Best Oahu Family Hikes with Kids | Poamoho Trail

The Best Hike on Oahu

Summer is here. Lychees gleam red from roadside stands and flowers are in bloom everywhere. With summer comes dry weather which makes the rough dirt road to the Poamo trailhead passable. It’s one of my favorite hikes on the island. Here’s why –

  • It’s a summit ridge trail – great views of the north shore and windward side.
  • It starts at high elevation, so there is no need to wade through endless stands of invasive guava and ironwood. Real Hawaii starts at the trailhead, native plants, birds, snails, all the good stuff.
  • Although it’s a bit long for kids (7 miles round trip), it’s a very gradual ascent, no steep scrambles like most summit hikes.
  • You need a permit for hiking. This extra step means you have the trail to yourself. Maybe a couple of other hikers, but that’s it. Very cool.

The only downside is that you need 4WD or at least you’re supposed to have it, DLNR doesn’t want to come tow you out if you get stuck. It may be a wee bit on the adventurous side as far as family activities go, but it’s worth it. Go make a friend with 4WD and get your hike on! The permits are free and easy to obtain (book a week in advance just to be safe). Learn more and grab your permit here.

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About The Hike

Most of the hike is easy going. The trail follows the ridgeline along a clearly marked path with periodic views of the adjacent valley and mountains ahead. That’s your destination. If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with the ohia bloom and you can enjoy the red, orange, and cream splashes of color along the way. Take care if you’re hiking with kids as there are steep drop-offs throughout.

For the final stretch, you will pass through a predator control fence. Here the trail narrows and sharp uluhe ferns grab roughly at your calves. Deep into the mountains, rain and fog are common and as a result, the path is reduced to a slick of hard, red dirt.

At the summit, you may luck out with sweeping views of the windward coast. Or you may be pummeled by wind and rain and test how far forward you can lean against the weather before falling. Eitehr way, it’s an impressive hike.

Looking for More Family Hikes with Kids on Oahu?

There is a gap after the kids are too big to carry, but not able to walk far enough on their own that long hikes like this one aren’t a good fit. If you need something shorter, try an easy loop trail in Nuuanu or a quick waterfall adventure in Kaneohe. For more ideas on family fun, sign up for the Little Bird Post below. I’ll send monthly inspiration to your inbox.


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