Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

The Makapu’u Point trail once again offers visitors stellar views of the island’s coastline. And at just 2.5 miles roundtrip, it’s an easy trail for almost anyone to complete. On the trail, visitors will also catch a glimpse and snap a photo of the red-roofed Makapu’u Lighthouse.

You can park at the lighthouse trail parking lot. If the lot is full, there is street parking as well. The trail starts at the end of the parking lot. You will find a series of yellow poles, followed by a nice paved path.

The wide, paved path is lined with cactuses and windblown brush. As you round the bend for the final stretch to the top of the hill, look up to the left and see a number of WWII pillboxes peaking out of the landscape. Toward the summit, marked by two lookout points, a plaque is dedicated to nine naval aviators who crashed into the hillside in 1942. Meanwhile, the entire stretch offers gorgeous, show-stopping views of the coast and the dreamy, deep blue sea stretching to the horizon.

The view at the top is breathtaking, of the scenic shoreline of Makapu’u beach stretching toward the North Shore, of southeastern Oahu including the inside of Koko Crater. You also will be likely to spot whales up here as it’s a popular whale watching location.

Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail Reviews | U.S. News Travel

You can also adventure down to the Makapuu Tide Pools (which I highly suggest) which can be found just down from the first set of whale information signs. Here you will see amazing tide pools and blowholes formed in black lava rock on the East side of Oahu. 

The beginning of this hike is very easy being that you follow the Makapu’u lighthouse trail talked about above (which is paved). At the third rest stop, there will be a sign that talks about the whales, this is where you begin your descent to the tide pools. This trail will lead you to the tide pools. The trail is very steep and some rocks can come loose so hike carefully and wear appropriate shoes. 

Several blowholes/geysers shoot water up into the air as pressure grows below the surface. Depending on the tides and conditions water can shoot with huge force tens of meters into the air! It’s really fun to explore these tide pools in any season. 

Makapu'u Point Tide Pools – Tasty Island

When entering the tide pools, be careful. The rocks are very slippery. The day that we were happened to be there, the waves were enormous. Every time the giant waves crashed against the pools, a torrent of water shot up at least 30 ft in the air. That being said, make sure you keep an eye out for the waves. This can get very dangerous as they can get very big and the currents can be strong. You may want to avoid the edge because it can be pretty unpredictable.

The huge waves were also giving plenty of water to the blowhole, which was erupting every 30 seconds or so. I would highly recommend bringing plastic bags or some sort of protection for electronic devices as well as a dry place for your clothes. When the blowhole goes off, it gets water everywhere! 

When you are done enjoying all of the incredible views and water features, you can head back up the way that you came down. If you look hard enough, you can usually find an easy way up most ledges. Luckily, the lava rocks will get you good traction if you are wearing the appropriate footwear. The arrows painted on the rocks are a little easier to spot on the way up and you should be back at the top in no time! Once you reach the top you have two choices. You can either turn right and head up to the lighthouse or turn left to head back to the car.

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