Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail (Kaiwi)

EASY 913 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!

1 minute ago

Great view!

hiking
3 days ago

Came here for the tidepools. What an awesome experience! Should've paid attention to the directions, first headed down the wrong trail from the first lookout. Realized my mistake after scrambling down about 100 feet before deciding to turn back. The trail leading down to the tidepools was off of the third lookout. The way down was definitely more treacherous. Smaller kids would likely need a lot of help. But it was well worth it. By far the most memorable part of the trip for us. The tidepools were amazing with its wide array of fish. Nice reward for the work hiking down with a dip in the pool. The dragon nostrils were also impressive.
The hike back up was strenuous but easily doable. Made it back up in under 15 minutes.
Overall, this is must do for anyone looking for a memorable experience in Oahu.

3 days ago

Definitely worth getting to the top!

4 days ago

Awesome walk

8 days ago

We were there on a Thursday afternoon and it wasn't crowded. Dry, desert landscape, but the views at the top are awesome. We had the extra treat of seeing a hanger glider and a paraglider playing in the air right in front of us.

9 days ago

Such a pretty view!❤️

9 days ago

Great hike for my little ones and pregnant wife!

12 days ago

The brevity of this trail combined with the view make it a great choice but for a truly epic experience climb down into the wave pool below. Just look down at the right moment and you should see plenty of people down there. The epic waves and fish and experience is just fantastic. Be careful not to get too close to the waves because they are unpredictable and can carry you out and smash you against the rocks. As a resident Hawaiian I give it 4 simply because of just how many epic trails there are here but a tourist would likely give it 5 stars. Email me at justindavidsands@gmail.com if you want to do some of the truly epic and challenging trails.

18 days ago

Paved path all the way to the lighthouse. Hiked down to the tide pools which was awesome but goes straight down. I brought my dog & we had to carry her on the way up. Fun hike with beautiful views

hiking
20 days ago

Beautiful hike that’s great for whale watching. The tide pools are worth seeing if you’re willing to head off the trail and down the mountain.

hiking
23 days ago

The best part about this hike are the tide pools! At the third break on the right (the binoculars) follow the (sort of marked) trail that starts behind the sign that says do not cross (we took this as a suggestion) that will take you to the pools. I could have spent all day here. It was a decent uphill to the lighthouse look out, but super easy and a good introduction if you are a new hiker.

trail running
23 days ago

This is a great trail to run up and down before hiking Koko Head. The trail does not go to the light house, though it does provide some stunning views both on the way up, and at the top. It would also be a good hike/walk with kids as the entire path is paved.

23 days ago

The walk up is not one of my favorites. However the whale watching during season is a favorite. And the view from the top takes my breath each and every time.

hiking
24 days 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.

24 days ago

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
28 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
28 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!

30 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.

1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

Hot but spectacular views.

hiking
1 month 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!

1 month 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
1 month 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

1 month 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
2 months 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.

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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.

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