Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline
oahu islands

8/30/16 - ALL STATE PARKS ON HAWAII ISLAND WILL BE CLOSED ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31 AS HURRICANES MADELINE AND LESTER APPROACH HAWAIIAN ISLANDS.  Camping and lodging permits for East side Hawaii Island canceled for tonight (Tuesday), this includes Kalopa State Recreation Area and Manuka State Wayside.  Polipoli Spring SRA, Maui will be closed as of noon tomorrow (Wednesday).  Please be vigilant.  Additional closures will be announced via this webpage and other media outlets.

Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline


Due to the anticipated continued high surf on east facing shores of O‘ahu being generated from Tropical Storm Celia and Hurricane Darby, until further notice all park users who visit Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline -- commonly referred to as Makapu‘u -- should stay out of the water at the tide pools below the Makapu‘u lighthouse.

Periodically, very large waves break and sweep over the rocks flooding the tides pools, followed by a strong returning surge that pulls the water back over the sharp rocks and out to sea. Members of the public in the tide pools during these conditions have been swept out to sea and have drowned.

The public should not go into the tide pools during these conditions, and should stay far back from the water and view the area from safe distance on dry land. Only during calm seas and when the rocks around the tide pools are dry, and after careful observation of wave patterns should one consider entering the pools.

Any social media that recommends access to the water during high surf conditions is irresponsible and should be ignored. This area is remote and isolated, and in event of emergency, responders will either have to hike in, fly in or approach by water craft.

All park users must heed the park’s posted warning signs referring to “Waves break on ledge” as a reminder that these conditions may randomly occur without adequate time to exit the tide pools.



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.