5 Locations on Oahu to Walk or Run


Aubree Campbell

The entrance gate of Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe is a popular area for pictures.

One of the critical components of maintaining an exercise routine is finding some joy in doing it. I thoroughly enjoy a good walk or run but can’t fully appreciate the experience when stuck on a treadmill and staring at a wall. There is not much to see, nor do I feel accomplished due to remaining in the same spot. In addition, discovering stable routes and areas for a walk or run holds many difficulties. One must ensure adequate space on the sidewalk, keep in mind the driving cars and other individuals, and finding beautiful and worthwhile scenery without climbing the side of a mountain for it.

We are fortunate to reside on the island of Oahu, and there are a few safe routes and locations that may pique your interest.

Valley of the Temple Cemetery (Kaneohe): Running in the cemetery is not the most obvious choice, but it is practical. The Valley of the Temple’s hours of operation are from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Thus, cars are not allowed entrance past 4:30 p.m., but walkers and runners are welcome until dusk. Ample parking is also available near the guard shack at the opening of the cemetery. While it may be a cemetery, visitors receive 1.5 miles of scenery, such as the Koolau mountain range, the elaborate burial designs and the Byodo-In Temple at the back of the estate.

Lagoon Drive (Honolulu): The walk along Lagoon Drive is near the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and stretches a length of about 2 miles. Visitors can find parking off the side of the street or at the end of Lagoon Drive. While on this route, one will have the airport bustle on one side and the ocean on the other. Lagoon Drive showcases a broad view of Diamond Head, the buildings of downtown and nearby smaller islands. I strongly recommend walking this route in the morning when the sun rises behind the mountain range.

Makapuu Lighthouse (Hawaii Kai): The lighthouse hike offers 2 miles of steady incline. While some may consider this a hike, the entirety of the walk is a paved road, and the directions are relatively straightforward. The journey toward the top offers scenery of the ocean and Hawaii Kai, while the peak of the hike provides a view of Makapuu Beach and the smaller islands off the coast of Oahu. Parking is a gamble due to the popularity of the walk, yet the most convenient time for available parking is in the early evening. Visitors do have the option to park off Kalanianaole highway, but be cautious of the cars driving past.

Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island (Honolulu): One lap around Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island accounts for 3 miles. The route is best for late afternoon and evening walks or runs due to the sunset scenery and parking availability. Magic Island has a large parking lot and visitors can find additional parking off the road going through Ala Moana Beach Park. There is ample sidewalk space and the park takes on a peaceful atmosphere when the sky burns a plethora of oranges, pinks and purples. After an exercise session, sit on the beach and watch the setting sun.

Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens (Kaneohe): Located on the windward side of Oahu, Hoomaluhia offers a distance of 6 miles. With a length of 3 miles in and 3 miles out, visitors can view various native and local plants alongside the road. Parking does prove to be an issue due to visitors having to park in the Kaneohe community near the gate. Hoomaluhia closes its gates to vehicles at 4 p.m., and the garden officially closes at 6 p.m. Thus, walkers and runners earn two hours of vehicle-free time. The botanical garden is well-known for the palm tree road backdrop, but please ask for permission prior to taking pictures.