Those who love getting on the trail to explore the natural beauty of Hawaii will find that there are many hiking opportunities on all of the islands. Trails have existed throughout the islands for many years. Many were created as access trails for the maintenance of high power lines, remote fresh water supply systems and other island interior facilities that make the islands habitable. Many of these access routes have transitioned from the function of public works to recreation and provide islanders and visitors the opportunity to explore numerous areas of the islands.
However, hiking in Hawaii requires the utmost caution. Many hikers who take to the trails in a cavalier fashion have returned with cuts, scrapes, and broken bones, while others have been stranded in cold, wet conditions while awaiting rescue crews. An unlucky few have even paid the ultimate price. The variable nature of weather conditions, as well as factors such as altitude, need to be taken into consideration.
Sufficient research and ample preparation should be made before hiking anywhere in Hawaii. If you are in doubt, we recommend contacting a local hiking guide who can guide you.
With so many trails in Hawaii, there is certainly something for everyone. Inexperienced hikers should choose from one of the many well-maintained trails. These include the Makap'uu Lighthouse and Diamond Head State Monument trails on Oahu, Wainapapa State Park on Maui, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and Koke’e State Park on Kauai.
The trails in these areas are well maintained, popular and have excellent marked maps available. In most cases, on-site State Park staff are available to assist with information on conditions, questions and necessary cautions. The key to a safe, and enjoyable day on Hawaii trails is to know your limitations, and do not ever hike beyond your ability.