Kaena Point (north side)


Located at the very westernmost tip of Oahu, Kaena Point is the only part of the island inaccessible by car. Steeped in ancient Hawaiian legend, it is considered to be a very spiritual place and is a protected sanctuary for endangered plants and wildlife.

HIGHLIGHTS: This 2.5-mile hike features breathtaking views up and down the coast, abundant wildlife, and a variety of endangered plants. Since there is no road, it has a very rural feel and provides a glimpse of raw, natural, "old" Hawaii.

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, photographing, bird and seal watching, whale watching in winter, swimming (only on the beach before the trail starts), fishing

LIFEGUARD: There is a lifeguard at the beach along the paved road at Kaena Point State Park (before the trail starts), but none on the trail itself

WARNINGS!: The coastline can be dangerous, as the water and currents are unpredictable. It is best to stay on the path. Also, the weather in this area is typically very hot and dry. Most of the hike is unshaded, so be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen. Don't leave any valuables in your car, as break-ins are common. Where the road ends, you may see some cars trying to continue down the dirt path. Unless you have a vehicle built for off-roading, don't try to go any further! If biking, be aware that you will have to carry your bike at certain points. Avoid disturbing seals, birds, and other wildlife.

AMENITIES: Restrooms and showers are located along the beach, before the start of the trailhead. Plenty of parking.

According to Hawaiian legend, Kaena Point is the place where souls would make the jump from the physical world to the spirit world to be reunited with their ancestors.  The trail follows an old dirt road and railroad and although hot and long, the hike is not strenuous.

There is a beacon at the point, next to the old, collapsed lighthouse. Once arriving at the point, most people turn and return back along the way they came. However, the path joins with the path leading up from the south (Waianae) side, so you can also continue all the way to the other side of the state park. Unless you have someone to pick you up on this end, it would be a very long hike back.

The trail head begins at the end of the road. There are plenty of wide-open "dirt" lots for parking, however they are deeply rutted so drive carefully.

The beach section of the state park (before the trail starts) is a popular swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding spot.  During weekends and holidays you'll typically see it packed with local families picnicking and enjoying the wide sandy beach. As you near the start of the trail, the terrain gets very rocky and the sand ends. A lot of fishing happens in this area.

Although Kaena Point is out of the way and quite a distance from Honolulu (whether you're approaching it from the north or the south side), it is absolutely worth it to see the exquisite beauty of this special place. Don't forget to pack your camera!

Closest town: Waialua

Directions: From Haleiwa, take Kamehameha Hwy/HI -83 south, toward Amara Road. From the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Kaukonahua Rd/HI-930. From the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto HI-930/Farrington Hwy will lead straight into the park, and the road will end before the trail head.


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