The hiking trails on Oahu are truly unparalleled when it comes to beauty. Plus, there’s a little something for every type of hiker. If you’re a dog owner, you’re in luck! Oahu has an amazing assortment of dog friendly hikes. If you have an outdoorsy dog, the two of you can get out and enjoy the beauty of the island together.
On Oahu, there are so many hikes; some with lush forested trails full of tropical plants, some with cliff trails with sweeping vistas, and some trails that really have a little bit of everything. At Keri Nakahashi Photography, we have the pleasure of visiting these hikes for pet photoshoots. So we’ve got the inside scoop and are ready to share our favorite hikes… plus our top tips!
Itching to lace up those hiking shoes? Here’s a list of the 9 best dog friendly hikes on Oahu.
Dog Friendly Hikes on Oahu
The Manoa Falls trail is a fairly easy 1.6 mile (one way) trail that leads to the gorgeous Manoa Falls waterfall. This is one of the most popular trails on the island, surrounded by lush greenery that provides a little shade on a hot day. If you are a beginner, have a dog with little legs, or need an easier trail to walk, then this one is perfect for you. The trail can get muddy, so keep an eye out. And it’s always a good idea to protect yourself from the mosquitos that also enjoy the trail.
If you’re looking for a longer hike with some seriously stunning views, then head out for the ‘Aiea Loop Trail. This trail is a 7.9 mile loop that offers views of Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head. The trail has an incline, but the slope is fairly gentle, so if you and your dog are still hiking novices, you should be fine. The trail can get slippery after a rain, so be prepared for some mud. As you meander through, you will be shaded by the tree canopy on parts of this trail, but don’t forget sunscreen because those rays still peek through. And if your dog has a pink nose, you’ll want to protect that as well.
This is a beautiful shaded trail that, at just over 1 mile, is easy breezy for a trail walk… or even a trail run. The ‘Ualaka’a trail intersects with other trail systems at several points. Bring a trail map if you are interested in expanding your hike and exploring other trails. ‘Ualaka’a is a great area for bird watching as well as walking, so keep an eye open and you might see some interesting birds. Make sure you have good control of your dog as there may be hunting dogs in the area.
If you want to see one of the most stunning views on the planet, then head up the 2.5 mile trail to Makapu’u Lighthouse Lookout. This trail is considered easy, but if you or your dog have problems walking up an incline, you’ll want to take this one slowly. Once you reach the top, the view makes everything worth it. This trail is open year round, so be sure to visit it when the whales make their annual migration.
Some More Dog Friendly Hikes On Oahu
This is another gorgeous forested trail. If you want to feel like you have entered the forest primeval and are far away from civilization, then this trail is perfect. Covered in dense vegetation and trees dripping in vines, you’ll forget you’re just minutes away from Waikiki. Even though it feels dense and remote, this trail is an easy walk, and the total loop is only 2.5 miles. The trail is easy, but watch your step, there are rocks and tree roots that can trip you up if you aren’t careful.
Travel through the bamboo forest and up to the beautiful Lulumahu Falls, a more than 50 foot waterfall. This is a short hike, but it does require a reservation as it is on private property. Looking for an adventure? This is it! This trail is tricky to find, and the trail itself is not maintained, so you’ll want to be extra careful as you explore with your dog.
Kuliouou is another popular trail! It’s located near Honolulu and is approximately 4.7 miles out-and-back. This is a moderately challenging trail and can be slippery and muddy, so make sure to come prepared. After all your hard work, you’ll be rewarded by the most stunning, sweeping views of Oahu’s lush greenery below you. It’s well worth it!
The Koko Crater Arch trail is a moderately challenging but short trek across lava rock and an old tramway. And it takes you to one of Oahu’s most iconic features… the Koko Crater Arch! The trail is a short 1.25 mile round trip, perfect for when you want to get in some activity but need to keep it brief. If you want to extend your hike, you can continue along the Koko Crater Rim Trail that it connects with near the arch. This trail is considered more challenging due to the slippery rocks and steep incline.
Looking for a more challenging hike? Check out Lanikai Pillbox, also known as the Kaiwa Ridge trail. This trail is elevated and has amazing views of the ocean. It’s only .8 mile one way, but be prepared for the inclines and loose rocks that make this trial a little more than a simple nature walk. But trust us, the views are worth it!
This is the most challenging trail on our list today. The Manana Ridge Trail will take you into the Ko’olau mountains. Come prepared with water and snacks because this trail is a lengthy 12 miles there and back if you are hoping to reach the summit. On a clear day, you can see both sides of the island from the summit, but even if you don’t, you and your dog will have had an amazing experience together conquering this trail. The views on the way to the top are also well worth the trip (and some pictures). Be aware that many parts of the trail are surrounded by dense vegetation, and this is a trail you may want to wear pants to traverse.
Inspired to get out there and explore beautiful Oahu with your dog? Here are a few tips before you visit these dog friendly hikes:
- Always consider your dog’s fitness level as well as your own when you decide on a trail.
- You can dehydrate quickly in the heat and humidity, so bring plenty of water for both you and your dog.
- Always take out what you bring in! This means dog poop, too! It’s important to keep the trails clean so everyone can enjoy them.
- Keep your dog on a leash for your safety and the safety of others on the trails.
- Want to make your hike extra special? Capture your dog’s outdoorsy nature and the beauty of Oahu by booking a photoshoot with us! Keri Nakahashi Photography specializes in capturing your dog in their true element.