Writing this review from a trail runner's perspective rather than a hiker. I had a great time running the north side Kaena point, it has lots of things to challenge you: Rolling hills, uneven rocky terrain, loose sand, hot scorching sun. I highly recommend running an hour before sunrise to beat the sun, otherwise you need to have sunscreen, shades, and a hat/visor to protect yourself. North side is definitely underrated.
If you do just the flat straight part, it pretty easy.
But be forewarned, it's a very hot hike.
If you find your way up the mountain to the old pillbox stuff, it can be worth it.
For some reason, all my mainlander friends want to take this hike.
My recommendation when to make this hike in the dead of winter when it gets below 90°.
I carry a travel umbrella to carry as a parasol on the way back as my brain slowly cooks.
If you have the wind to make it up the mountains, on a clear day you can see forever.
This is an all flat, very easy trail with mountain and ocean views, the end of the trail is the topping to your cupcake with a 90 degree view of Mokuleia and the coast of Waianae. It's easy, but go early in the morning or late evening cause it's hot
The trail is well maintained. It has awesome views of the Ocean. It is a great workout, however, be advise that there is no shade or water sources. It was hot and humid which is better to do this hike as early or late in order to avoid the direct heat. Once you hit the end of the trail there is a double gate. It is not lock. Open the first door, close it in order to open the second door. If you are lucky, you might see baby birds and seals!
For most of the reviewers, they are correct that the 3 miles out to the bird sanctuary can be hot and boring - if you take the main trail and don't do the pillbox hike. Ha, bet most didn't know this. Full trail review with pictures here: https://mrwordpressor.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/trekking-hawaii-kaena-point-trail/
In a gist, the first part gets you to the bird sanctuary which is a relaxing and scenic hike where part two is up the side of the mountain (3 points of contact at some points) where there is an aquaduct, two pillboxes and more room for ridge exploration if you so choose. This is the most exciting part and is a straight 600 ft up. Don't fail to check it out if you already walked the 3 miles out!
Ocean awesome, mountains excellent, crashing waves exciting, tide pools fun. Path easy, but does have bowling ball sized rocks for those who can't handle that. Drive out slow, drive back faster. No shade, water is definite. Birds, Dolphins, and a seal, on this trip.
great hike. It is very hot for you are in the direct sun but there are amazing views. We even got to see a turtle swimming in one of the tidal pools along the way. Only thing to be careful for is centipedes. They are supposed to be nocturnal yet we saw 7 go across the trail in one particular area in the late afternoon.
Boring if you love hiking! Okay for trail running really uneven terrain. Hot but nice distance in miles of work you can put in. I like the west side trail better then this if i'm comparing them. It was bleh for me. 2 stars because I could do over 5 miles round trip so it didn't make it feel like a complete waste haha. However I recommend for people who want to upgrade from Makapu'u Light house work out wise.
Nice hot walk! Good workout! Since you're not climbing a mountain it's good for putting in that exercise! Also you get an amazing relaxing view at the end! Where you can see monk seals and albatross. Sun is lethal out here lol! Bring h2o and sun protection. Be prepared to get darker! I like this route from the west side more then the north, it has nicer views and amazing beaches to swim at afterwards. Uploaded a wrong photo lol not Kaena pt actually upper Makua cave. Haha don't know how to delete it?!
I would rate this as easy. Took just over an hour to reach Ka'ena point. Saw families with young children making the trek. Better to go in the early morning or late afternoon. By 10am it was hot. The bird sanctuary and unobstructed view of the Pacific was worth it.