7 Best Off Roading Oahu 4×4 Trails

Oahu, the “gathering place,” is the most populated island in Hawaii, bringing in many visitors every year. With its beautiful scenery, there’s no shortage of places to explore.

Oahu has lots to offer if you’re looking for some exciting off-road trails or even just some relaxing paths. Poamoho Ridge Trail can be a challenge, especially when it rains. Kaena Point is great for those looking for a more comfortable off-road experience.

Whether you want an adrenaline-pumping challenge or a peaceful break from the busy city life, check out our list for different preferences and skill levels. We cover some of the top 4×4 destinations, Jeep trails, and ATV tours Oahu offers.

Here are the 7 best off-roading trails in Oahu:

  1. Kuaokala Access Road
  2. Poamoho Ridge Trail
  3. Kaena Point via Farrington Highway
  4. Gunstock Ranch
  5. North Shore EcoTours
  6. Hawaii Jeep Tours
  7. Kualoa Ranch ATV & UTV Tour

Now, go ahead and learn all the essential information from those beautiful places.

7 Best Off Roading Oahu Trails

Oahu Jeep Off-Road Hawaii

1. Kuaokala Access Road

Spanning around 15 miles, the Kuaokala Access Road only has light traffic, which is a good thing for travelers who are craving peace and quiet. It’s a back trail in Waialua, a quieter community than Haleiwa. Waialua can be reached via Kaukonahua Road or Waialua Beach Road.

What can you expect from the Kuaokala Access Road? First off, it has a picturesque forest. It’s not one of the easiest off road trails Oahu provides, but it’s certainly not hard to travel there.

You can mountain bike, hike, or drive off-highway vehicles (OHVs). Your dog can even come, as long as they’re on a leash. The location is open the entire year, but it will require you to secure a permit before driving your vehicle there.

2. Poamoho Ridge Trail

Much shorter than the first location, the Poamoho Ridge Trail is approximately 6.5 miles. It’s also a back trail, but it’s located in Wahiawa, Honolulu County. Expect glorious views here since Wahiawa is between volcanic mountains. More importantly, it’s not very far from the highest peak on the island, Ka’ala.

Another great thing about Wahiawa is that despite the lack of lakes and other similar bodies of water in Hawaii, Wahiawa is almost surrounded by the Kaukonahua or Lake Wilson. You can get there by the Kamehameha Highway.

Poamoho Ridge Trail
Credit: oahuhike.com

More about the Poamoho trail, it has a river, which is one reason it’s difficult for most travelers. The constant raining can also keep some surfaces muddy. Another primary reason is some parts of this Oahu trail zigzagging with the danger of drop-offs. Still, it’s packed with activities in the safest sections, and most areas are dog-friendly as long as a leash is used.

Just remember to secure a permit first from Makiki’s Department of Forestry and Wildlife before using the road for four-wheel drives (4WDs) heading to the location’s trailhead.

Speaking of the trailhead, it can make your journey more memorable. It’s wide enough for hours of hiking. It also leads to a great forest and the view of Pu’u Ohulehule, the “pyramid mountain.”

Other views you can spot in the trailhead are the Poamoho stream and Punaluu, Kahana, and Kaawa as long as you’re standing in the right place (the grassy one that’s farther than Kline Memorial).

3. Kaena Point via Farrington Highway

Shorter than the previous trail, Kaena Point via Farrington Highway is almost five miles only. However, it’s still popular, proven by the frequent heavy traffic. Just like the first location, it’s also a back trail in Waialua.

Beginners and experienced drivers can handle this trail. But, it requires a permit as well before you can go off-roading. The consistently heavy traffic, unfortunately, ruined some habitats.

On the bright side, once you’re permitted to travel there, you might want to stay and explore the Kaena Point State Park forever because of the gorgeous flora and fauna (especially the monk seals when you go to the beach and the albatrosses) plus the never-ending activities. Don’t worry about your vehicle; many people visit this location, but the parking space is enormous.

Suppose you’re a casual hiker, good news! The Kaena Point trail is easy for all ages despite the lack of shade for hot days because of the absence of steep slopes.

Speaking of hot days, you should prepare carefully before the hike, making sure there are sunscreen and water in your bag. You must also wear breathable clothing or gear that can protect you from the sun.

Mountain bikers will also have a blast in the trail. You can even use a hybrid. Just make sure that the bike’s tires can handle different types of terrains.

4. Gunstock Ranch

Sometimes, it’s challenging to try individual Oahu off road trails because of the time and money spent if you’re not familiar with the whole island. You might go back and forth or travel to an area that’s farther than other decent trails. Consider heading to trail systems or places like the Gunstock Ranch.

Despite the obvious downsides like paying for the tour and the limited time, the guide can still maximize your experience in just a few hours because everything’s planned. With a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) and the knowledge of your tour guide, you can visit several mountain trails, popular filming locations, spots overlooking the ocean, and the Hidden Cave within 24 hours.

By traveling the mountain trails, you can reach the topmost part of the location to experience a relaxing lunch while enjoying the scenic views. And, when you finish the tour by dinnertime, you can enjoy a meal one more time while enjoying the sunset.

For a more meaningful time in the ranch, you should try the eco-tour. You get to experience tree-planting for sustainability.

5. North Shore EcoTours

If you’re willing to leave your vehicle behind to try a unique experience with an unusual 4×4 off-roader, we recommend a guided adventure with the North Shore EcoTours. While other similar locations are all about relaxation and enlightenment, this one aims for more exciting Oahu off roading.

The vehicle used in this place is guaranteed to handle the unpredictability of the Oahu terrain. Each passenger compartment is either partially or fully open so that you can see the mountains and different bodies of water.

Meanwhile, the ground clearance is much higher for bigger bumps and extremely rocky trails. The vehicle has a military-grade structure and design to endure the harshest conditions like steep slopes and muddy surfaces.

And the best part? The trail is going to be a long one. It spans 18.5 miles, hence the number of activities you can do. Families can enjoy wild fruits and the freshwater pool.

6. Hawaii Jeep Tours

If you want to do some Jeep Oahu off-roading without all the bells and whistles, you can choose to explore with the Hawaii Jeep Tours. Specifically using safari jeeps, the guided tour will go to lesser-known jeep trails Oahu has to offer where you’re more likely to see picturesque spots you can’t see from other locations.

The tour can last eight hours long if you want to explore the island. It’s perfect for friends or families looking to maximize their short vacation.

7. Kualoa Ranch ATV & UTV Tour (Oahu’s Jurassic Park Film Location)

We’ll never see actual dinosaurs, but the incredible locations in “Jurassic Park” are real. You can visit them if you try the Kualoa Ranch ATV & UTV Tour. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are mostly used to let the visitors really feel the Jurassic Park experience. So if you’re looking for some ATV Oahu trails, this is one to definitely check out.

The tour will focus on the Ka’a’awa Valley, where several miles of grassy land will make you feel like you’re in the movie. It is only a couple of hours, but you can enjoy everything with your loved ones because some vehicles can hold up to five passengers. Kids can take part in this unforgettable adventure while ATV riding in Hawaii.

Kualoa Ranch

How to Get an Oahu Off Road Permit

Surely you’ve noticed how some off roading trails in Oahu require a permit first. The activity is super-fun and all, but we can’t deny that it can be destructive if there are no limitations. Nature will always be a priority, and all adventurers must understand that.

The procedure depends on the location; however, we can give you an idea based on the requirements people must follow before off roading in Kaena Point.

In Honolulu, you’ll find the office of the Division of State Parks. You can get a permit there anytime during working hours. To make the process faster, learn everything you need to know from the official website before going to the office.

The permit can be used 24/7 unless there’s an emergency, and the park needs close.

Conclusion – 7 Best Off Roading Oahu Trails

So, where are the 7 best off-roading trails in Oahu? To summarize, here they are once again:

  1. Kuaokala Access Road
  2. Poamoho Ridge Trail
  3. Kaena Point via Farrington Highway
  4. Gunstock Ranch
  5. North Shore EcoTours
  6. Hawaii Jeep Tours
  7. Kualoa Ranch ATV & UTV Tour

Just don’t forget to secure a permit first, if necessary, before taking your off-road vehicle to the location. Have fun and enjoy these 4×4 trails Oahu offers.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

Recent Posts