If you are a runner, you’ve probably heard that Oahu is a relaxing place to run. With its scenic routes, beach views, and mountain ranges, it sounds like the perfect place to be. Do you know the best trails in Oahu to do your running exercises? If not, then this guide is for you.
1. Diamond Head
Skill Level: Easy
As one of the most popular running trails in Honolulu, the Diamond Head volcano boasts great views and an easy trail to run on, making it popular with both casual and pro runners.
During the run, you can see views of the beautiful ocean with surfers on it just below you, which is perfect for memorable photo ops. You can even see humpback whales if you visit at the right time of the year!
If you’re a person that prefers straight and flat trails, note that the elevation on this trail is slightly steep. The trail is about four miles long, which is pretty long for a run. Overall, the combination of popularity, ease, and views of the Diamond Head trail makes it one of the best options if you’re planning on running in Hawaii.
2. Waikiki Beach
Skill Level: Easy
Sun, sand, and salty breeze from the beach — nothing’s better than running under the clear blue skies of Hawaii while enjoying the view from any of their famous beaches. This running trail near Waikiki has a moderate length of five miles, which is perfect if you’re looking for good exercise.
There are times when the beach is really crowded though, so instead of running on sand, you can take an alternative route from Kapiolani Park to Kalakaua Avenue. Don’t worry — you’ll still have a pretty clear view of the beach and the Diamond Head volcano when using this particular route because it’s just beside the shoreline. Waikiki Beach is a go-to location if you’re looking for an all-in-one running experience.
3. Moanalua Valley Trail
Skill Level: Hard
Are you looking for a challenge? Do you want to be one with nature and battle its forces? Then the Moanalua Valley Trail is the perfect fit for you! Moanalua is known for its long trail stretching eight miles — the longest on this list. It offers an impressive experience, requiring you to navigate through the forest, passing bridges and streams along the way.
It’s an out-and-back trail, which is good if you want to start and end at the same point and avoid getting lost. It’s important to note, though, that the valley tends to get a lot of rain, so there’s a bit of a challenge of battling nature’s forces while trying not to slip from wet mud. You need to be pretty careful while running this trail. Bring a buddy if possible, so they’re there in case of an emergency.
4. Ka’ena Point
Skill Level: Easy
Ka’ena Point offers a wide trail road that parallels the coastline for the entire route. The views are pretty scenic too! You can easily see tidal pools, sand dunes, beautiful cliffs, and boulder beaches. If you come at the right time, you can also see humpback whales.
You can also choose to start the trail from the north, going to the west side of the island and vice-versa. The better choice for runners is the former. Ka’ena Point is also particularly a family-friendly trail since there’s no technicalities or slippery points like on Moanalua. You can bring your family, friends, and even your dogs.
If you want to get closer to the shore, you can look for some coves where you can descend the rock formations. You can also take a quick swim in one of the several calm water pools in the area. The trail is overall fairly short and simple, which is pretty good if you’re considering a chill run to end or start the day.
5. Ohana Trail
Skill Level: Moderate
If you have watched “Lilo and Stitch,” you’d probably know that Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind. This trail’s story is a bit connected to that concept because it was created by a group of mountain bikers way back in 2013.
They were looking for permanent access to a specific area (which is now Ohana Trail) for recreational purposes, and they needed permits and licenses. They called themselves OMBO — or Oahu Mountain Bike Ohana — and they achieved success through sheer dedication and hard work. They have been maintaining the trail with the help of the IMBA Trail Care Crew.
While the trail is primarily used for mountain biking, it is a good challenge for runners and hikers because of the elevation it offers. It is a point-to-point trail, with runners running from the north to the south, passing 21 switchbacks from the bottom to the top of Olomana Mountain. It descends to the White Fence area, which is the end of the trail.
Run to Your Heart’s Content
There’s certainly no doubt that Oahu is one of the best tourist destinations in the world with its mesmerizing views and amazing natural landmarks. With this comes numerous beautiful running trails to choose from. Whether your choice is an easy trail in the mountains, a moderate one on the shoreline, or a hard one in the forest, there are plenty of destinations to choose from. Almost any combination you can think of is present in this beautiful place. Tie up those shoes, bring some water and sunscreen, and start running today!