Hawaii is a hiker’s paradise. Once out in the wilderness on hiking trails, you find no shaved ice stand or mini-mart, only rare birds and lush terrain. If you’re looking for what to do in Hawaii, climbing a mountain is a great way to explore any city, and the islands of Hawaii offer numerous options, from family-friendly walks to strenuous treks for extreme athletes. Elevate your mind, body, and spirit by reaching new heights, with a trek up one of Hawaii’s most sought after peaks.
Mount Olomana (3 Peaks)
Olomana—its very name ignites a conversation between those who have braved the 4-mile trek up to the third peak. From a trailhead in the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club, a steadily ascending trail passes through pine-like ironwood trees, with resting spots to snag photos. The 1643-foot summit looks out over Oahu’s windward side toward the ocean and the neighboring island, Molokai. From here, you see the hiking trails leading toward the second and third peak, named Pakui and Ahiki. With every peak, the climb gets hairier and hairier. Summiting Ahiki makes you feel as if you just completed a multiday journey.
Located deep in the green valley of Manoa, this 6.3-mile out and back trail is one of six separate hiking trails found in the valley. You wend your way along the Waiakeakua stream under a canopy of 100-year-old trees. You pass by several small cascading falls and waist-high pools before you reach a massive waterfall. The rocks here are especially slippery, so you keep a firm grip on the rope as you start your ascension up the waterfall. This 50-foot ribbon-like waterfall is one of the most beautiful and untouched in all of Oahu, and is also what makes this one of Oahu’s most adventurous hikes.
Hawaii Loa Ridge Hike
Located at the top of one of the most lavish subdivisions on the island is a 2.6-mile trail that leads you to a stunning view. This moderate trail moves steadily along the ridgeline toward the Koolau Summit, passing through lush native Hawaiian uluhe ferns and ʻōhiʻa lehua trees before reaching several steep inclines near the end. The near-vertical climbing sections have ropes set up at three different sections of the trail that aid your ascension up the trail. It can get very tricky, but when you reach the top and take in the 360-degree views, it feels like it was all worth it.
For serious rope-climbers, look no further than the town of Mokuleia on Oahu’s northern shore. Mokuleia Crag’s main spot, called the “Main Wall” has more than 50 different climbing routes to take, all on a 95-foot band of volcanic basalt, or “blue rock.” As you drive through Kaʻena Point State Park, past Camp Erdman on Farrington Highway, you see the cliff bend from the road. You make sure to attach guide strings securely and wear proper footwear. To ascend the crown jewel of climbing, you join the Hawaii Climbing Coalition. The membership is free and promotes continued access to Hawaii’s climbing areas.
When you’re looking for what to do in Hawaii and have never experienced the thrill of rappelling, or want to descend cliffs and mountains with a rope and harness down a 50-foot waterfall in Hawaii, here’s your chance. At Rappel Maui, you experience a guided rappelling adventure in Puohokamoa Valley on Maui’s famed Hana coast. You feel safe knowing the manager, Dave Black, who has been teaching canyoneering, climbing, and guiding for almost 40 years, teaches you the ropes on this thrilling, exclusive look through breathtaking stretches of coastline.