Hiking Oahu: North Shore’s Unique Kealia Trail

Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail

Hiking Kealia trail on the north shore of Oahu is a must do because it offers unique views with planes and gliders amongst an ocean backdrop. The trail itself is shaded and not too long plus it’s a dog and family friendly hike.

The hike is a series of switchbacks, meaning you’ll ascend the mountain in a zig-zag pattern. It’s about 2.5 miles until you reach the bench that was constructed by the Boy Scouts. That’s usually where we stop to eat a snack then head back down. But if you’re up for more of a challenge then there are dirt roads that lead further into the mountains.

I’ll be covering everything you need to know about Hiking Oahu’s Kealia Trail below.

Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. Kealia Trail sign

Hiking Oahu… Kealia Trail: What To Bring

  • At least one full Hydroflask (or large bottle of water) per person.
  • Comfortable hiking shoes.
  • Sunscreen SPF 30.
  • A cellphone for pictures and for emergencies.
  • Light snacks such as granola bars or nuts.
  • A bag to put everything in.


To get to this hike you’ll need a car. It’ll take you about an hour to reach the parking lot from town and there is free parking inside of the airport.

Kealia Trail: The Beginning.

You will start by heading down the dirt path across from the parking lot where you’ll see an abandoned plane and hanger.

Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. Abandoned Aircraft
Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. The dirt path

Follow the path until you reach the trail head.

Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. Trailhead

Kealia Trail: THE switchback.

You will traverse the mountain by switchback and it should take you about 45 minutes or less to reach the top.

Kealia Trail: ALong The Way.

There will be cool stopping points a long the way where you can spot bright colored birds, view planes landing and taking off and see the blue man made lake.

Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. Planes Landing
Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. Man Made Lake

Below, we spotted a White-Rumped Shama. This bird with an orange belly is found in any city area with vegetation. It’s known for its voice, and thrives in the Islands today thanks to Hui Manu, a group formed in the 1930s that brought the white-rumped shama to Oahu. It’s renowned in the bird markets of Singapore (credit to honolululu magazine)

Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. Native bird

Kealia Trail: The Top.

Ok, you may be a little underwhelmed with the view from the top but it’s still a nice area to relax, eat a snack, and take in everything. If you decide to go onward, you can expect the hike to be a lot more intense. There will be more sun and steeper terrain as you go through the dirt roads. I’ve never personally done the whole trail so I can’t say what it’s like.

KEALIA TRAIL: Some Things To Note.

  • From start to finish it should take you about an hour and a half.
  • Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.
  • The trail will be muddy after rain.
  • Mountain biking is allowed.

Hiking Oahu Kealia Trail. Me and Bandit

Thanks so much for visiting! This is a really great and unique experience that I hope you’ll enjoy with family and friends while hiking Oahu on the Kealia Trail. Please leave comments or questions below!