Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail (Kaiwi)

EASY 883 reviews

Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail (Kaiwi) is a 3.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Honolulu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
807 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

surfing

trail running

walking

beach

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

Great short uphill paved trail along sea cliffs to observation deck and lighthouse with fantastic views. Whole thing is paved, there's no shade so bring lots of water and go as soon as they open to beat the heat. Lots of lookouts for whales, you can climb down a path and get right next to the lighthouse. A parking area offers access to the trailhead. Follow the trail as it climbs up the western side of the ridge. Upon reaching the top of the ridge (about the halfway point), the trail switches back to the north, following the eastern side of the ridge. At this point it levels out somewhat, but still climbs gradually to the summit, where a pair of guard-railed lookouts offer panoramic vistas. To return, retrace your route. The Makapuu Point trail, within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, offers outstanding views of Oahus southeastern coastline, including Koko Head and Koko Crater. From the trails destination at Makapuu Head, one is rewarded with magnificent views of the windward coast and offshore islets, as well as the historic red-roofed Makapuu Lighthouse built in 1909, which makes a stunning picture against the deep blue sea below (the lighthouse itself is off-limits). On a clear day, you may even see Molokai and Lanai. The offshore islets are wildlife sanctuaries for Hawaiian seabirds, such as the iwa, frigate bird, and tropicbird. This trail is an excellent place to view migrating humpback whales in season (November-May). Binoculars are suggested for viewing the whales and seabirds. An interpretive sign and viewing scope along the trail help you view and identify the whales seen from this location. This portion of the island tends to be hot and dry as evidenced by the abundant panini cacti and low-growing kiawe. The trail is exposed and is usually sunny and hot, as well can be very windy at the summit. Hat, sunscreen, and water are recommended. Give yourself about 2 hours to enjoy this hike and the great views. Many run up and down this trail for a great workout!

hiking
1 day ago

This was an awesome one. I actually didn't finish the trail because I noticed people going down to some tidepools and the climb back up to the trail was intense once I was done down at the pools. It was absolutely worth it though. Watching 30ft waves crash on the rocks was just amazing. No shade on this trail. Parking sucks too. Still so worth it.

Great hike, paved all the way. Access to the tide pools is possible from just past the whale watching outpost however DO NOT TAKE BACK PACK KIDS OR THOSE TO SMALL TO CLIMB ON THEIR OWN!

hiking
4 days ago

This trail is paved and a nice gradual climb. I would definitely recommend it for sunrise (just like every other hike on this island). Great views at the end of the lighthouse and of the ocean, looking east.
I have more details on my entire Oahu itinerary on my travel blog [traveltrachs.com].
IG: @traveltrachs

hiking
5 days ago

Not an ounce of shade on this trail but worth it for a great view of the ocean and coast! Easy and paved!

6 days ago

Beautiful views!! Paved road the entire way, it’s exposed so it will be hot to walk on during the middle of the day.

Pretty views! Go early to avoid the hot sun and to grab a parking spot in the parking lot. I suggest sunrise because it is quite beautiful as the sun peaks over the lighthouse! Mostly uphill, but completely paved. Good workout first thing in the morning!

14 days ago

Hot but spectacular views.

hiking
17 days ago

Nice walk up and down the paved trail. The path is wide enough that it never got backed up for felt too congested with the amount of people that were there. Beautiful views the whole time. Had to park on the road when we arrived around 8:30am. Definitely a worth while hike!

21 days ago

5 stars, if your willing at the 3rd lookout point (with the telescope) to go down the side of the hill. There are some tide pools at the bottom of it and it is beautiful and awesome you can swim and they get deep. The ocean crashes against the sides pretty hard. So I wouldn’t advise getting to close to the edge. Me and my wife spent a good hour or so down there just hanging out and watching the fish in the pools. Didn’t finish the actual hike due to being smoked after the climb to and from the ride pools. Other than that it’s paved and easy. Crowded but fun. Parking does suck.

nature trips
23 days ago

First it's hard to find a parking in a day time . recommended earlier so it's not as hot and easier with parking. easy walk up and down. good views. families with kids ok

28 days ago

Awesome!!

1 month ago

Love this hike. great with dogs but give them breaks and water.

1 month ago

Awesome views and good for any skill. Drawback is very crowded and tourist trap.

1 month ago

Very easy, fully paved. Accessible all the way to the top with some stunning views.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike/walk. Extend it by walking the shore when you are done. As billed. You can park inside or outside the gate. Parking lot was mostly empty at 630am but the road was packed for the sunrisers.

1 month ago

Easy trail to walk up. Make sure to visit the pools if you feel adventurous.

hiking
1 month ago

6/10/2018-Started hiking with the group around 0715; parking lot wasn’t too full yet but easily passed 30+ groups/solo hikers on the route. We ended up trekking to Pele’s Chair too for some additional exercise which was pretty nice. The weather was pretty sunny with a strong breeze going so it wasn’t too hot.

1 month ago

Beautiful views of the island. This is a family friendly trail that is paved and can be done as a family. Be sure to bring lots of water as it can be a rather warm hike to the top.

hiking
1 month ago

I have been hiking this trail since 2005 For the locals who know where to go about half of this hike can be done off of the paved road. This provides some solitude from the huge volume of visitors that come here and hike it once. The trail is not hard but there is no relief from the sun so dress accordingly and bring water. In 2015 the paved road was redone and there are 6 lookout points including two at the top that overlook the active Makapu’u Lighthouse.

There is also a memorial to a PBY Aircraft that crashed into the side of Makapu’u on April 5, 1942 killing 9 aviators. I found the actual site of the crash @ 8 years ago and there is a considerable amount debris from the crash visible including the front landing gear strut. After a recent visit to the crash site 5 years after my last visit I saw many changes including overgrowth that will hide this site in a few years. I do not share the actual location of the crash site for obvious reasons.

There are some old military bunkers on the absolute top of Makapu’u that can he reached by numerous small trails. Unfortunately as with many places here in Hawaii there are at times to many people on this hike. Please respect that if you go to the top bunker it is close to collapsing. Please stay off of the roof of the top bunker unless you want to potentially lose your life if that fractured concrete finally decides to come down. Please also respect this place has a lot of meaning for those of us that live here. If you bring anything up the mountain, please bring it down! Respect the Aina and you will be rewarded with some of the best views in the world!

You can usually see the Island of Molokai from all observation points. Lanai is also frequently visible. On some really clear days you can see the top of Haleakula on Maui. A sign at one of the observation sites says that the high point behind Molokai is the West Maui Mountains. Don’t believe that sign. You are seeing the East Molokai Mountains which rise from the steepest coastal cliffs in the world to a peak of over 5,000’. Have been told on an exeptionally clear day you can see both Moana Kea & Mouna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. After 13+ years still waiting to see that!

Great place to see the Humpback Whales during season that runs from roughly November through April

hiking
1 month ago

Easy paved hike that can get steep at some points. Great views!

1 month ago

Very beautiful. Great family hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely stunning views! Great evening walk after dinner, and a great workout! Stroller friendly/baby wearing friendly. You could even spot some whales during the right season.

hiking
1 month ago

Great, easy hike for the whole family, with spectacular views. One draw back is that there are no facilities, but that’s a minor inconvenience.

2 months ago

easy, scenic, and packed

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic view. Quite windy up top (for certain parts). But for the elevation gain, this is a very easy hike—wide, paved trail the entire way to the top. We took our 6 kids—ages 11 down to 2–and we had no problem. Our youngest rode in the stroller for a decent portion of the hike. If you go mid-afternoon like we did, take a little water with you. There are a number of lookout points on the trail where you can stop and rest. Parking can be hard to come by mid-day, but the hike is short enough that people are coming and going all the time and usually if you wait a few minutes, something will open up. Overall, a nice experience.

2 months ago

This trail was easy and beautiful. In the beginning if he trail there is another trail to the right hat leads to the tide pools. Very test to swim in. But go to where there are no rocks.

hiking
2 months ago

5/20/2018-Started around 0745 today (not too many cars around though) and came across 20+ groups of hikers. The sun was on the intense side but with the wind whipping through it was a pleasant trek to the top and back.

hiking
2 months ago

Start early like most say because the parking gets filled and it’s a hot paved trail to the top. No bathrooms, clean path, beautiful views. There is a side trail which I would rate as moderate that leads you to the tide pools which I enjoyed a quick beautiful swim. But be very careful.
This trail overall is family and pet friendly.

2 months ago

great hike.

2 months ago

Amazing panoramic views of the ocean and ridge tops. FYI no bathrooms on trail. Also tail was quite busy and parking fills up fast. Parking also available on the side of the road. Trail definitely worth it.

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