfalls provide refreshing stops along the way. 

As the trail ascends, anticipate rewarding panoramic vistas, where the emerald green of the forest meets the expansive blue of the Pacific Ocean. 

Poamoho Trail is more than a hike, it’s a sensory journey into the rich ecological tapestry of Oahu.

Poamoho Trail

  • Length: 1.2 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Elevation: 200 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

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North Shore Oahu Hikes 12: Kaunala Trail

Kaunala Trail – 4.3 (15 reviews): Embark on an unforgettable journey on Oahu’s Kaunala Trail. This hike, tucked away from the bustle, invites you to explore a captivating blend of the island’s terrain. 

As you navigate the trail, you’ll wander through dense tropical forests, their vibrant foliage and bird songs providing a sensory feast. 

The path occasionally opens up to expose views of Oahu’s iconic valleys and peaks, adding a striking contrast to the close-knit forest. 

While moderately challenging, the hike is worth every step, culminating in a panoramic lookout that offers sweeping views of the North Shore. 

Kaunala Trail presents a rich, authentic slice of Oahu’s natural beauty.

Kaunala Trail

  • Length: 2.5 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation: 500 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hikes 13: North Shore Bike Trail

North Shore Bike Trail – 4.3 (8 reviews): On the North Shore Bike Trail in Oahu, cyclists can anticipate a delightful journey full of scenic charm. 

This well-maintained trail winds its way along Oahu’s famed North Shore, affording breathtaking views of the turquoise Pacific Ocean. 

The leisurely route takes you through a variety of landscapes, from bustling beach scenes to quieter coastal stretches, all framed by the stunning backdrop of lush, tropical mountains. 

Along the way, you might encounter local wildlife, adding an exciting dimension to your ride. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or a casual rider, the North Shore Bike Trail offers a unique way to explore and enjoy the magnificent beauty of Oahu.

North Shore Bike Trail

  • Length: 10 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation: 200 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

North Shore Oahu Hikes 14: Koʻolau Summit Trail (KST)

Koʻolau Summit Trail (KST) – 3.0 (3 reviews): Step into a thrilling adventure on the Koʻolau Summit Trail in Oahu. 

This trail invites you to traverse the spine of the Koʻolau mountains, offering an unparalleled vantage point over the island. 

As you hike, prepare to be immersed in verdant cloud forests, their mists creating a mystical ambience. The trail is a roller coaster of ascents and descents, challenging yet deeply rewarding. 

At various points along the trail, panoramic views open up, revealing the eastern coastline in all its beauty and the verdant Windward side of Oahu. 

From start to finish, the Koʻolau Summit Trail promises a rigorous but unforgettable journey through one of Hawaii’s most stunning landscapes.

**Be aware that the Koʻolau Summit Trail is considered one of the hardest hikes in Oahu. 

Koʻolau Summit Trail (KST)

  • Length: 16 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Time: 12 hours
  • Elevation: 3,000 feet
  • Entrance/Parking Fee: Free

The Ultimate Adventure For Nature & Hiking Lovers

If you’re planning on immersing yourself in the vast array of hiking and nature-related activities North Shore Oahu has to offer, you might want to consider the unique freedom that comes with renting a camper van.

north shore oahu hikes

A camper van adventure isn’t just a way to get from point A to point B; it’s a lifestyle choice that enables you to truly engage with the natural beauty of Hawaii. 

Imagine finishing a challenging hike, then being able to kick back immediately in your own comfortable, mobile space. 

No need to drive to a hotel; your bed is right there, alongside a small kitchen where you can cook a rewarding meal with local ingredients.

Camper vans offer flexibility, allowing you to create your own itinerary and change it on a whim. 

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If you discover a secluded beach or a charming local spot that’s not in the guidebooks, there’s no need to rush off. You can stay, explore, and truly soak in the experience.

This method of travel eliminates the cost of expensive hotels and dining out for every meal. 

Instead, you’re in control of your budget and your schedule. Your vacation becomes a tailor-made adventure, where you get to decide the pace, the destinations, and the experiences. 

Moreover, you can wake up to a different stunning view every day, from the serenity of a secluded beach to the majesty of a mountain vista. 

And at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like watching the sunset from the comfort of your camper van, perhaps even sharing stories with fellow camper van adventurers at a local campsite.

You can also find some of Oahu’s best campsites in our article titled Camping In Oahu: The Ultimate Guide

So, if you’re looking to make the most of your North Shore Oahu trip, consider a camper van rental. It might just turn a great vacation into an unforgettable adventure.

Other Activities To Enjoy On North Shore Oahu

After a day of hiking, North Shore, Oahu, invites you to dive into a wealth of other activities. Each one offers a unique way to further embrace the Hawaiian spirit and explore the natural wonders of this Pacific paradise.

Grab A Bite: No doubt you are a little hungry by now. Grab a bite to eat at one of North Shores’ Best Restaurants

Ride the Waves: North Shore is synonymous with surfing. It’s globally recognized for the towering waves that come to life from November to February, making it a haven for seasoned surfers. If you’re new to the sport, summer months bring calmer waters that are perfect for beginners.

If you want to see the best surf-board rentals available on the north shore, see section 5 in our post titled, Best Surf Board Rentals In Oahu

Underwater Exploration: If you’re captivated by the sea’s hidden wonders, snorkeling and diving should be on your itinerary. North Shore’s underwater world bursts with color and life. Key hotspots are Shark’s Cove and Three Tables, where you’ll encounter a diverse array of marine species.

Meet the Turtles: For a quieter, yet equally exciting experience, head to Laniakea Beach, affectionately known as Turtle Beach. Here, you’ll frequently spot green sea turtles basking on the sandy shoreline.

Step Back in Time: Finally, take a leisurely stroll through the historic Haleiwa Town. This charming spot is a treasure trove of art galleries, surf shops, and restaurants that serve delectable local cuisine. While you’re there, cool down with a shave ice – a treat that’s adored by locals and visitors alike.

So, after your hike, why not indulge in these other adventures as part of your North Shore Oahu camper van adventure?

Safety Tips For Hiking In North Shore

Venturing out on the trails of North Shore, Oahu promises a thrilling adventure, but safety should always be your top priority. Here are some tips to ensure your hiking experience is not only enjoyable but also secure and safe:

Stay Hydrated: Hawaii’s tropical climate can lead to dehydration quicker than you might expect. Always carry more water than you think you’ll need, and remember to drink regularly, even if you’re not feeling thirsty.

Wear Appropriate Gear: Opt for sturdy hiking shoes that can handle varying terrain. Dress in lightweight, breathable clothing, and consider a hat for sun protection. If you’re hiking in more remote areas, a hiking stick might be helpful.

Check Weather Forecasts: Weather in Hawaii can change rapidly, and certain trails can become dangerous in wet conditions. Always check the weather forecast before you set out, and avoid hiking during or immediately after heavy rainfall.

Stick to Marked Trails: North Shore’s trails are well-marked for a reason – they keep you safe while protecting the area’s delicate ecosystems. Don’t stray from these paths, and always respect trail signs and closures.

Be Wildlife Aware: While Hawaii’s wildlife is generally harmless, always observe from a distance. Don’t feed any animals you encounter, as it can disrupt their natural behaviors.

Have a Plan: Always let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. Even on well-traveled trails, accidents can happen, so it’s important that someone knows your itinerary.

Bring a First Aid Kit: A basic first aid kit can be a lifesaver in the event of minor injuries. Include items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Remember, every hike is a balance between adventure and safety. Taking these precautions will help ensure that your North Shore Oahu camper van adventure is a memorable one for all the right reasons.

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Preserving The Beauty Of North Shore

When visiting North Shore, it’s essential to respect the environment and local culture. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace, which include disposing of waste properly, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.

Remember, we all have a role to play in preserving the beauty of North Shore for future generations.

North Shore, Oahu, is a hiker’s paradise, offering trails with breathtaking views, unique flora and fauna, and the chance to immerse yourself in the island’s rich cultural heritage.

And with a camper van, you can explore this enchanting region at your own pace, all while staying within budget. So pack your hiking boots, rent a camper van, and get ready for an unforgettable Hawaiian adventure.


Finally, let’s address some common questions about hiking and camper van travel in North Shore, Oahu. 

Is it safe to hike alone in North Shore Oahu?

While many of the trails in North Shore Oahu are well-traveled and relatively safe, it is generally recommended to hike with others, both for safety and for companionship. If you must hike alone, make sure someone knows your plans and estimated return time.

What should I bring for a day of hiking in North Shore Oahu?

Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit. Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to pack a lightweight rain jacket as well. Always wear sturdy shoes suitable for hiking, and consider bringing a hat and sunglasses for sun protection.

Can I camp anywhere with my camper van in North Shore Oahu?

While a camper van gives you a lot of flexibility, you can’t just park and camp anywhere. Make sure to only stay overnight in designated camping areas or places where overnight parking is allowed. Be respectful of private property and always adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace.

What’s the best time of year to visit North Shore Oahu?

North Shore Oahu is a great destination year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking to do. For big wave surfing, the winter months (November to February) are best. For hiking, snorkeling, and enjoying calmer beaches, the summer months (May to October) are ideal.

Is it difficult to find parking for my camper van in North Shore Oahu?

As North Shore Oahu is a popular tourist destination, parking can sometimes be challenging, especially in high season and near popular attractions. It’s best to arrive early in the day to secure a parking spot. Be sure to check local parking regulations to avoid fines.

So there you have it! You’re now ready to plan your hiking in North Shore, Oahu. Happy travels!

What’s your favorite trail or hidden gem when it comes to North Shore Oahu hikes, and what makes it special to you? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

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