Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail
Photo Credit: Kelvin Lu
Kaiwi sunrise 2012

 [MAUI] UPDATED 1/27/23: Sections of Makena SP will be CLOSED next week for hazardous tree work. See Makena SP page for updates. 


[OAHU] UPDATED 1/27/23 - KEAIWA HEIAU SRA CLOSED until further notice. See Keaiwa Heiau SRA page for updates.

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KAUAʻI] UPDATED 1/27/23 – Kokeʻe and Waimea Canyon State Parks – WATER OFF at partial areas, facilities impacted. Water is anticipated to be available on Monday. See respective park websites for updates.

[MAUI] UPDATED 1/26/23: ʻIao Valley State Monument – CLOSED August 2022 through April 15, 2023. See ʻĪao site for updates.


[MAUI]
 UPDATED 1/23/23: Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area – CLOSED through March 2023 (Per DOFAW). See Polipoli site for updates.

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[HAWAIʻI] UPDATED 1/20/23: Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area – WATER OFF in the park, facilities impacted. See Hapuna site for updates

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[O’AHU] UPDATED 4/12/22: Sand Island State Recreation Area – WATER OFF, camping and comfort stations CLOSED. See Sand Island site for updates.

Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail

Trail Length 2.0 miles (round trip)
Activity Pedestrian
Difficulty Moderate
Terrain Hot, Dry Slopes
Elevation Gain 500 ft
Park Name Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline

Description

The Makapu‘u Point trail, within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, offers outstanding views of O‘ahu’s southeastern coastline, including Koko Head and Koko Crater. From the trail’s destination at Makapu‘u Head, one is rewarded with magnificent views of the windward coast and offshore islets, as well as the historic red-roofed Makapu‘u 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 Moloka‘i and Lana‘i. 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 and the vegetation includes low-growing kiawe and panini (cactus). The trail is exposed and is usually sunny and hot. It can be very windy at the summit. A hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water are recommended. Give yourself about 2 hours to enjoy this hike and it’s wonderful views.

Route

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.

Directions

The park and trailhead are located off of the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) at the southeastern-most point of Oahu. From Honolulu, take the H1 freeway east until it becomes Highway 72. Follow the road beyond Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach Park until you reach the park area adjacent to the highway. From the windward side, take the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) southeast beyond Kailua, Waimanalo, and Makapu‘u Beach Park, after which the road climbs up toward Makapu‘u Head. The park will be on the left side of the highway.

Additional Info

  • Stay on the trail.
  • Pack out at least what you pack in.
  • No open fires.