Koʻolau Range Tours

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Stretching from just behind Honolulu to Oahu’s Windward (eastern) coastline, the Ko’olau Range is not actually a mountain range at all. Instead, the undulating green and vertical slopes which top out at 3,100 feet, are just one side the ancient, massive Ko’olau shield volcano. The other half of the volcano collapsed into the ocean millennia ago. The Ko’olau Range acts as a wind block for points inland, stopping clouds along the coast and causing regular rains. But here, rain is a good thing: Residents and locals delight as the Ko’olau’s creased face fills with hundreds of thin white waterfalls and Hawaii’s iconic rainbows arch across the sky.

The best places to experience the grandeur of the Ko’olau Range are themselves elevated. The Pali Road, connecting Kailua to downtown Honolulu, winds up, into and, in some instances, through, the Ko’olaus via tunnels bored directly into the cliff face. Be sure to stop and take in the view from several scenic stop-offs along the way. The Likelike Highway and Interstate H-3 also run through the Ko’olau Range. The popular but family-friendly hike to Makapu’u Point overlooking a historic lighthouse, is recommended and from the top affords sweeping views of the Ko’olaus behind Waimanalo and heading north to Kaneohe Bay.

Practical Info

Several driving and helicopter tours take in Ko’olau Range scenery. Should you choose to get up close and personal with the Ko’olau Range via a hike, however, it’s important to note that several historically popular trails navigating the summit ridgeline—including Stairway to Heaven off the Pali and the Tom Tom Trail behind Waimanalo—are now considered dangerous and may be closed. Safer alternatives that still pack the scenic punch include the 1-mile roundtrip to the Pali Puka (hole), a wind-battered hole through a stone wall from the Pali Lookout, and the challenging 11.6 mile round trip hike on the Manana Trail following the Ko’olau ridgeline above the Pacific Palisades; the trailhead is off Komo Mai Drive.
Location
Address: Oahu, Hawaii, USA
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6 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Valley's and Waterfall Explorer: Helicopter Tour of Oahu’s Valley's and Waterfalls

Board a 4-passenger helicopter at Turtle Bay and fly with the doors off during a 40-minute aerial tour of Oahu’s North Shore. This open-door excursion takes your adventure to new heights while you soar along the northeastern coastline. Slip on your headset to listen to live commentary from a certified pilot who points out sights including Kahana Bay, Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach, the Ko‘olau Mountains, Sacred Falls and Kaneohe Bay. Upgrade for an additional scenic ridge landing — the perfect photo op!
  • Duration: 1 hour
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$269.00 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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$269.00 USD

Mokulua Islands Full-Day Guided Kayak Tour from Kailua Beach

Kayak with a master paddler from beautiful Kailua Beach to the volcanic Mokulua Islands in Kailua Bay. This 5-hour adventure takes you in a sit-on-top kayak through tranquil waters while you receive paddling tips and hear commentary from a trained naturalist. Learn about Hawaii's marine life and natural history, then have lunch on a sandy beach at Moku Nui. Here, you can hike, snorkel with green sea turtles, or play in the surf.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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$156.02 USD
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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$156.02 USD

Oahu Grand Circle Tour with Snorkeling from Waikiki via Bus

Explore Oahu on this full-day minibus tour with a small group and a local guide. With your small group of twenty people or less, make plenty of stops at the island's highlights, including an hour of snorkeling with green seat turtles on the North Shore. See the Dole Plantation, the Halona Blowhole, Diamond Head and Makapu’u Beach during this 9-hour outing. Round-trip transportation from Waikiki hotels is included.
  • Duration: 9 hours
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$124.00 USD
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  • Duration: 9 hours
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$124.00 USD

North Shore Adventure Helicopter Tour

Hop into a state-of-the-art helicopter for an aerial excursion over Oahu's North Shore. Your scenic tour of premier coastline and waterfalls takes off from Turtle Bay in the morning or afternoon. Hover above Kahana Bay and Waimea Bay, and see the surfer paradise of Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. A certified pilot points out sights like Sacred Falls and the Ko‘olau Mountains. 
  • Duration: 20 minutes
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$189.00 USD
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  • Duration: 20 minutes
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$189.00 USD

Full-day Circle Island Tour on Oahu

Circle the island of Oahu on this guided, full-day adventure from Waikiki. Discover the top sites and landscapes on the island and learn about Hawaiian history, culture, and the legends of Oahu along the way. Visit Diamond Head Lookout, the Kahala homes of the rich and famous, Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole Lookout, the beach in ‘From Here to Eternity’ and much more. Waikiki hotel pickup and drop-off from select locations included.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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$99.99 USD
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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$99.99 USD

Helicopter Tour on Oahu: North Shore Sunset Spectacular

Soar into the sunset on a 4-passenger helicopter flight over Oahu’s North Shore. This 30- to 40-minute aerial tour includes the option to fly with or without doors. Listen to informative commentary by a licensed pilot who points out the Ko‘olau Mountains, Haleiwa town and remote Ka'ena Point. Ready for an adrenaline rush? Upgrade to the doors-off option!
  • Duration: 40 minutes
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$289.00 USD
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  • Duration: 40 minutes
From
$289.00 USD


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