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Off-Road Adventures in Hanuama Bay Nature Preserve

Nature Preserve

This is the last piece in my three part series about the great places to explore in Oahu, Hawaii for running or hiking. If you would like to read more about the other featured places, check out the blogs on Diamond Head State Monument and Manoa Falls.

If you're looking for parking at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Oahu, Hawaii, and drive past the main lot, you'll run into another. When my family and I parked there, we went exploring over the little fence separating the parking lot. On this particular day, parking at Hanauma Bay was packed, so everyone went on to the second lot. I believe a lot of people who normally wouldn't see this scenic route got a chance to.

I've never seen waves so big in my life. Living in Chicago, I occasionally see big waves along Lake Shore Drive. I went to Mexico once and the waves were pretty big, but they weren't crashing against rocks like this. My brother kept saying that if anyone fell in, they'd die, because the waves would slam them against rocks. I didn't believe it at first, but watching the waves longer caused me to. Although these thoughts make it seem very dangerous, I would definitely recommend coming to see the waves and the rock formations. I climbed down the rocks to get closer to the ocean to take pictures. When I looked ahead of me, I saw a little girl with her parents. She had to be no more than two years old. We weren't that crazy, as everyone except my 16 year old sister was over 18.

The rock formations are huge and a great place to take pictures. My flexibility and climbing skills were definitely put to the test out here. I had to really stretch my legs in order to reach the next rock landing and climb down. I also think I got some muscle definition in my legs from this trip alone. If you're into rock climbing or hiking, you know there comes a point when you just have to jump. Jumping down and running fast (to keep yourself from falling on your own feet) happened quite a bit here.

Nature Preserve

If I wasn't there with a large group, this would be a great place to do some yoga. When you watch tranquil yoga videos, this is what the scenery is like. It's extremely calm with the ocean and the sound of waves hitting rocks. If you were brave enough, I'm sure you could do some type of running, though it would be a lot easier to hike. I saw high terrain trail runners in my trip to Hawaii at both Diamond Head State Monument and Manoa Falls. There weren't any I saw at Hanauma Bay, since it's definitely more of a hiking or mountain climbing experience.

I think the coolest aspect to Hanuama Bay was knowing a lot of people never explored this off-road place. I believe the actual nature preserve offers snorkeling

Are there any places you've explored to hike or run? Where would you recommend?


We have been told that this area in Hanuama Bay is now blocked off, and it is illegal to go down to where the waves are crashing. If you park your car in the parking lot, you can still get some great pictures from there.