Upper Makua Cave Hike

4.5 stars from 3 reviews
Address 82-180 Farrington Hwy, Waianae, HI
An unsanctioned (off limits) hike to an amazing cave overlooking the ocean.

• General: Cost: Free • Hiking: Hiking
• Hiking: Length: 0-1 Miles • Hiking: Level: Difficult
• Hiking: Level: Experts Only • Hiking: Major Elevation Changes
• Hiking: Rock Climbing • Sightseeing: Great Views

Matt Anderson's Take
Upper Makua Cave Hike is an unsanctioned hike located on the Waianae coast of O'ahu. The hike is found right above the roadside Kaneana Cave / Makua Cave and is only 0.7 miles long (each way). Unfortunately, this one is off limits so stay out.

Although this is a short hike, it's not for the novice hiker at all. The path is very steep, with a 420 foot elevation gain, and full of loose gravel so slipping is very common here. Wearing proper hiking shoes, a long sleeved shirt, and long pants is a must here. On top of that, and with any hike, be sure to read Hiking Safety & Essentials.

The trail is not shaded and exposed to direct sun mid-day. Wear plenty of sunscreen to Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer. At the start of the trail, you'll trudge through high grass and some dry trees. Then the trail becomes a steeper and dryer with loose crumbly dirt and gravel. The soil is unstable and it's possible you could dislodge a boulder, just one more reason to skip this one.

By far the most dangerous part is toward the section that leads to the cave. You'll walk along a visible trail, but it's very narrow. One false move here and you could fall off the cliff. Again, this is not a trail we recommend. So why do we list it? Because it's a very common and popular trail that can be found easily online already. This way we can show you what it looks like and, hopefully, convince you to do a safer hike.

When you've reached the cave, you'll notice that there are actually two of them. There is a small one, and a much larger one known as the Upper Makua Cave. The view overlooking Keawa'ula Beach (Yokohama Beach) is amazing and why so many people attempt this very dangerous hike.

This is an unsanctioned hike and we don't advise doing it, so go at your own risk. The hike itself will take you about 45 minutes to the top. Be sure to also read Nanaue - The Shapeshifting Shark-Man Of Makua Cave for some fun mythology on the caves here.
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Matt Anderson
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Laura W
Joined: Nov 2016
Reviews: 35
Likes Received: 1
Absolutely incredible view! We did the hike with 3 adults, an infant, and 2 toddlers. It was very dangerous and difficult with them, I would not recommend young kids on the hikes as there are very loose spots.
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 426
Likes Received: 12
Upper makua cave hike was amazing! The view from the top was magical! It's a must so put it on your bucket list to do! Great photo opportunities it's just outta this world! Highly recommended to hiking lovers it was amazing I could easily do this again and again!! Check it out!!!!
Joined: May 2016
Reviews: 2
Likes Received: 0
I've hiked this one time, and just my luck, it was pouring rain. It was still an amazing experience, much more dangerous and challenging, but I definitely want to do this hike again, when it's not raining of course. There's a rope at the near top and you need to use to to climb to get the the cave. Once you get to the top it's absolutely amazing. You can park at the Ka'ena Point sightseeing sign and walk to the trail. I highly recommend this hike. It's not the long either, and it's not far from the mermaid caves so you could easily go venture there when you've finished.
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