Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail
This historic, red-roofed windward landmark was built in 1909 and is a must-see, both for the beauty of the beacon itself as well as the incredible views offered to visitors who hike up to the point. From this vantage point, you are gifted with epic views of the coast in both directions, along with Koko Head, Koko Crater, and, if you're lucky and visibility is good, the islands of Lanai and Molokai.
AT A GLANCE:
HIGHLIGHTS: Just a short drive from Honolulu, the trail to the lighthouse is paved and not difficult, although typically very hot with little shade along the path. Along with the amazing views, the trail leading up to the point provides excellent whale-watching opportunities. You'll want to be sure to bring a camera and binoculars! There are also some tide pools at the bottom of the cliffs that you'll often see visitors hiking down to. Use caution if you decide to do this!
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, photographing, whale watching, bird watching (the small islands visible off-shore are bird sanctuaries). The best time to see whales is during the months of November-May. It's not possible to reach the actual lighthouse or enter it, but the glistening white tower with its red roof makes a beautiful picture against the turquoise water in the background.
WARNINGS: This is not a dangerous hike, but you will want to bring plenty of sunscreen and water as there is little shade along the path and the sun is very hot and harsh.
There is no cost, and ample parking is provided off of Kamehameha Highway.
The Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail (Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline) is located off of Kamehameha Highway on Oahu's windward side, south of Waimanalo.
From Honolulu, take the H-1 East; it will become Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy 72). Follow the road past Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay, Sandy Beach Park and Sea Life Park. The pull-off will be on your right you will see a large parking area extending down towards the start of the path and a sign marking the "Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline."