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The tiny island territory of American Samoa is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is the only part of the United States located in the Southern Hemisphere, yet most people have never heard of this South Pacific gem. Because it is the best kept secret in the USA, you can experience all of its natural beauty without the crowds. One of the best ways to see this tropical paradise is by hiking through its lush rainforest or along the rocky shoreline. Here are the best hikes in American Samoa.
Blunt’s Point is one of our very favorite hikes on the island. Not only does it give you a bird’s-eye view of the harbor, but it also gives you the chance to get up close and personal with some World War II history. This is a moderate hike through the rainforest, so it is shady most of the time. It is a fun trail that your kids will enjoy. The entire hike will take you approximately 3 hours, but you can reach the WWII guns about 20 minutes into the hike. Sometimes, we only hike to the guns and then come back down. You can read more about this hike in my post on Blunt’s Point. The trail starts next to the IBM Laundromat between Faga’alu and Utulei on the main road.
For a completely different type of hike, check out the trek to Airport Beach. This trail will take you over lava rock along the shoreline. You will be entertained throughout the hike with the crashing waves, spouting blowholes, and scampering crabs. After about 30 minutes, you will reach Airport Beach, where you can swim and snorkel as you watch planes take off and land. Beware that there is zero shade along this trail, so be prepared. This hike starts just past Maliu Mai in Fogagogo.
The hike to Fogam’a Crater is such a hidden gem! The trail itself isn’t that remarkable, except the part where you walk through a taro plantation. What makes this one special is the end point. The trail stops at Fogama’a Crater, which is a secluded cove with a picture perfect beach that you can enjoy all by yourself! This hike takes about 30 minutes and is relatively easy. There is one spot where the incline gets a little steep about two-thirds of the way to the crater, but other than that it is mostly flat. Much of the trail is not shaded, but there is shade at the Crater. This beach is an excellent place to swim and relax, especially for families.
The hardest part about this hike is finding it. It is so hidden that we couldn’t find it on our own, even with directions. This is one where you want to get a local guide. To arrange one of the best guides on the island, contact Paula and Michael at touramericansamoa.com. If you decide to find it yourself, drive past the village of Vaitogi towards the Turtle and Shark Lodge. Just before getting to the lodge, take the last right. When the road becomes too bad to drive, ask for permission to park at one of the houses and continue on foot.
The tiny island of Aunu’u is located just off the eastern end of Tutuila, the main island in American Samoa. Aunu’u has been designated a National Natural Landmark and is breathtakingly beautiful, as are the views back towards Tutuila. You can hike the entire island is a couple of hours. Here, you can see everything from taro plantations and natural water wells to quicksand and more. Not only can you experience some amazing hiking, but you can also learn about the Samoan culture while on Aunu’u. Kids will love this adventure, but pack some snacks before heading out to keep little tummies from getting too hungry while hiking. The best way to experience Aunu’u is to contact Peter Taliva’a on Facebook to arrange a tour. To reach Aunu’u, you will need to take a 10-minute ferry from the boat dock in Au’asi.
Pola Island Trail
The Pola Island Trail is another one of the unique hikes in American Samoa. It is also the easiest hike you will ever find! It is only a tenth of a mile long and completely flat. So, everyone can participate in this one! It is also part of the National Park of American Samoa, one of the United States National Parks. After your short walk through the rainforest, you will emerge on the rocky shoreline with beautiful views in all directions. Stand on the shore for a few minutes and listen carefully. You will begin to hear the chatter of the “talking rocks” as they tumble back towards the ocean after the waves crash on them.
To reach this trail, drive to the village of Vatia and follow the road past the last house and into the rainforest. The road gets rough, so take it slow. Park in the small clearing where you see several National Park signs. Then finish the hike on foot to the coastline.
Lower Sauma Ridge Trail
As you drive to Vatia to hike the Pola Island Trail, stop at the lookout with the fale at the top of the mountain. This is where you will find the trail head to the Lower Sauma Ridge Trail. This short, easy hike is entirely in the rainforest and completely shaded. My son loves this hike. It is a great one for kids because it is a place where they can explore a little bit. It is also in the National Park. This trail has stairs carved into it in several places, making it easier to navigate. It is only about four tenths of a mile long, and ends with spectacular views of Pola Island and the Vatia Strait, a National Natural Landmark.
For a more challenging hike in American Samoa, try the Tuafanua Trail, also located in the village of Vatia. This 2.2 mile roundtrip hike is steep and has ladders and ropes in some spots. After the trek through the rainforest along many switchbacks, you will reach a hidden rocky beach with gorgeous views. My son hiked this with us at age 7 without any problems, but I wouldn’t recommend it for children younger than that unless they are experienced hikers due to the physically demanding nature of it. Also, beware that this is not a place to get in the water. There are dangerous currents and waves that crash down on rocks. You can find the start of this trail by looking for the sign just before Mount ‘Alava Elementary School.
Mount ‘Alava Trail
If you want to tackle one of the most challenging hikes in American Samoa, Mount ‘Alava is for you! It is 7 miles roundtrip through the National Park and rewards you with amazing panoramic views of the middle portions of Tutuila at the top. This hike is pretty steep trail that can be extra difficult when it is wet. A lot, but not all of this trail is shaded. You will find the trail head at Fagasa Pass in Pago Pago.
If you love hiking, American Samoa should be on your list of places to visit. This small island showcases some of the most beautiful hikes on the planet. Many of these hikes in American Samoa are great to do with kids. And most of the time, you will have the trails all to yourselves! For more information on visiting American Samoa, see our tips on visiting and things to do with kids. To learn the benefits of hiking with kids, see why you should go. If you need help planning your trip, leave a comment here or visit touramericansamoa.com. Happy travels!