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Day Hikes in Hawaii


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My husband and I (German, 60 + Scottish, 56) are booked on the Pride of Hawaii on 11th December. We hope to do some day hikes on Hawaii :) and would like to know exactly where the ship docks on each island. Can anyone help with this information, please. Also, do we need a hire car to get to the hike starting points? We´d be grateful for any tips on especially good hikes from any of you who have actually done them (We have Robert Stone´s book of day hikes). Thanks!

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The only hike we've done is Diamond Head. It's about 7 or so miles from the pier, but can be reached by theBus. Since you're on the Pride of Hawaii, you would almost have to be doing a pre or post cruise stay on Oahu to do any hiking there. I'd say that a rental car is definitely your best bet as the piers are all located in towns or cities. On Maui, the pier is in Kahului. I would imagine the best hikes would either be on Haleakala or the Road to Hana, both of which would require a car. Keep in mind that the Road to Hana is a trip all by itself, one could easily spend more than one day doing it. On the Big Island, Hilo's pier is right on the edge of town. If you are considering Volcanoes National Park, it is 28 miles to the south so you definitely need a car. On the Kona side, don't really know any areas for hiking but once again the pier is located right next to the "main" street. On Kauai, the pier is in Nawiliwili, not much hiking there. I would think there would be some hiking over in the Canyon area, but that also would require a car, also I would think the Princeville area would be nice for hiking. Driving on the Islands is very easy, most if not all the major rental companies are available and usually run shuttles between their offices and the piers. Drive Guide maps are free at the offices and rates are pretty low. It's best to reserve a car in advance and that can easily be done on line, You do not have to give a credit card until you pick up the car. I know this isn't much so hope some of the "locals" chime in.

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Hi Dan and June,

Thanks for your help. It looks like there aren´t too many hilkers out there, so it was great to hear from you. I have taken your advice and hired a car at each port. That way we should be able to get to the scenic bits, put on our hiking gear and set off.


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Alas, I fear that many of them are like us. A hike for us is if we have to sit too far from the buffet table :) I have no room to talk. In 1988, we hiked Diamond Head for the first time, then tried it again in 2002. Sure seemed like it had gotten a lot higher as we made several rest stops that we didn't make on the first trip. Just remember that even in December, afternoons can get very warm. Hope you have a great trip, don't hesitate to come back to this board and let us know about your experiences.

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Yes, you should rent a car to get to the hikes.


On the Big Island, the VNP is a haven for day hikes. I'd recommend Kilauea Iki and the hike to Pu'u Huluhulu. If you're in for a long hike, go out to the actual lava entry into the ocean. you should consider this an all-day hike; do this first and then others if you have the time (and endurance!) afterwards. These are all superb hikes - not too difficult and outstanding and unique scenery.


Kauai has one of the most famous hikes in the world - the Kalalau trail. This is a multi-day trek. However, you can hike just a bit, a couple of miles in and out, to get a feel for its beauty. It starts at the end of the northern road at Ke'e Beach. There are also a lot of hikes in the Waimea Canyon area - I'd recommend taking a look at the Kauai Revealed guide for more on the various hikes in the canyon.


One hike that my family really enjoyed is just north of Kahului on Maui. It is Waihe'e Valley and is a couple of miles in and then back out. You cross swinging bridges (very Indiana Jones!) and end up at a vista of many distant waterfalls. A shorter hike to the Olivine Pools north of Kapalua is fun, but getting very crowded. There are hikes in Haleakala National Park, but for a day or two on Maui I wouldn't recommend them.


Hope this helps.

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Thanks a lot for this - it will certainly be a great help! A choice of 90 hikes in a book and only a matter of hours to accomplish one or the other of them on each island presents some challenges if you have no first hand experience of the region, so we are grateful for your input. And with a name like Sceptic, I guess your advice will be sound!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another lovely and fairly short hike (and free) is a ranger-led hike right at the entrance to Haleakala. It's quite lovely and very special since the only way you can hike it is on one of these. If it works in your schedule, I'd highly recommend it!




Here's a blurb from the Haleakala National Park's web site about it: http://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/guided-activities.htm


Waikamoi Cloud Forest Hike

Location: Hosmer Grove - Just inside park entrance.

Time: Monday and Thursday at 9:00 a.m. (staffing and weather permitting).

Reservation recommended.

Length: 3 hours, 3 miles, round trip.

Rating: Moderately strenuous.


Hike into the Nature Conservancy's Waikamoi Preserve. Here in windswept native cloud forests, native plants, birds, and invertebrates have woven an ecological fabric that supports some of the rarest and most beautiful of Earth's creatures. Once frequented only by those versed in proper protocol to enter the wao akua (realm of the gods), the preserve today is still off-limits except to those on special hikes led by the Nature Conservancy or park staff. Reservations are recommended. Make a reservation for the hike up to one week in advance by calling 808 572-4459. Show up at least 15 minutes early and be prepared with layered clothing, raingear, water and sturdy shoes.

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Thanks a lot for your help, Zelker :) ! This is exactly what we were looking for. Unfortunately, we plan to go snorkeling at Molokini on the Thursday our ship is in Maui - it´s the only day we can fit in the required early start, and I booked the tour only yesterday (Murphy´s Law!) after much hesitation about what to do when. That means we´ll have to be on Haleakala on Wednesday. However, the URL you gave was an excellent help, and we shall be sure to be at the visitors´centre as early as we can and ask about the activities going on that day. That still leaves the Road to Hana undone! (Sigh!)

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Well, you could forego a formal snorkeling trip to Molokini (in my opinion, highly overrated) - go hiking in the morning on Thursday and then head to the south Maui beach area afterwards where I'd be happy to turn you on to a place that has awesome snorkeling from the beach and is not widely known. :>) Then you could drive the long and winding road on Wednesday. Just a thought.




PS - we own a second home on Maui so feel free to ask questions

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Thanks so much for this advice. Since we are unlikely ever to be back on those islands, we certainly want to make the most of things. I had considered doing the organised snorkeling trip so that we wouldn´t have to bring our own equipment from Europe on the plane. We also thought we might see some humpbacks en route. But you almost convince me that we should go our own way rather than joining all those others on the many many boats which seem to go to Molokini at the same time. Is the other place you mention safe to snorkel at most times, or is it dependent on tides, wind etc.? We´d certainly love to do the ranger-guided hike at Haleakala. Do I also infer from what you say that you feel the road to Hana is something we should not miss?

If you don´t want to spell out your favourite beach without at least being asked for it individually, I´d be grateful if you would mail me at morven@dr-johnson.net Thanks again! - or should I say Mahalo nui loa!:)

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  • 2 weeks later...


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