As one of the most visually beautiful islands in the world, it would be a shame to visit Moorea without catching the most awe-inspiring views.
Use our guide to plan out your hiking adventures while visiting Moorea; these hiking trails will bring you to the best lookout points on the entire island.
How To Prepare For Hiking In Moorea
Hiking on Moorea is a lot different than hiking in other locations around the world. The tropical climate, humidity, and intense heat can affect even the most seasoned hiker or climber.
In order to prepare for your hiking adventures on Moorea, be sure to pack accordingly.
During our treks, there were certain things that we brought that we were forever thankful for.
Here are some things you MUST pack when hiking the trails of French Polynesia:
I learned the hard way that forgetting sunscreen while hiking in French Polynesia is a death wish.
Along with sunscreen, I highly recommend wearing a hat. This helped keep the sun off our faces and helped us stay hydrated longer.
Bring more water than you think you’ll need. For long hikes, be sure to bring a water bladder (at least 2L) or several large water bottles.
Keep your body fueled with healthy snacks.
Pick up some affordable snacks at UExpress or Super U. These two grocery stores are where we bought all of our food.
✔ Waterproof Bags
The weather on Moorea can be very unpredictable.
You may leave to go on your hike with clear blue skies and not a cloud in sight. Within 30 minutes that could all change.
Bringing waterproof bags will keep your electronics dry.
It typically rains once per day on Moorea, so pack a raincoat to keep yourself dry.
9 Best Moorea Hiking Trails
And now to the really important stuff.. the best hiking trails on the island.
Moorea has a plethora of exciting treks that will bring you to some of the most epic viewpoints.
Not only will you see the island from the best vantage points, but hiking is free. On this archipelago, free activities are hard to come by.
1. Mount Rotui
Distance: 5 miles out-and-back Elevation Gain: 2,950 feet Difficulty: Strenuous Location: Near the Hilton Moorea
The most incredible hike on the island of Moorea is Mount Rotui. This peak sits in the middle of Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay.
From the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of both bays and the surrounding reef.
Be aware that this hike is not for the faint of heart. In fact, I don’t know if “hike” is the right word to use for this trail.
Much of the trail will require climbing and scrambling. After you reach the halfway point, you’ll approach more exposed ridges.
Therefore, if you’re traveling with children or someone who has a fear of heights, you may want to choose a different trek.
How To Get To Mount Rotui
Getting to Mount Rotui was a challenge for us, so we’re hoping to make it a lot easier for you.
It is located near the Hilton, but on the opposite side of the road. The trailhead starts at the end of a driveway that serves several houses.
The map below will show you exactly where to go to find the Mount Rotui Trailhead.
Note: We recommend parking at the northern end of Ta’ahiamanu Beach and walking from there. There is free public parking on the side of the road.
As you’re walking from Ta’ahiamanu Beach toward the Hilton Resort, look for a driveway that has a large tree at the end of it.
There will be a sign that says “Rotui” in red (pictured below). This is the driveway you want to walk down to find the trailhead.
At the end of the driveway, follow the signs and markers.
The trail will be hard to follow at first. Follow the trail behind a house/shed.
Below, the picture shows where you’ll be walking behind the home. At that point, you’ll turn to walk up the hill. After this hill, you’ll quickly approach some woods and you’ll need to snake between branches until you find the path.
Once you find the path, it is relatively easy to follow, but remember, you’ll often be scrambling up boulders to reach the top of Rotui.
Map of Rotui Trailhead
Here is a map to the trailhead of Mount Rotui. It starts in a driveway that serves several houses.
The homeowners are okay with hikers using their driveway to reach the trailhead, which is why they have a sign posted to help navigate.
Know Before You Go
As I’ve mentioned, Rotui is one of the most difficult treks on the island of Moorea.
If you are not an experienced hiker or climber, this isn’t the trail for you. But if you are experienced and you’re ready for a fun challenge, head to the top of Rotui.
Watch Our Rotui Video On Youtube
2. Col Des 3 Pinus – Three Pines Pass
Distance: Approximately 2 miles out-and-back Elevation Gain: 500 feet Difficulty: Easy to moderate Location: Trailhead is located at Belvedere Lookout
Okay, so maybe a monster mountain like Rotui isn’t what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a fairly easy hike with awesome views of the island, Col Des 3 Pinus is the trail for you.
This hiking trail starts at Belvedere Lookout and makes its way to a beautiful vantage point overlooking both bays.
As an easy hike, we recommend this trail for families and those who want to have a relaxing walk to an awesome viewpoint.
Note: There is very little elevation gain, but there are a few uphills and downhills. But again, nothing too difficult.
Map of Col Des 3 Pinus Trailhead
Col Des 3 Pinus’ trailhead is located at the top of Belvedere Lookout. As you are approaching the parking lot for Belvedere Lookout in your car or on a motorbike, the trailhead will be on your left.
Follow the signs for Col Des 3 Pinus.
Know Before You Go
As with any hiking trail on Moorea, you’ll want to make sure that you’re equipped with sturdy shoes.
Thanks to its tropical weather and frequent rainstorms, muddy trails are typical. We brought and wore our hiking boots to keep from slipping.
3. Magic Mountain
Distance: 2 miles out-and-back Elevation Gain: 650 feet Difficulty: Moderate Location: West side of Opunohu Bay
Magic Mountain is an awesome lookout on the island of Moorea. Many tourists choose to take a tour to the top of this mountain, but we want to let you in on a little secret…
Hiking to the top is WAY better than driving!
Not only will you be able to choose your own schedule and go at your own pace, but you’ll be able to enjoy Magic Mountain by yourself.
We recommend this hike for anyone who is in decent physical condition. There are some hills that you need to tackle and the elevation gain can be difficult, but overall it’s a short hike.
Map of Magic Mountain Trailhead
The entrance to Magic Mountain is relatively easy to find if you have a GPS. Use the map below to navigate to the parking lot.
Know Before You Go
This is the only “hiking” trail on Moorea that requires a fee. It is $2 per person to enter.
You’ll pay the nice lady at the small outdoor restaurant near the parking area. If you don’t know where to go to pay the fee, it’s okay. She will stop you before you can continue.
4. Col Des Trois Cocotiers – Three Coconuts Pass
Distance: 4 miles out-and-back Elevation Gain: 900 feet Difficulty: Moderate Location: Trailhead is located at Belvedere Lookout
At the top of Belvedere Lookout, you’ll find many trailheads to different locations on the island.
This is where you’ll find Col Des 3 Pinus (mentioned above) and another awesome hike that goes by a similar name: Col Des 3 Cocotiers.
Col Des 3 Cocotiers will bring you up and over Opunohu Bay with amazing views of the bays, the coastline, Mount Rotui, and Mont Tiura.
Unlike Col Des 3 Pinus, this hiking trail is a bit more difficult. Families will still enjoy this trek, but be aware that it isn’t a simple stroll in the park.
Map of Col Des 3 Cocotiers Trailhead
As you approach the Belvedere Lookout parking area, the trailhead to Col Des 3 Cocotiers will be on your far right.
There will be another trailhead on the right side of the parking area, but you’ll want to take the one on the far right.
Know Before You Go
This was an especially slippery trail. Shoes with good grip are highly recommended.
In addition, you’ll be walking through a dense jungle. We loved the variety of flora and had so much fun exploring the trail and surrounding area on the way up.
5. Afareaitu Waterfalls
Distance: 1-mile out-and-back Elevation Gain: 525 feet Difficulty: Easy Location: East side of the island
Pack your swimsuit for this fun adventure. Not only will you get some hiking in, but you’ll love cooling off in the wading pools at the bottom of the waterfalls.
This is a family-friendly hiking trail as you’re only going about half a mile each way.
The Afareaitu trail features two waterfalls, so don’t forget to continue hiking up to the second waterfall, too.
Note: The trail to Afareaitu Waterfalls is rocky and can be slippery. Take caution when walking, especially if you’re traveling with young children.
The biggest waterfall is 100 feet high; it’s an absolutely gorgeous view and one of the best places on the island for a day trip and picnic.
Map of Afareaitu Waterfalls Trailhead
To get to the Afareaitu Waterfall trailhead, you’ll need a vehicle or motorbike that can handle rough terrain.
We stopped and parked just below the designated parking area because we couldn’t make it all the way up. It only added an extra 5 minutes to our walk, so it wasn’t bad at all.
The map and GPS location below will help you reach the waterfalls with ease.
Know Before You Go
Before we went to Afareaitu Waterfalls, we were warned to look out for street dogs during our drive-up.
You’ll be driving down a secluded road to get to this Moorea hiking trail. Lots of dogs live near this road.
Although most of the dogs on Moorea are nice, some become aggressive toward motorbikes and bicycles. We simply got off our bike and walked when we approached any dogs on this back road and it worked well.
Distance: 4.5 miles out-and-back Elevation Gain: 1900 feet Difficulty: Strenuous Location: East side of the island near Afareaitu Waterfalls
If you’re an experienced climber and you’re looking for a blood-pumping challenge, then Mou’aputa is the hiking trail for you.
This hiking trail rivals Rotui for being the most extreme on the island, but if you can make it, it’s well worth the effort.
Since you’ll be using rope and scaling exposed ridges, we do not recommend this trek for families with children or those with a fear of heights.
Plan for an entire day of hiking if you decide to conquer Mou’aputa while visiting Moorea. But, also plan for one of the most insane views you’ve ever witnessed.
Map of Mou’aputa Trailhead
The trailhead to Mou’aputa is near Afareaitu Waterfalls. Following the map below will bring you to where you need to be.
Take caution as you’re driving to the trailhead because the dirt road is very rough. A 4-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle would be best.
Know Before You Go
Many Moorea locals say that you’ll need a guide to complete the Mou’aputa hiking trail.
In our opinion, it can absolutely be done without a guide, but if you aren’t confident or you’re less experienced with dangerous ridges and cliffs, you may want to hire a local guide to take you.
IMPORTANT: It is absolutely vital that you do not attempt Mou’aputa after recent rainfall. Risking your life isn’t worth it.
7. Belvedere Lookout
Distance: Varies (Approximately 7 miles from the Opunohu cut off) Elevation Gain: 820 feet Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous Location: In the pocket of Opunohu Bay
Okay, okay, so this isn’t technically a marked “trail” but it is definitely a fun route to explore.
While most people drive to the top of Belvedere Lookout, we suggest parking at the bottom of the hill and taking the trails up to the top.
There are tons of dirt trails that take you through the forest to the top of the lookout point. These trails are typically used for the XTerra races that are hosted on the island, but they are also fun for leisure hiking!
Since this is a long trek, we don’t recommend this for families or those who aren’t in decent physical condition.
Map of Belvedere Lookout
After you turn off the main road along Opunohu Bay, you’ll be able to find several places to pull over and park. Park as close to Belvedere Lookout or as far away as you’d like.
Know Before You Go
The trail to the top of Belvedere Lookout isn’t well-defined or especially easy to find. But, the easiest way to find it is by walking along the road in the direction of Belvedere.
As you’re walking, pay attention to trails that lead off into the woods. Most of them will have XTerra signs. Follow those trails to the top!
8. Toatea Lookout Point
Distance: Varies (Approximately 1.2 miles roundtrip from Sofitel Resort) Elevation Gain: 200 feet Difficulty: Easy Location: Near Sofitel Resort and Temae Beach
If you’re looking for an easy walk with rewarding views, Toatea Lookout is your answer.
Again, most people drive to the top of Toatea Lookout for an epic view of Sofitel’s overwater bungalows below, but we found that walking to the top was even more fun.
Map of Toatea Trailhead
Similar to Belvedere Lookout, there isn’t a specific path to get to Toatea Lookout and you will need to walk along the road for a few minutes.
We suggest starting at the Sofitel and walking along their “secret” path toward Temae Beach. You’ll follow this path to a dirt road. The dirt road will lead you to the main road where you’ll walk up a hill to reach Toatea Lookout.
(Follow the gray trail on the map below, not the blue trail)
Know Before You Go
Again, this isn’t your typical Moorea hiking trail, but we found this to be a lot of fun and it was a good way to get some exercise and feed our ever-present desire to go hiking.
9. Vaiare to Paopao Hike
Distance: 7 miles Elevation Gain: 2150 feet Difficulty: Strenuous Location: Trailhead is located on the east side of the island in Vaiare
If you want to traverse the island then we suggest hiking from Vaiare to Paopao.
This hiking trail is one of Moorea’s finest. You’ll experience epic views, some sketchy sections of trail, and even some scrambling.
But, if you’re well-prepared for an adventure, this is the hiking trail for you.
Due to its distance and difficulty, we do not recommend this hike for children or inexperienced climbers.
Map of Vaiare To Paopao Hike Trailhead
You’ll start your hike on the east side of the island in an area called Vaiare. Use the map below to find the trailhead from there.
We strongly suggest doing this hike as a point-to-point hike: start in Vaiare and end in Paopao. Prepare a ride or call a taxi when you reach Cook’s Bay.
Know Before You Go
Pack more water than you think you’ll need. During your hike, you’ll be exposed to the hot sun. Dehydration can happen quickly. Be well-prepared with water and snacks.
When To Go Hiking In Moorea
Moorea is an awesome destination no matter the time of year.
Mike and I visited Moorea for two months during the rainy season and although it did rain a LOT, there was plenty of sunshine, too.
Plan your hiking adventures accordingly. It is best to go hiking on a day that didn’t see rain the day before. This will keep the trails from becoming ultra slippery.
In general, the best time to visit French Polynesia is during the dry season from May to the end of September.
How To Get Around Moorea
Getting around will be a challenge that you’ll need to overcome when planning your trip to French Polynesia.
We had a heck of a time finding affordable ways to explore the island. However, we have found some that are budget-friendly:
1. Rent A Car
Renting a car will be pricey, but if you aren’t on the island for a long time, this might be a good option for you.
There are several car rental companies on the island or you can rent a car in Tahiti and take it over to Moorea on the ferry.
2. Rent A Motorbike
Since we were on the island for two months, we wanted to find something affordable.
We rented a motorbike from Rent A Bike Moorea and we had no issues whatsoever. It cost us approximately $700 per month (again, that is affordable compared to renting a car).
3. Rent e-Bikes
Renting e-bikes was a fun activity for Mike and me. We had a blast riding around the island and it’s a great way to get from one place to another.
You can rent e-bikes from E-Bike Moorea. They are an awesome company and offer friendly service.
Keep in mind, the bikes will help you conquer hills and it’ll take over when you’re feeling tired, but you will have to do some pedaling.
The Wrap Up: 9 Moorea Hiking Trails
If you’re looking for some free fun on Moorea, you have to check out one of their many hiking trails.
The hiking trails on Moorea are going to be far different than the hiking trails you’re used to, but the views are out of this world.
Want To Be A Travel Blogger?
Mike and I have created, grown, and scaled our travel blog from the ground up and turned it into a thriving business that brings in over 6 figures per year.
Who knew travel blogs could be profitable, right?
If you’re curious to know more, grab our free guide below where we show you the 6 steps we took to scale our travel blog to where it is today.