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Koʻolau Range Tours

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Koʻolau Range
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.
Address: Oahu, Hawaii, USA
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9 Tours and Activities to Experience Koʻolau Range

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Circle Island Tour & Sunrise Photo Experience Day Trips

Circle Island Tour & Sunrise Photo Experience

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See Hawaii's best and most beautiful attractions during this incredible tour that's designed with the photographer in mind. Spend 10 hours navigating breathtaking landscapes, Hawaiian sunrise, navigating the picturesque coast of Oahu and seeking out green sea turtles. This tour allows travelers to stop often and ensures visitors leave having captured the best images of this iconic island.
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  • 10 hours
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  • 10 hours
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Oahu Grand Circle Tour with Snorkeling with the TurtlesDay Trips

Oahu Grand Circle Tour with Snorkeling with the Turtles

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Explore Oahu on this full-day minibus tour with a small group and a local guide. With your small group of 20 people or fewer, make plenty of stops at the island's highlights, including snorkeling with green sea turtles on the North Shore. See the Dole Plantation, the Halona Blowhole, Diamond Head, and Makapu’u Beach during this day-long outing. Round-trip transportation from Waikiki hotels is included.
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  • 9 hours
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US$130.99 
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  • 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Grand Circle Island Tour with Snorkeling with the TurtlesDay Trips

Grand Circle Island Tour with Snorkeling with the Turtles

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Circle most of the island of Oahu on a full-day tour by minibus limited to 20 passengers, a smaller group than typical island coach tours. With an informative guide, you’ll make about a dozen stops, including the chance to see Hawaiian green sea turtles in their natural habitat during an hour of snorkeling on Oahu’s North Shore. Get a comprehensive overview of top attractions such as Diamond Head, Makapu’u Beach, Halona Blowhole and the Dole Plantation. Hotel pickup and drop-off in Waikiki is included.
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  • 9 hours
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  • 9 hours
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Explore Kualoa Beach and Hike Chinaman's Hat (Oahu, Hawaii)Half-day Tours

Explore Kualoa Beach and Hike Chinaman's Hat (Oahu, Hawaii)

Explore historic Kualoa beach, held sacred among most Kahuna’s (Hawaiian elders). You can almost feel the ancient ones speaking as your local guide teaches the legends and history of the area. Swim just a short distance to Mokoli'i Island (Chinaman's Hat) and take a short hike to the top for breathtaking views of the shore and Kualoa Mountains.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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Beautiful Colors of Hawaii Photo TourDay Trips

Beautiful Colors of Hawaii Photo Tour

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Take postcard-worthy pictures of Hawaii on this half-day Oahu photography tour. Travel with a small group around the island and learn techniques from a professional photographer who serves as your guide. Capture popular sights with your camera, including Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole, the Nu‘uanu Pali lookout and more. Round-trip transport by minivan is included from Waikiki hotels.
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  • 6 hours
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  • 6 hours
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Full-day Circle Island Tour on OahuFull-day Tours

Full-day Circle Island Tour on Oahu

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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.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours
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Doors Off Valleys and Waterfall Explorer from Turtle BayLuxury Tours

Doors Off Valleys and Waterfall Explorer from Turtle Bay

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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!
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  • 1 hour 40 minutes
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  • 1 hour 40 minutes
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North Shore Adventure Helicopter Tour from Turtle Bay - Private TourPrivate Sightseeing Tours

North Shore Adventure Helicopter Tour from Turtle Bay - Private Tour

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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. 
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  • 20 minutes
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US$207.15 
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  • 20 minutes
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Helicopter Tour on Oahu: North Shore Sunset SpectacularHelicopter Tours

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!
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  • 40 minutes
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  • 40 minutes
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What's the best way to experience Koʻolau Range?

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