Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline
oahu islands

Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline


Due to anticipated storm-generated wave heights of up to 15 feet (Hawaiian) which equals a 30 foot wave face on the east-facing shores of O‘ahu, the Division of State Parks is temporarily closing the unimproved foot path that leads down to the popular Makapu‘u tide pools at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline.

DLNR is asking that the public please honor and respect this closure and only take photographs of the waves from the authorized viewing area along the paved trail in order to stay out of harm’s way from the excessively large storm surf.

On August 30 and then the following day on August 31, two males in their mid-20’s, in severe distress, were rescued by the Honolulu City and County Water Safety personnel from the turbulent ocean along the shoreline below these tide pools after being swept out to sea. A few months ago, a father and daughter tragically drowned from being swept out to sea at this location.



April 1 to Labor Day:
7 am to 7:45 pm

After Labor Day to March 31:
7 am to 6:45 pm

Entrance Fee None
Trail Name


A 1-mile hike (one-way) along a paved roadway leads to a lookout atop a headland above the historic Makapuʻu lighthouse (the lighthouse itself is off-limits, but can be viewed from the trail). At various points along the route there are sweeping views of the southeastern O’ahu coastline, and migrating humpback whales may be visible during whale season. No drinking water or restrooms are available.

Whale Watching

The trail and lookout within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline provide great whale watching opportunities in season. As many as 10,000 humpbacks come to Hawaii every year to mate, give birth and nurse their calves. Hawaii’s humpback whale season runs from November through May, with January through March being the peak whale-watching months.

Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail

The 2-mile round-trip trail involves an uphill climb to 500-foot elevation under hot, dry, and windy conditions. The surface is paved and is a former access road to the lighthouse.

UPDATE 2/3/16 – Repairs and Improvements to the Makapu‘u Lighthouse Trail


The repaving of the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail was completed in October 2015. Several of the new viewing areas and rest benches along the trail are finished, including the placement of interpretive signs and viewing scopes. Renovation of the uppermost lookout continues and this lookout, plus 2 of the viewing areas, remain closed until the new railings are installed in March. The trail and completed viewing areas will remain open and accessible during this final phase of construction.