Hawaii Hikes: Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail

Checking out Hanauma Bay is often on a visitor’s list of sites to see while on Oahu. What many might not realize is that there is a great hike just above, that offers an amazing downward view of the bay and gives you a pretty decent workout. Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail is one of my go-to hikes on the island. It offers varied terrain, unique landscape views and makes you sweat.

Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike
Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike

The last time we hiked this trail we brought along our rhodesian ridgeback. Although this trail is dog-friendly, make sure you feel comfortable with your dog’s fitness level. Our pup is pretty active, and even he was a bit sore after this hike. Although he is kind of a baby.

We park on Nawiliwili Street, which is a side street off of Kalanianaole, and walk a short distance towards Hanauma Bay. We then take a right up an access road towards the trail. You’ll see where you can cut through some tall grass to meet up with the paved portion of the hike. Its an easy incline up the ridge, you’ll see people of all ages hiking this part of the trail.

Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike Tall Grass  Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike Paved Portion

As you hike you’ll enjoy some amazing views from all sides. Koko Head Crater is behind you and Hanauma Bay is on the left. Oh, and more beautiful coastline can be found on the right.

Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike View
Koko Head and Bay View
Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike View
View to the right

So this is the easy part of the hike. The challenge comes when you trek down the ridge to the left. There are two main ways to make the decline. The first is a bit steeper then the second and I prefer to be hiking up a steeper part on the way back rather than down it. Here is an idea of the two options as well as where we park.

Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail Map
Where to park and decline options (Kaihuokapua’A for an easier decline)

Take your time walking down. The landscape here is very different from up above. It’s almost like you’ve landed on mars by the time you get to the bottom of the trail.

Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail
Bottom of trail, Mars?
Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike Bottom
Looking to the left
Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail
View towards the right

Not far from here is a spot thats known as the “Rock Bridge” Many people try to get a photo while standing on the rock bridge. I don’t really recommend it. People have been washed off of it by rogue waves.

Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail Rock Bridge
Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail Rock Bridge

The hike takes about 2 hours at an easy pace. Be sure to slather on the sunscreen because the hike is completely exposed. Bring lots of water and enjoy the raw beauty that is Hawaii.

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  1. Insanely beautiful! And yes, that TOTALLY looks like Mars! My hubby and I love hiking..unfortunately, we don’t have anything that pretty in Houston!

    – Kaitlin

  2. wow Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike looks wonderful! I am going to Hawaii in two month and I need to make a plan soon what to go! I would definitely consider this hike ! What a view!

  3. The view from this trail is breathtaking! Absolutely beautiful! This is definitely going in my bucket list for when I visit Hawaii 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a gorgeous hike! Hawaii is my second to last US state to visit, so this was super helpful for figuring out what I need to see when I finally go!

  5. Beautiful photos, sounds like a great hike. I visited Maui several years ago but sadly didn’t get any hiking in. I will keep this in mind for future travels.

  6. It looks like the most amazing place ever, I am so jealous! Your blog is really amazing by the way, you seem really lovely.. hopefully we can keep in touch, I love making new blog friends! x


    1. There are still so many things here I have yet to do! I hope to eventually gather my Hawaii posts into mini guides of the island. Cheers!

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