Hiking Hawai’i: How to Keep Safe and Secure on Island Trails

Jaw dropping and heart stopping hiking views are a key part of Hawaii, from the destination hike Diamond Head, the grueling mountain top Stairways to Heaven, and the rainforest waterfalls of Makapu’u. And taking a mountain or beach trail should be a top destination point for your travel plans, otherwise, you will be missing out on once in a lifetime views, as well as impressive selfie spots for your Instagram. But each hike has its own dangers, and as travelers, we certainly don’t pay as much attention to the local news as we should. Just listen to the locals, who frequently complain about tourists flaunting the rules of safety and commonsense who then need airlift rescues off the mountains or a fireman’s lift off a cliffside!

This doesn’t mean you should not, it merely means be aware! If you want to hit the trails on your weekend getaway there are just a few pieces of advice to follow to make sure that you complete your adventure safely.

Hiking Hawai’i: How to Keep Safe and Secure on Island Trails Photo Gallery

Keep an eye out for any signs on the hike up that warn of rock falls or dangerous weather since these are the most likely issues to leave you stranded up a mountain or falling off a cliff side.
Brush up on your Hiking Safety information for the state! This brochure includes the best tips for emergencies and handling troublesome weather, as well as the emergency contacts for each island.
Obtain a trail map from the entrance of the trail or online (if online, consider using a VPN to maintain online safety. Tourists are the main target of online phishing and hacking scams in all popular destinations) to keep yourself on the safest route for your skill level.

Never hike alone. Most hotels offer a concierge service that can arrange a set up with other patrons or tour groups to take you on the more welcoming hikes. Nothing is worse than being stranded on a volcano top.

Stay hydrated. While it may seem hard troublesome to carry an extra bottle and energy bar up with you, any experienced hiker will tell you those tiny things can be the difference between making it back down the trail and having to carry someone to the nearest medic checkpoint.

Double-check your decisions! While commonsense is abundant at home, for some reason when traveling it’s not uncommon to leave some of that behind.

Climbing a tree on a hike in a tropical storm, trying to surf a riptide between coral reefs, cliff diving before checking the depth of the water. All of these are real reasons that people have ended up in the hospital in Hawai’i. So if you plan something, just take a second and think, “would this be a terrible idea at home?” If not, go for it!

If you successfully complete the basic hikes with this advice and want to try more intense trails, check out other favorite nature spots and activities here.

The Hawaiian Islands are a beautiful and unending opportunity to appreciate nature, so make sure to also be respectful of the land and the people living there!

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