The Top Walking and Hiking Trails in Samoa
Discover verdant jungles, hidden lakes, mystifying caves and lava flows on the edge of the Pacific Ocean along the many walking trails of Samoa. From the family-friendly “Ma Tree” walk on Upolu to the epic multi-day mission up Mt Silisili on Savai’i, there are walks and hikes in Samoa to suit a range of fitness levels, timeframes, budgets and interests. We’ve listed all of your best rambling options here in this list of walks and hikes in Samoa!
1. O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park Coastal Walk (1-Hour Return)
Swap Samoa’s beaches for dramatic coastal cliffs on Upolu‘s Coastal Walk. Protected within the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, the one-hour return walk winds its way through lush pandanus forest before emerging on rocky lava cliffs. With the waves crashing below, seabirds occupying the horizon, and a number of coastal sea arches to uncover as you walk, this certainly is a special place to experience on foot. Speaking of, closed footwear is recommended. The trail is mostly flat, making it suitable for most fitness levels. Although the trail is very easy to follow independently, guided walks are available with Samoan Island Adventures and Manoa Tours for more natural and cultural insights.
Location: O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park on Upolu. Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua. Note that the 3 km (1.9 mi) road to get to the trail car park is a 4WD road but 2WD is usually Ok if taken with care. Otherwise, you can park at the information boards along the main road and walk to the Coastal Track, which makes the walk last a total of 2h30mins return.
2. Laauoleola Cave and Nature Walk (40+ Minutes Return)
The 15-minute one-way forest trail through mahogany, ifilele, teak, kava, eucalyptus and banyan trees is just the beginning… As you begin to approach the entrance of Laauoleola Cave, you’ll hear the unusual clicking of swiftlets as they move in and out of Savai’i‘s caves. Then, it’s up to you to decide how far you walk through the large lava tube that is said to span 5 km (3.1 mi) under the surface! It’s a short flat walk (with a few muddy patches) through the cave to the first descent, which the guides can organise a ladder should you want to continue – let them know you would like to do this before you begin the tour. The walk is fully (and casually) guided. The guide has a torch but you might want to also bring your own. Discover more awesome caves across the islands in the 10 Best Caves in Samoa.
Location: A’opo village, signposted off the main road on the northern coast of Savai’i.
3. Ma Tree Walk (15 Minutes One Way)
“Ma” meaning “shame”, the Ma Tree was named by the paramount chief of A’opo (a village on Savai’i but this walk in on Upolu) possibly due to the uniqueness of this tree compared to other rainforest species, such as its silver-brown patches under the leaves and its occurrence in solitary patches. Most notable of the O Le pupu Pu’e National Park‘s Ma Tree, however, are the giant buttress roots extending metres around its base. This family-friendly walk is only a 780-m (853-yard) walk from the well-established car park and information boards in the national park. For more family-friendly activities, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Samoa with Kids.
Location: O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, at the information boards (not the Visitor Centre) along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua villages on the south coast of Upolu.
4. Togitogiga Waterfall via Ma Tree (45 Minutes One Way)
There’s an easy way to the Togitogiga Waterfall (by parking at the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park Visitor Centre) or the long way, the latter being ideal for those looking to make the most out of the experience. After the Ma Tree walk (see above), head east on a rough 1.35 km (0.8-mi) trail through the rainforest to the Visitor Centre. The trail isn’t as well maintained as the Ma Tree walk, so is best for fit walkers who can keep close attention to the trail. From the Visitor Centre, it’s a 5-minute walk further to Togitogiga Waterfall; a free swimming spot! Note, however, that the waterfall is sometimes dried up, especially in the dry season. Either return the way you came or loop around via the main road. As one of the free waterfalls to access in Samoa, however, this easily makes it onto the 50 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Samoa.
Location: Start from the Ma Tree walk, O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, at the information boards (not the Visitor Centre) along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua villages on the south coast of Upolu.
5. Mt Silisili (2-3 Days Return)
Samoa’s highest mountain and a multi-day adventure, Mt Silisili provides an awesome adventure on Savai’i. As long as you have your own tent, food, jacket as it gets cooler as you go up in altitude, and any other gear you usually hike with, A’opo village can supply the guide. The trail encompasses plantations, the lush A’opo Conservation Area rainforest, and an impressive crater ridge with orange and white moss clinging to fragile lava rocks. Check out the 6 Best Walks & Hikes on Savai’i for the full track details.
Location: A’opo village on the north coast of Savai’i. Organise guides through the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.
6. Mt Matavanu (2-3 Hours Return)
For those looking for an interesting but less gruelling volcano to climb on Savai’i, try Mt Matavanu. Mt Matavanu can be found on the north coast and was the volcano responsible for the 1905-1911 eruptions that sent lava flowing 13 km (8 mi) along the coast. Organise a hike with a guide from the village of Safotu (or you’ll just pay your entry fee and be shown the easy road/trail to follow). You can either drive (20-25 minutes) or walk (2-3 hours) up the 4WD track to the summit, providing the opportunity to spot flying foxes and take in magnificent views of Savai’i’s western villages. With an affordable entry fee, this hike makes it onto the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Savai’i.
Location: Approximately 10 km (6 mi) inland from Safotu village on the road that passes through Paia. A 4WD is recommended for driving to the summit. Otherwise, guides can be hired for hiking via the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.
7. Tafua Crater (1 Hour Return)
On this 1-hour walk to the Tafua Crater on Savai’i, your guide from Safua Tours will endeavour to point out Samoa’s fascinating and rare wildlife, such as the manumea (tooth-billed pigeon) and flying foxes. The top of the crater provides awesome views of the surrounding coastline and villages. Bring acceptable walking shoes and binoculars if you have them. Check out more birding hotspots in the 5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Samoa.
Location: Tafua-tai village, Savai’i. From Maoto village on the main road, take the road to the coast which is approximately 6km (3.7 mi) to Tafua village. Guides are best hired via the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.
8. Robert Louis Stevenson Tomb Trail on Mt Vaea (30-45 Minutes or 50-60 Minutes One Way)
Accessed via Vailima Botanical Garden or the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum next door, the Robert Louis Stevenson Tomb Trail not only leads you to the tomb of the famous Scottish author on Mt Vaea but reveals both fairytale-like rainforest and outstanding views of Apia. There are two routes to choose from; the 30-minute rough and steep way or the 50-minute easier way that zigzags its way to the top. The latter passes by a magnificent banyan tree. Whichever you choose, good walking shoes are recommended.
Location: RLS Museum – Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia, Upolu. The walk can be found at a clearing in the forest between the Garden Toilets and the museum (you’ll see the sign for the Tomb Track). Vailima Botanical Garden – Instead of turning down the lane to the museum, continue straight until you reach an archway and sign for the gardens.
9. Falease’ela River Walk (4-6 Hours Loop)
Less of a “walk” than it is a canyoning expedition along the gorge with never-ending cascades of waterfalls, the Falease’ela River Walk is an epic excursion for the adventurous! Access this piece of river paradise with Olsen and the local boys from Lalotalie ECAT Ventures who will gladly take you through the gorge with each waterfall getting more grandiose (and higher) than the next! If you’re feeling brave, the boys can show you the best jumping spots – even as high as 20 m/66 ft (they’ll certainly be doing it) – but you’re in no way pressured to do the crazy if you prefer to swim and take in the rainforest scenery that is preserved as a conservation area. Oh, but you will get wet – soaked, in fact, so closed shoes that you don’t mind submerging in water, as well as a T-shirt and shorts that will get the same treatment, are recommended. For more guided walks, check out the 10 Best Guided Walks in Samoa.
Location: Falease’ela village in Lefaga Bay on the southwest coast of Upolu. Lalotalie ECAT Ventures’ base is beside the ford on Main South Coast Road.
10. Manono Island Walk (1h30mins Loop + 1h30mins Return to Mt Tulimanuiva)
With no cars on Manono Island, which sits just a 20-minute boat ride from the west coast of Upolu, a walking trail is just about the only way to weave between the villages circumventing the island, which incidentally is a pleasant way to experience the island. While the trail takes approximately 1h30mins to walk, you’ll want to make extra time to talk to the friendly locals you’re likely to meet along the way, as well as to stop at the Grave of 99 Stones, to swim at Apai Beach and even to take a side trip up Mt Tulimanuiva where an ancient star mound awaits on top. Allow an extra 1h30mins to 2 hours for this side trip. For more about the star mound and grave, check out the 15 Best Historical Sites in Samoa.
Location: Manono Island, accessed from Manono-uta village on the west coast of Upolu. See The Travel Guide to Manono: Things to Do, How to Get There & More to learn about how to get there.
11. Namu’a Island Summit (1-Hour Return)
On a tiny island off the shores of Upolu, hike to its summit for glorious views of the Aleipata Islands, lagoon and Upolu coastline. The Namu’a Island hiking trail to its peak takes approximately 1 hour through the jungle. Take the ferry from Mutiatele village with Namu’a Beach Fales and let your guide, likely Yeti, know that you want to walk to the top of the island and he’ll point you in the right direction.
Location: Namu’a Island, accessed from Mutiatele village on Main South Coast Road on the east coast of Upolu. For more information about getting there, check out The Travel Guide to Aleipata Islands: Nu’utele, Namu’a, Fanuatapa & Nu’uala.
12. Lake Lanoto’o (2-Hour Return)
A pea-green crater lake set in the Upolu highlands, Lake Lanoto’o is also known as the “Goldfish Lake” after, well, the goldfish that live in the lake. Getting to the lake is a worthwhile adventure for those who are fit and able, as there are often plenty of muddy patches to negotiate, as well as its fair share of uphill sections. Although it is possible to work through the trail yourself, we highly recommend using a guide, such as Samoan Island Adventures, Manoa Tours and Rainforest Runaway Ecotours to guarantee that you won’t get lost. Speaking of, long pants and closed footwear are recommended, as is your swimwear to change into.
Location: Lanoto’o Road, signposted along Cross Island Road approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) south of Apia, Upolu. A rough 4WD access road leads to the small parking area.
13. Mt Fiamoe (45 Minutes Return)
A great option to do before or after you’ve done the neighbouring Lake Lanoto’o Track, Mt Fiamoe offers better views across the northern and southern coasts of Upolu. From the top of the access road, you’ll climb 150 m (492 ft) high along a 1.5 km (0.9 mi) trail. Needless to say, it’s a hike for the fit who can stand going uphill in the Samoan heat. Nevertheless, the rewarding views from the top of the volcano make the exertion worth it.
Location: Mt Fiamoe Service Road, off Lanoto’o Road, signposted along Cross Island Road approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) south of Apia, Upolu.
14. Uafato Bird Hide Trail (50 Minutes Return)
One of the oldest geological areas in Samoa, the Uafato Conservation Area encompasses 2,500 ha (6,178 acres) of native forest containing some 380 species of plants and 19 species of birds, including Samoan’s national bird, the manumea. The best way to experience the area is to take the 4WD road to Uafato village where guides of the Uafato Bird Hide Trail can take you on a 25-minute one-way walk through the forest to a specially constructed bird hide elevated on a high ridge in the forest.
Location: Uafato village, approximately 13 km (8 mi) off Richardson Road on the east coast of Upolu. Note that the road is unsealed and a 4WD or a high-clearance vehicle is the most suitable for access. There is an information panel about the trail in the village with contact details for the hike (760 5200). Otherwise, ask at a fale near the sign to make arrangements.
15. Saleaula Lava Field (45 Minutes Return)
Discover the remnants of the destructive Mt Matavanua 1905-1911 eruption at the enchanting Saleaula Lava Field. It’s a short walk to the lava field’s most striking feature, the LMS Church which sits in ruins with a lava flow solidified right through its arching entrances. Walk approximately 300 m (328 yards) west following the sign and you’ll encounter the mysterious “Virgin’s Grave” where the lava flow is said to have avoided the grave of a young girl. Past the church ruins is an attractive wetland viewpoint, then head back on the trail and go northeast for approximately 900 m (984 yards) over an exposed lava flow to the striking lava cliffs. For more unmissable sights like this, check out Sightseeing in Samoa: Top 10 Sights in Samoa.
Location: Saleaula village, signposted off the main road on the northeast coast.
16. Vaisala Bay Loop Walk (20 Minutes Loop)
A concrete walkway along the clifftop and through the coastal forest of Vaisala Bay on Savai’i provides a pleasant and easy walk. Starting (and ending) in front of the Vaisala Hotel, the hotel maintains the trail and offers an option for lunch at their restaurant once you’ve worked up an appetite. Otherwise, ask if there’s an entry fee at reception if you’re just doing the walk. The beach is also a decent snorkelling spot, as listed in The Best Snorkelling in Savai’i: Top 8 Places to Snorkel.
Location: Vaisala, signposted down an access lane along the main road on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
More About Walks and Hikes in Samoa
That’s it for our list of walks and hikes in Samoa. For more hiking ideas across the islands of Samoa, check out the following guides:
Finally, complement your walks with the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.