Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail

Phone (808) 587-4175
4.5 stars from 8 reviews
Address 10040 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96825
Paved trail, 1.25 miles long with 500+ foot elevation gains. Amazing views from the top.

• General: Cost: Free • General: Kid Activities
• General: Photo Opportunity • Hiking: Hiking
• Hiking: Kid Friendly • Hiking: Length: 1-2 Miles
• Hiking: Level: Easy • Hiking: Major Elevation Changes
• Hiking: Out & Back Trail • Hiking: Paved
• Sightseeing: Great Views

Matt Anderson's Take
The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is a paved walking path. If you start down at the parking lot, you'll walk about 1.25 miles to reach the top lookout area. You'll have that same walk back down so expect a 2.5 mile roundtrip hike.

For most, this isn't so much a hike as a walk in the park. It's paved the entire way (except for some minor rocky areas right at the top) and an easy walk. The only part that may be difficult for some is the elevation as you're walking uphill the entire way. It's not too steep, but you are going to gain over 500 feet in elevation.

The views at the top can be pretty awesome, especially on a clear day. On a windy day you can expect some serious winds as you work your way up. Going early is your best bet as there is no shade anywhere around here. Some people love the sunrise views from here and head up early just for that. Bring some water and good walking shoes and you should be all set.

Note that there is no bathroom anywhere around here so make sure you take care of that before you arrive. There are public bathrooms at nearby Sandy Beach (Koko Head Park), not that it will be the cleanest place.

Got kids? Many families with kids hike this trail. It's relatively safe but there are plenty of places you could get too close to an edge and fall off. It's no joke so keep to the inside of the path and watch kids. Be sure to also read up on Hiking Safety & Essentials before heading out and apply plenty of sunscreen to Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer as there is no shade on the trail.

The last issue is parking. There is a parking lot but it fills up fast and stays filled up all day long. Once it is full you'll want to park along the street. Regardless of where you park don't leave anything in your car. That's a good rule all the time but especially important here. Look at all that broken glass along the street to see what we mean.

You can also access the Kaiwi Shoreline Trail which will then take you to Alan Davis Beach as well all from the same parking lot and trailhead.
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Matt Anderson
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Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 426
Likes Received: 12
Never been much of a hiker but now I hike everywhere after hiking in Hawaii. The Makapu'u point lighthouse trail was nice and easy very relaxing and the view is to die for. Such a beautiful walk. Will be back can never get enough of the views. Worth the walk head down and check it out. Great photo opportunities.
Sue K
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 196
Likes Received: 9
This is a very pleasant, moderately strenuous hike, offering great views. We were lucky enough to do this hike in whale watching season and saw a number of breaching whales from the summit. Its is a fairly steep, but paved trail and we took our time, stopping off at viewpoints along the way. The views are beautiful and the although you can't go into the lighthouse, it's a scenic spot and well worth the climb.
Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
It's a fun walk overall and worth doing. The views are excellent but the hike itself isn't anything spectacular or fun in my opinion. I've seen people rave about this hike so I think it's a bit overrated but still very good.
Joined: Feb 2016
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
Nice peaceful hike up to the Makapu'u Lighthouse and the scene was beautiful. We reached the summit and was greeted with postcard views. The sunset was also breathtaking. We took many beautiful pictures!
ann t
Joined: Feb 2016
Reviews: 2
Likes Received: 0
Makapuu point is just a few miles from sandy beach. The lighthouse trail has breathtaking views of Waimanalo Beach and the bird sanctuary islands. Humpback whales frolic with their newborn calves.
Shan O
Joined: Aug 2015
Reviews: 11
Likes Received: 0
I'm not a big hiker and this probably isn't really what hikers would call a hike anyhow. It's a path but it's fairly steep, at least to me. It also has some pretty crazy drop offs. Not that you would fall unless you were walking along the edge but still kind of a freaky experience in parts. That feeling of being a little worried while knowing you're completely safe.

Pretty short walk overall but I was sweating at the end. The payoff at the top is worth it. Truly beautiful views all around. Great photo opportunity for sure.
Jewel A
Joined: Mar 2014
Reviews: 24
Likes Received: 16
The Makapu'u lighthouse hike is even better before dawn! I have been here handfuls of times with my family and friends since the fourth grade, but I have never had such a memorable experience as the early walk with the countless stars spread out on the sky like diamonds and pixie dust.

If you go as early as I did, and it's dark, be sure to have a light of some sort and stay to the left side of the walk. The gate doesn't open until 6 am, but if you find other means of transportation than a car that needs to get through the gate (bike, bus, walk, etc.). Once I reached the top, the Halau I went with (meaning group, particularly hula group), danced some hula and sang Hawaiian songs and chants. It was a beautiful moment that I knew I would never forget. It made me proud to be from here (although not Hawaiian by blood myself).

From the side of the cliff you can view the vast ocean waves consistent like heart beats, the occasional early riser driving their little car along the curved road on the side of the mountain across (above Sea Life Park), and the Dawn fading away as it kisses the silhouettes of the cactus and plants goodbye. You can also spot a celebrity such as Dog the Bounty Hunter's wife like I did! It's another great place to realize how big this world is: this is part of one island, part of the sandwich chain, part of the US, and part of the world! It's amazing how things can be put back into proper perspective at heights like this. A new trend is to bring a lock to keep on the fence at the highest outlook. An older tradition is cactus name carving. Maybe you can start your own when you go!
Joined: Apr 2014
Reviews: 3
Likes Received: 3
The Makapu‘u Point trail has incredible views of Oahu's southern coastline. The trail is well known for its 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. 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 is a fairly easy hike and kids will enjoy it. It's not that long and children will enjoy the views around them. I don't recommend going too late in the day because it get quite busy. As earliest as possible is suggested.

Also while hiking this trail there is a not so noticeable path that can guide you down Makapu'u Point into warm tide pools. Children aren't reccomended for this part because it can be quite dangerous. However it's worth taking a dip and seeing the beautiful creatures that live in there.

This portion of the island tends to be hot and dry and you will see cactus along the way. The trail is exposed and is usually sunny and hot. It can be very windy at the summit. Hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water are recommended. Don't forget to bring your camera to take pictures of the gorgeous scenery. Give yourself about 2 hours to enjoy this hike.
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