8 Best Sunrise Hikes On Oahu: Complete Guide 2023

8 Best Sunrise Hikes On Oahu: Complete Guide 2023

This list is for you if you’re trying to find the best sunrise hikes on Oahu. I completed every one of these hikes because I reside in Oahu.

In Oahu, getting up early is simple, at least for the first few days, especially if you travel there from the Americas.

Your day will get off to a terrific start if you get up at 5 am, make a great cup of coffee, and go on one of these dawn hikes.

Here is a list of the top hikes on Oahu for breathtaking views of the sunrise and sunset. Let’s Start:

1. Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

Difficulty: Easy

The Makapu’u Lighthouse route is one of the most well-known hikes on Oahu to observe the dawn due to its ideal location and stunning ocean views. This hike is rated as easy because it is paved from the beginning to the end, with slight inclines.

In addition, there is a parking area just in front of the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail; however, get there early because it can get very busy.

One of the finest ways to see the dawn on the island is to hike to the top of the trail, where there are a few vantage points from which you can see Makapu’u Beach, Rabbit Island, and even Sandy Beach Park to your left.

Bring your cameras since this location on the island offers the best views of the sun rising once it appears on the horizon.

On the island of Oahu, Makapu’u Lighthouse is also a very well-liked location for whale watching because you can perhaps observe whales from the first lookout and the very top.

Tide pools can be seen near the bottom of Makapu’u from the very top; if you intend to descend there, take the necessary safety measures.

Read Also: 20 Best Things To Do In Oahu: Top-Rated Attractions 2023

2. Koko Head Trail

Koko Head Trail Oahu
Koko Head Trail Oahu

Difficulty: HardVery Hard

On Oahu, Koko Head Trail offers the best opportunities to see the dawn and sunset. Nothing is blocking your view of a stunning sunrise on a clear day or a perfect sunset in the evening since the top of Koko Head Crater is so far up.

Due to the extremely steep ascent and elevation gain of about 35% at the halfway point of the trail, which indicates that you are hiking nearly vertically, as well as the relatively wide spaces between the steps, Koko Head is rated as a hard-to very hard hike. It is crucial not to underestimate yourself and always to be ready for a steep hike like this one.

While challenging, the vistas you get at the summit make the hike worthy. Koko Head is a tranquil retreat to one of Oahu’s most well-liked sunrise hikes because it is devoid of traffic noise, busy sidewalks, or noisy beaches.

Make sure you pack lots of water, a flashlight, and one of our top Oahu sunset places if you intend to watch the sunset.

The Kahala Hotel and Resort, one of Oahu’s finest luxury hotels, may be seen from the hike’s summit. Secluded and legendary in the islands.

3. Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail is an accessible hiking route that circles Hanauma Bay’s crescent ridge. From here, you may look down on the bay and witness a spectacular dawn over the Pacific Ocean directly in front of you.

Because there are few incline changes and the terrain is largely level, this hike is considered simple. If you prefer to bring your dog along, this hike is ideal for families with young children and animals.

Instead of the other walks on our list, the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail is only 1.5 miles long, so you don’t need to pack a tonne of hiking equipment.

Hold on to your hats because Hanauma Bay Ridge is sometimes renowned for having strong winds. You can see the top of Diamond Head and a stunning panorama of the surroundings at the trail’s end.

4. Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Ka’iwa Ridge Trail)

Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Ka’iwa Ridge Trail)
Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Ka’iwa Ridge Trail)

Difficulty: Moderate

When choosing an Oahu sunrise hike, you must go on the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, which is on the island’s eastern side. This walk is slightly more challenging than the others due to the slippery rocks, high gradient, and infrequent climbing. This hike is moderately difficult due to the wear and tear of hundreds of hikers traversing the path.

You must park in a residential area and hike up there to access the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. If you must park in a residential area, do so legally and with consideration for the residents.

Additionally, adhere to the designated trail and keep off of the private property.

The breathtaking views you receive once you reach the first pillbox are the main reason this trail is so well-known.

The pillbox provides the ideal vantage point for capturing the sunrise over Lanikai Beach. Due to the prolonged sun exposure, apply plenty of sunscreens when undertaking this hike.

There are other pillboxes you can hike to, but the first one has the best sights and views of Kaneohe Bay and Kailua Beach from the top of the trail.

Plan a stop in Kailua town before your climb to Lanikai Pillbox and spend some time exploring all the amazing restaurants and shops there.

One of our recommendations for breakfast in Kailua is Over Easy. They offer a fantastic menu with a breakfast that will prepare you for a day of hiking and taking in the sights of Oahu.

Also Read: 10 Best Marriott Hotels in San Francisco, USA 2023

5. Diamond Head Crater Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Diamond Head, one of the island’s most well-known craters, is frequently shown in tourism photos and postcards. There is a strong reason Diamond Head is so well-liked; it offers some of the island’s best panoramic views and is ideal for hikes at both sunset and sunrise.

Once you reach the summit, you can see Waikiki Beach and the south half of the island in all its glory. Spend some time unwinding down at the Diamond Head State Monument since there is where the climb begins.

Before starting the hike, hikers should be aware that there is an entrance fee of $5 for adults and $10 for cars; locals can enter for free with a valid ID. You may get the most recent schedule, closure details, and charge amounts on the official website.

Unlike other paths, Diamond Head includes stairwells, tunnels, and a rocky and flat landscape.

6. Makiki Neighborhood Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Looking for a hike that will wake you up in the morning? The Makiki Neighbourhood Trail is the ideal option for those looking to start their day early because it is only a 3.2-mile circle.

Despite some difficult sections, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Diamond Head and Honolulu city.

The route opens at 5:30 AM, so get an early start if you want to avoid the mob and do this hike during sunrise.

Additionally, remember to pack water; you’ll need it.

7. Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach Hiking Oahu
Sandy Beach Hiking Oahu

Difficulty: Easy

Sandy Beach Park is one of the best places to see the sunrise in Oahu. What’s best? It’s ideal for those lazy mornings because it doesn’t need hiking.

This beach offers breathtaking views of the sun rising above the crater’s edge and is located at the base of Koko Crater.

However, Sandy Beach is more than just a gorgeous face-its strong shore break puts it among the island’s most dangerous beaches. Surfing-related neck and back injuries are reported every year.

So come here to admire one of nature’s most breathtaking displays, but only up close!

8. Ala Moana Beach Park

Difficulty: Easy

Watching the sun rise over the water is something spectacular. Ala Moana Beach Park is the ideal place to be if you want to see the nicest sunrise in Oahu without having to hike.

You may enjoy breathtaking views of the sun rising over the lake from the park, which is tucked away in the Hawaii Kai residential area.

There are also lots of outdoor things to enjoy if you’re feeling energetic, including biking, strolling, paddling, and playing volleyball.

Ala Moana Beach Park is the ideal location, whether you’re searching for a serene place to watch the dawn or a lively place to get active.

Read Also: Marriott STARS and Luminous Programs: Detailed Guide 2023

What Should I Bring On An Oahu Sunset Hike?

AllTrails App: One of our best picks for hiking apps, which lets you view virtually every hike offered nearby. They also let you download tracks to your phone so that you can stay safe even without a reliable internet connection. 

Proper Hiking Shoes: Make sure your footwear has a decent grip and is comfortable enough to wear the entire hike. Because Whitin shoes are affordable and lightweight, I prefer to wear them. Additionally, their modest profile makes them simpler to pack for travel.

Extra pair of shoes: If the trail is muddy, it’s recommended to bring an extra pair of shoes to avoid getting your car’s floor dirty.

Reef-safe Sunscreen: Despite beginning your hike before sunrise, you will be exposed when you leave the route. Many walks are close to beaches; therefore, to conserve the ocean’s natural beauty, ensure the sunscreen you choose is reef safe. When selecting a reef-safe sunscreen, I like Sun Bum products.

Insect repellent: Always be prepared when going on a trek because mosquitoes may be rather inconvenient. As DEET has been known to disrupt delicate ecosystems like this one, be sure it is DEET-free.

Water + Snacks: Whenever you intend to go hiking, bring a lot of water and snacks. My pre-made Instacart snack list includes some of my favorites: salty and sweet but not particularly nutritious.

Fully charged phone: Make sure your phone is completely charged before sunrise so you can record films and snap pictures, as well as in case of an emergency.

Headlamp/Flashlight: It can be quite dark outside in the morning or evening, so it’s always a good idea to have a headlamp and be safe. The flashlight on your phone can also be used, but remember that it will use your battery more quickly.

Sunrise Hikes in Oahu: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to hike before sunrise?

Yes. In general, Oahu is quite secure. Always be mindful of your surroundings, and take the essential safety steps like alerting someone where you’re going and hiking with a friend. It will be dark as you begin your hike, so pack a flashlight. Ensure you don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle to avoid automobile break-ins.

Why is hiking at sunrise popular?

Sunrise hikes are popular because they allow you to enjoy Hawaii’s gorgeous weather, see unusual wildlife behaviours and landscapes, and accomplish many tasks without being bothered by other people.

Additionally, it’s among the greatest times of day to snap photos. So step outside and capture the perfect golden hour picture!

What time should I leave for the sunrise hike?

Depending on the day and season you visit Oahu, this will change. The best course of action is to check the predicted sunrise time and estimate the time based on your travel time and the hike length to the sunrise viewing location.

You can check this website to know when the sun will rise.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to get there and enjoy your journey because sunrise hikes usually begin early in the morning.

Once I reach the top, I always give myself an extra 15 to 20 minutes to unwind and take the peace before the sun rises.

As a result, I can take in the scenery of the hike and take better photos.

Also Read: Can I Refund My Travel Fund? – Complete Guide 2023

Conclusion: Top Sunrise Hikes on Oahu

So there you have it; Koko Head, Lanikai Pillbox, and Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail top our list of the best dawn hikes in Oahu. Additionally, Kuoloa Beach Park and Sandy Beach are excellent places to see the sunrise.

Sunrise hikes are wonderful because you can see the sun rise over the horizon, which serves as a constant reminder of how vast the universe is and how marvellous life is. That not only feels special, but it also gives you the impression that you worked for it in the morning.

You won’t be let down by any of the choices on this list, whether you want to try all 8 or just one.

Thank you for reading our article. Aloha and happy hiking on Oahu till next time!


  • Sunrise Hikes Oahu
  • Best Sunrise Oahu
  • Makapu’u Sunrise Hike
  • Lanikai Pillbox Hike Sunrise
  • Diamond Head Sunrise Hike
  • Best Sunset Hikes Oahu
  • Makapu’u Tom Tom Trail
  • Koko Head Sunrise Hike

8 Best Sunrise Hikes On Oahu: Complete Guide 2023

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