Hiking in Hawaii is one of our favorite things to do on the weekends. Hiking with kids is not exactly stress-free, but we still try to get out and about once every few weeks. Hiking with kids in Hawaii is so much fun, and it’s incredible to watch their eyes light up as they discover new things! In addition to beautiful beaches, the best hikes on Oahu are only just a short drive away. Whether you’re looking for coastal trails, waterfalls, or just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, there is a hiking trail in Hawaii that will be perfect for you. Today I’m sharing our experience hiking the Aiea Loop Trail, a scenic and kid friendly hike on Oahu that is not far from downtown Honolulu. Read on for more!
Hiking in Hawaii: Aiea Loop Trail
I had always heard about the Aiea Loop Trail but I wasn’t exactly sure where it was. Turns out it’s located up in the mountains just a stone’s throw away from Honolulu and a 30 minute drive from our house. It is a 4.8 mile loop trail that is relatively flat, with moderate elevation changes (until you get to the very end, where you have a pretty big hill to climb). The first thing that hits you when you start is the intoxicating scent of lemon eucalyptus. The smell is heavenly for the first mile or two because of all the eucalyptus trees! If you closed your eyes you’d almost think you were in a spa. I didn’t even know eucalyptus trees grew here!
When we started the hike we weren’t entirely sure if we would do the whole thing. Jack was on foot and Caroline was in the Osprey hiking carrier and things were going smoothly. Truthfully we didn’t think it all the way through and should have brought the Ergo in case both kids needed to be carried at the same time. Jack made it about half of the hike, but after 2.5 miles of walking he was ready to be carried. He’s only 3 so we were really proud of how far he made it! By that point we’d gone so far that we had to continue, which made the rest of the hike a bit challenging. I ended up having to carry Caroline in my arms so that Jack could ride in the Osprey. What I finally did was rig up my own makeshift sling using my jacket and backpack so that I didn’t have to support all of her weight with my arms. It wasn’t ideal but it definitely helped! Needless to say I was ready to be done by the end of it! Oh and if you hike with toddlers you’ve got to get an Osprey child carrier. We love ours so much and it works for both kids, even our 40 pound giant 3 year old.
If you’re going to attempt this with kids under 5 years old, you definitely want to make sure you turn around before going too far, or have a way to carry them if you want to do the whole hike. We won’t make this mistake again and will always bring a secondary carrier from now on.
One great thing about this trail is that it’s mostly shaded. If you need a reprieve from the sunshine this is a great hike to do. It was nice and cool and had some really beautiful overlooks. There were massive trees and different vegetation than what you see down by the ocean, and it truly was a wonderful way to spend the morning. I had been feeling like I needed to get away from concrete and people and all the noise of daily life, so hiking the Aiea Loop Trail was exactly what I needed.
Oh, another good thing about this hike is that there are no real drop offs, so it’s definitely less nerve wracking than many hikes in Hawaii. Also, it wasn’t muddy at all when we did it (except for the very end). Not sure if that’s the norm, but it was a nice surprise!
Have you ever hiked on Oahu? What is your favorite trail? I have a few more hiking blog posts lined up, so stay tuned for our recap of hiking to the waterfall in Waimea Valley and for our most recent hike, Ka’ena Point from the West Side of the island.