Stock photo of two people hiking

Hiking in the Hawaiian Islands offers residents and visitors many opportunities to experience a unique natural environment. Known throughout the world for a wide variety of ecosystems, trails in Hawaii can take you to coastal dunes, shrublands, rainforests, and high alpine deserts. Certain historic trails provide a glimpse of the cultural heritage of Hawaii as they traverse past historic and archeological sites. Isolated by over 2,000 miles from the nearest landmass, native Hawaiian flora and fauna evolved into highly specialized species and some endemic species found nowhere else in the world.

Please remember -- when you are hiking on trails in Hawaii, you are a guest in the home of our forest creatures and Hawaiian ancestors. Please treat these areas with respect. Read and follow any official informational or directional signage that may be posted along the trail to ensure that you are not walking onto sacred sites or areas of ecological restoration.

Visit https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/hiking/hiking-in-hawaii/ for more information.

Trails on Army Installations

There are two trails on Army installations, and one requires a letter of permission.

  • Kolekole Trail: The Kolekole Trail is located at the end of Trimble Road on Schofield Barracks, is approximately a half a mile each way (the trail ends at a bench and scenic overlook), and is considered a moderate/medium trail as it is quite steep in some areas. The trail is open on select dates during non-live-fire days, to Department of Defense/military ID cardholders and visitors. Dates are known approximately one to two weeks prior. No advance permission is required.
  • Schofield-Waikane Trail: The Schofield-Waikane Trail begins on part of East Range, at the end of California Avenue in Wahiawa. The trail is a 14-mile round-trip graded ridge hike with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet. The trail is suitable for intermediate and expert hikers. This trail is accessible on weekends from sunrise to sunset, with a letter of permission. For more information on requesting access, click the "Requesting Access" tab above.

The following trails are completely or partially on Army installations and are closed to the public due to troop movements/training:

  • Kalena
  • Kanehoa-Hapapa
  • Pu'u Hapapa (from the bench at the end of the Kolekole Hiking Trail to the first peak)

Approval is not required to access the following trails because they do not cross Army installations:

  • Kaunala
  • Pupukea Summit
  • Wahiawa Hills

Requesting Access

To obtain permission to access the Schofield-Waikane Trail, send a letter to the Directorate of Public Works’ Real Property Office. Your letter must be signed and forwarded to the Real Property Office a minimum of 10 business days prior to the date you request to hike.

Requests can be mailed to:

USAG Hawaii Directorate of Public Works
Attn: Real Property Office – Hiking Request
947 Wright Avenue
Schofield Barracks, HI 96857-5013

Your request letter must include the following information:

  1. Date of your requested hike;
  2. Number of people in your party;
  3. First and last names of all participants; and
  4. Your email address and phone number.

Upon receipt and approval of your request, you will receive a letter of approval via email with specific information regarding installation access procedures and other relevant information. A printed copy of this letter must be carried with you while you are conducting your hike. Please note, your letter of approval will be provided via email only.

For more information, please call (808) 656-3259.

Hiking Safety

The following tips are courtesy of the Hawaii State Parks system. For a listing of trails open to the public and other resources, visit www.hawaiistateparks.org/hiking/.

  • Inform Others of Your Plans: Let someone know which trail (name and location) you plan to hike on, and when you expect to return. If something should go wrong, rescuers will have accurate information on where to start searching.
  • Hike With a Partner: Don’t hike alone. Frequently, people who get into trouble are alone. In case of an emergency, your partner’s help can be invaluable.
  • Get Information About the Trail: Learn about the trail so you will know the route, where to start, and degree of difficulty.
  • Assess Your Capabilities: Compare your level of fitness, ability, and experience with the trail description. Be practical and realistic. There are a wide variety of trails in Hawaii, so pick one that suits your level.
  • Check Weather Conditions: Sunny and clear mornings are sometimes followed by rain and wind later in the day. Flash floods are dangerous possibilities in the narrow gulches. Check the National Weather Service for the latest forecast.
  • Wear Proper Clothing: Dress in layers so you can protect your skin from the intense tropical sun. A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended. Hiking boots offer traction and ankle support to prevent slipping and injuries on muddy trails and slick or sharp rocks. Light raingear is good to carry because of the quickly changing weather conditions.