Top Adventures in Hawaii


Dan Mangum

Stairway to Heaven, although illegal, provides one of the best views of sunrise in the world.

By Dan Mangum, Staff Writer

Hawaii is filled with magnificent views, beautiful beaches, and mind-blowing hikes. However, most visitors don’t travel past the skyscrapers of Waikiki. If they are feeling adventurous consider Diamond Head Crater the hike of a lifetime. For those willing to branch out and adventure the outer edges of the islands they will stumble upon views that will make them feel as if they have left earth for an alternative universe. Included will be hikes and beaches from the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai that I have been fortunate enough to visit. Each one left a lasting impression on me for the unique beauty.

5. Sandy Beach (Oahu) 

Located on Oahu’s eastern coast is a body surfer’s paradise. Nicknamed neck break beach by locals as a result of the spine- crushing shore breaks that can result in serious injury if you are not careful. Upon arrival, there will be trucks blasting reggae music through their speakers, gorgeous women tanning in the Hawaiian sun and daredevils riding the epic waves. Only enter the water if you are in good swimming. However, even just hanging by the beach catching the sun and smiles from a distance can bring happiness to beach goers. Sandy’s is a unique experience for all. Just remember, if in doubt, don’t go out.

4. NaPali Coast (Kauai)

The NaPali Coast trail is 11 miles one-way filled with lush green forests, breathtaking waterfalls, and narrow ridges that will keep the most experienced hikers on the tips of their toes with a tingling sensation running through their veins as they take on the treacherous path. Luckily the hard work is more than worth it as the views hikers see plant lasting memories into their minds. As a subtle reminder its important to note that beauty often is associated with danger when exploring. Before descending on the trail it is important to take into account recent rainfall as the wetness can make the trail slick and dangerous to hike. However, if conditions are good the scenery is well worth it.

3. Hawaii Loa Ridge (Oahu)

This trail starts in the quite neighborhood of Hawaii Kai. Quickly after driving up a residential neighborhood with multimillion-dollar homes hikers will be at the trail start. From here adventure seekers navigate the sometimes-narrow ridge and experience just about every terrain imaginable. It’s as if being in the Sahara Dessert to being in the rainforest within a few steps. The view from the top is one that makes a lasting impression. Make sure to wear shoes and clothes that are good to get muddy. Lastly don’t make plans for later as it may take a few hours to complete. My favorite part of the trail involves navigating the side of the mountain using a rope as assisted traction. After that hikers will find themselves climbing up an old rusty staircase thousands of feet up into the mountains overlooking the eastern side of the island.

2.Road to Hana (Maui)

The Road to Hana is a must see for all who visit Maui. The long windy road with waterfalls, mountains, lava caves, and beaches to explore will leave explorers speechless. Black Sand Beach has sand formed from volcanic eruptions that creates a majestic scene while the waves crash on shore. Continuing past Hana on the back roads will take drivers into an alternative world that looks like Mars. My one recommendation would be to go with a tour group. Being the driver is a challenge, as it is hard to stay focused while wanting to look out the window every second while your eyes should be focused on the narrow, turn-filled road.

1. Stairway to Heaven (Oahu)

This illegal hike is home to one of the greatest views for sunrise in the entire world. The hike starts in a quite neighborhood in the early mornings while it is still dark out. For me, the adventure started at 4 a.m. Close to 4,000 steps later, a handful of fearful moments, and agonizing leg and joint pain, hikers will find themselves at the top of the world in clouds overlooking the island of Oahu as a new day gets started. On the trail way down hikers will become aware of the heights and distances conquered as the daylight makes the views visible and makes some people second guess going up there in the first place. The hike itself may be hell but it sure is worth it.