The 8 best hikes on Oahu to see the sunset / Hawaii

sunset hikes on oahu

There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset. The colors are always breathtaking, and it’s a perfect way to end a day. If you’re looking for the best hikes on Oahu to watch the sunset, look no further! These sunset hikes will provide you with amazing views and a memorable experience. So grab your friends or loved ones and head to one of these spots for some sunset magic.

Important information

If you are planning on hiking to see a breathtaking sunset, ensure you have the proper equipment for a night hike. You need to have adequately prepared for your hike before commencing.

Equipment you should take includes:

  • Torch or headlamp
  • Backpack with plenty of water and food
  • Warm clothes
  • Hiking poles

Make sure you’re wearing decent walking shoes too. And pro tip: tell someone where you are going and when you are expected to return.

Table of Contents

Best Sunset Hikes on Oahu

Watching the sunset from a great vantage point is an incredible experience. The changing colours of the sky as the sun slowly sinks towards the horizon makes for beautiful viewing. Then the stars start to shine, and the whole experience is one you’ll never forget.

Below is a list of the best places for your Oahu sunset hike. You’re sure to find magic at any one of these locations.

Lanikai Pillbox Trail

The Lanikai Pillbox trail hike is the first of the pillbox hikes in this article. The pillbox structures were built during WW2, both as defensive measures and as observational locations. As these are strategic observational locations, this is why the pillbox hikes are some of the best spots to see amazing sunsets.

The Lanikai pillbox trail is also known as the Kaiwa Ridge Trail. It is a great place for an easy hike with large rolling grass hills and amazing views. In addition to great sunsets, this trail provides a stunning sunrise hike because it looks over the small islands of Moku Nui and Moku Iki. The best time of year to hike is in the summer months as the days are longer and you have more time to walk. But be wary as it is much hotter, so make sure you bring water and snacks.

The first pillbox you get to takes about 30 minutes. After that, it is approximately another 10-15 minutes to reach the peak where the second pillbox is located. The entire round trip takes about 1-2 hours, depending on how long you stay at the top to enjoy the views.

There are two trailheads for this hike. One of the trailheads is located near Lanikai Beach. There is plenty of free parking in the residential neighborhood, but park legally and not in anyone’s way.

The hike is excellent for all ages and levels of fitness. It is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

hike the lanikai pillbox trail

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

The Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail hike is a great way to get out and enjoy the beauty of Hawaii. The trail is only about two miles long as a round trip. While it is only a short hike, it offers stunning views of the ocean and the nearby island of Molokai.

The trailhead is located at the end of Kalanianaole Highway, and the hike takes about an hour to complete. If you drive here, there is a parking lot for you to leave your vehicle.

This is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists, so the trail can get busy at times. However, it shouldn’t stop you from coming here and enjoying the great view along the way.

While on the trail, you’ll pass by the Makapu’u Beach shoreline, as well as a number of tide pools that are perfect for exploring. While you may not get to see the sun slip under the horizon from here, it is still a great spot to see the light fading and the fairy lights of nearby urban areas.

The highlight of the hike is definitely the Makapu’u Lighthouse, which offers incredible views of the island of Oahu. If you’re looking for a short but sweet hike with amazing views, the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is definitely worth checking out.

Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail hike at sunset

Kaena Point Trail

The Kaena Point trail is on the west side of Oahu. It is a beautiful hike that offers stunning views of the ocean. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, making it a great option for hikers of all levels.

This hike is approximately 5 miles for the round trip, depending on which trailhead to commence at. You can either start at Yokohama Bay on the west side of the island, or on the north side near Mokuleʻia Rock Beach. The time to complete this hike is longer than some of the other hikes, so bear this in mind if you choose this as a sunset hike.

The trail follows the coastline, regardless of which location you start from. Both sides have all the best that Mother Nature has to offer. In the winter months, you may even catch whales migrating. You can also see seals along this stretch of trail. If that’s not enough, at the end of the trail is a seabird sanctuary.

One of the best things about this hike is the wildlife you will encounter. Another best thing will be the uninterrupted view of the ocean when the sun sets. You’ll be able to watch the sun dip below the horizon.

Kaena Point Trail sunset hike

Diamond Head Summit Hike

One of the most popular hikes in Hawaii is the Diamond Head Summit Hike. The hike takes you to the top of Diamond Head, a volcanic crater that is now a state park. The summit offers amazing views of Honolulu and the surrounding area.

The hike is only about a mile long, but it can be challenging in places. There are some steep sections and stairs, but the views are worth the effort.

Unfortunately, the gates to the state park close at 6:00 pm. This means you won’t be able to experience a true sunset. However, you will still be able to see the sun get closer to the horizon and watch the shadows of the buildings and mountains grow long. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to leave the park on time.

Even if you can’t see a proper sunset from the Diamond Head summit, you will still get a gorgeous view over downtown Honolulu.

There is an admission fee to enter the park of $5 for general admission, and $10 per vehicle. Please make your reservation to visit this site through the official website.

The Diamond Head Summit Hike is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while enjoying the beauty of Hawaii.

diamond head hike at sunset

Olomana Three Peaks Hike

Olomana Three Peaks Hike is one of the most popular and difficult hiking trails on Oahu. The trailhead is located near Kailua and the hike can be done as a day hike or an overnight camping trip. The hike provides stunning views of the Windward Coast and the Pacific Ocean.

The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow. However, there are some steep sections and the trail can be slippery when wet. Please be careful if you are completing this hike.

The trail is of varying distances depending on which peak you are hiking to. The total distance is around 5 miles round trip. The hike will take in excess of 5 hours depending on your fitness level.

The first peak, Olomana, is the highest point on the trail at 1,643 feet. The second peak, Puu Manamana, is 1,586 feet. The third peak, Puu Ka Ilihi, is 1,553 feet.

The hike takes you along the top of the ridge after the first peak. The terrain can be extremely difficult to navigate. Hikers should be aware that the descent from the third peak can be particularly challenging.

Overall, Olomana Three Peaks Hike is a great way to experience the beauty and ruggedness of Oahu.

Olomana three peaks hike

Koko Crater Railway Hike

The Koko Crater Railway Hike is a popular trail located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The railway was built here as a way to transport goods to the military station that was located here during WW2.

The Koko Crater hike is only a short drive from downtown Honolulu. There is parking close to the trailhead, and the hike doesn’t close, meaning you can hike in before sunrise and hike out after the sun sets.

The trail is approximately a 1.5 miles round trip and, at the top, features the best views of the city and surrounding mountains. It will take you at least 90 minutes to complete this hike, that’s assuming you need plenty of time to catch your breath at the top!

The hike is moderately difficult, with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet. While the trail is only short, it is very steep, so it will take a little bit longer to get to the top. However, the trail is well-maintained and there are several rest points along the way.

Make sure you are extra careful on your way down so you don’t trip and fall. The uneven surface can be difficult to get good foot placement, so be mindful of where you are stepping. Remember your torch or headlamp too!

The Koko Crater Railway Hike is a great option for those looking to see a beautiful sunset.

Koko Crater railway hike at sunset

Ehukai Pillbox Hike

The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is a popular hiking trail located in the north shore area of Oahu. The trail is named for the numerous World War II-era pillboxes that are dotting the landscape. This hike is also known as the Sunset Pillbox Hike as it offers the best sunset spots from the top.

The views from the second pillbox look out over Ehukai Beach and the Banzai pipeline area. You will see the best sunsets from here. This is one of the favorite places to see a sunset of the people visiting the north shore of Oahu.

The hike itself is relatively short at approximately 1.5 miles round trip, but it is considered to be moderately difficult due to the steep incline to reach the first pillbox. However, the views from the top are well worth the effort. The hike all up will take about 90 minutes and this includes stopping to watch the sunset.

On a clear day, visitors can see for miles in all directions. The Ehukai pillbox hike is a great way to experience the beauty of a Hawaiian sunset.

Nearby, is Sunset Beach which is aptly named because of the amazing sunset views. If you decide to watch the sunset from Sunset Beach, be sure to drop into Ted’s Bakery for a delicious burger to have for dinner.

Turtle Bay Pillbox Trail

The Turtle Bay Pillbox Trail is located in north Oahu near the Turtle Bay Resort. Turtle Bay Resort has over 12 miles of trails for you to explore.

The Turtle Bay Pillbox hike is only a short distance of 2 miles round trip from the resort. At this short distance, it won’t take long until you reach the pillbox. From here you will see incredible sunset views across the bay.

This is an easy walk as the ground is flat, however, it is sandy. This is the perfect location to watch the ocean views and sunset from.

Turtle Bay sunset hike Oahu

More sunset locations

If you aren’t the hiking type, you may be more interested in the following list of the best places where you can see the sunset on Oahu. No preparation is needed, just pick the perfect spot, settle in and watch the sky turn amazing colors.

China Walls

China Walls is a location near Hanauma Bay. It is a place for some extreme action as people like to jump off the cliffs and swim in the ocean.

However, it is also a beautiful place to watch the sunset as you can see across the western skies. China Walls is conveniently located near downtown Honolulu which makes it a great spot to go to.

This location may be prone to large waves and dangerous surf conditions, so if you do go in the water, make sure you can swim well. With rough and large waves, the location may not be inviting. Of course, this doesn’t happen all the time, but as you’ll be on cliffside rocks, it is important to be safe.

With that said, this is still one of the best ways to see the sunset in this area.

Tantalus Lookout

Tantalus Lookout is one of the best places to take in the breathtaking views of Honolulu and the surrounding area. Located on the slopes of Mount Tantalus, the lookout provides panoramic views of downtown Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, and Diamond Head.

On a clear day, you can even see Molokai and Lanai in the distance. The best time to visit is early morning or late afternoon when the light is softer and the colors are more vibrant. However, even at night the view from Tantalus Lookout is simply breathtaking. Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy a romantic sunset or take in the city lights, Tantalus Lookout is definitely worth a visit.

Waikiki Beach

As the sun sets over Waikiki’s sandy beach, the sky transforms into a beautiful canvas of orange and red. The waves crash against the shore, and the gently swaying palm trees provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable sunset.

Waikiki Beach is an amazing sunset beach. You will be spoiled with a beautiful view as the sun starts to set.

Visitors to Waikiki Beach can enjoy a front-row seat to nature’s spectacular show every evening. Whether you’re strolling along the beach or relaxing on a lounge chair, watching the sunset is the perfect way to end a day in paradise.

Sunset from Waikiki Beach

Ala Moana Beach Park

Ala Moana Beach Park is not simply another one of many beautiful beaches on Oahu. Oh no, it is one of the best beaches because it is a regional park offering a lagoon, beach, and soft green grass. The beach park also has picnic sites and facilities, making it the best way to have a beach day.

As the sun sets over Ala Moana Beach Park, the sky turns beautiful shades of varying colors. The palm trees and gentle waves provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic evening stroll or a relaxing sunset picnic. The beach park offers a great vantage point to watch the sun dip below the horizon.

The sand is soft and powdery, and the water is warm and inviting. Whether you’re watching the sunset from the comfort of your beach chair or taking a dip in the refreshing ocean waters, Ala Moana Beach Park is the perfect place to enjoy a Hawaiian sunset.

sunset from ala moana beach park

Sunset cruise

There’s something special about watching the sunset from the deck of a boat. Perhaps it’s the gentle rocking of the waves or the way the light seems to dance on the water. Whatever the reason, a sunset cruise is a truly magical experience. And nowhere is that more true than in Oahu, Hawaii.

As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky erupts in a blaze of color, creating a stunning backdrop for an evening of Hawaiian music and dance. So if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable way to end your day, be sure to book a sunset cruise in Oahu. You won’t regret it.

Ala Wai Boat Harbor sunset cruise

Final thoughts

Oahu is a beautiful island with plenty of natural attractions to explore. Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy a romantic sunset or take in the city lights, Oahu has something special to offer everyone. With so many amazing places to see, it’s hard to pick just one favorite spot. However, if we had to choose, our top three places to watch the sunset on Oahu would be Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park, and Shark’s Cove. So grab your beach chair and head on over to one of these stunning locations to enjoy a Hawaiian sunset. Mahalo!

Waikiki sunset

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The best sunset hikes Oahu