Common Sense Hiking

Click here for a PDF copy
See also Safe Hiking PDF 

Common Sense Hiking Hawaiian Style

If you don’t consider yourself an experienced hiker, this is for you.

  • Hiking is an exercise ranging from mild to strenuous depending on the terrain of the trail.
  • If you can’t walk 10 blocks in the city, hiking is not for you.
  • Trails are not sidewalks. You must pay attention to where your feet go.
  • Trails do not have street signs. Either stay with your guide or learn to carry and use a map.
  • Hawaiian volcanic rock can break easily. Be careful holding onto it.
  • Forests have bugs; it’s their home. If they “bug” you, bring and use insect repellent.
  • Forests often have rain; bring rain protection.
  • Forest floors are often muddy and uneven; wear shoes or boots with deep treads.
  • Ridges can get windy; bring a jacket or sweater.
  • Hiking can be hard exercise; you will get hot and sweaty; bring at least 2 quarts of water to drink.
  • Hiking is hungry work; bring a good lunch or snack.
  • Don’t hike alone – hike with a buddy or group for safety
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks. Be safe
  • Watch the weather – it can change fast.
  • Forests get dark fast. Keep track of time, allow enough to get out before dark.
  • Unexpected events can happen. Consider bringing these: (* essential items) in a day pack
    • Daypack with shoulder straps – it keeps your hands free.
    • One or two quarts of water. Soda pop is okay for lunch, but you still need one quart of water.
    • Nice lunch – sandwich, small bento, two spam musubi – your call
    • Rain/wind jacket
    • Insect repellent
    • First Aid Kit – Bandaids, tape, your medications,
    • Aspirin, Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
    • Something bright – yellow or orange shirt, bandanna, hat, etc.
    • *Cell phone – fully charged – to call for help
    • *Whistle – three blasts for help
    • *Small LED flashlight – for when it gets dark.
    • *Small knife
    • *Lighter for making fire
    • Watch
    • Compass
    • Warm shirt or fleece – for the “chillies”
    • One or two big plastic trash bags – for sitting and rain protection of your gear.
  • Leave a note with your family/friend telling them:
    • Where you’re going hiking
    • When you expect to return
    • What you’re wearing (type of clothes, color)
    • Who you’re going with
    • Your cell phone number
    • How you’re traveling (bus, car – license number, catch ride, etc.)
    • Who to call if you don’t get back in a reasonable time.

What you leave behind.

  • Note for your family or friend
  • MP3 player or iPod. You’re out to enjoy nature; don’t zone her out with your music.

Carry some ID and money; have a cuppa coffee or a cool drink after the hike. You’ve earned it!

Sounds like a lot? Nah, not really. After you’ve done it once, it all falls into place.


Oahu hiking and trail information links

The Na Ala Hele Trail Access Program of the Department of Land and Natural Resources of State of Hawaii (DLNR) maintains the public trails on Oahu. The website shows maps and information on the various trails including descriptions, special conditions and directions.

The State of Hawaii Department of Parks website shows park maps and information on hiking access.

The two major hiking clubs on Oahu are the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Corp (HTMC) and the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter. Both schedule hikes open to the public. Both hike on a weekly basis.

HTMC hikes every Sunday and every other Saturday. Approximately half of the hikes are open to the public; the rest are reserved for members only. A small donation is requested ($3.00) per hike.

The Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter also schedules weekly hikes. The website shows a calendar of upcoming hikes.

There are many other hiking related websites for Hawaii.  Stuck in the Woods is my personal website devoted principally to safer hiking and handling emergency situations.

The most popular hiking guide for Oahu is:  The Hikers Guide to Oahu by Stuart Ball, Jr. , a former president of HTMC. Many bookstores on Oahu carry it (Barnes & Noble, etc.).


Jim Yuen 2017