Ka’ena Point jets out into the North Pacific for about a mile and a half, making it the westernmost tip of Oahu. If coming from the North Shore you can access Ka’ena Point trail next to Mokuleia Beach Park on the outskirts of Waialua. If coming from the west side of the island you can approach the state park and trailhead via the Waiʻanae coast. Since the paved roads terminate and become inaccessible to vehicles on either side your only alternative is to hike or mountain bike along the path. The trail is 3.5 miles in total, and takes about 2.5 hours for the casual sightseeing hiker. As with much of the west side, Kaena Point doesn’t get much cloud cover or precipitation so in addition to sturdy shoes, water, and snacks be sure to bring sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen. You do not want to forget the latter, especially when you reach the mid point in the afternoon.
In addition to an unmatched panoramic coastal view at the point, you’ll come across a number of fascinating tide pools, sand dunes, native plants, albatross birds, and during the winter and early spring you may even catch humpback whales spouting and breaching not too far from your path. Monk seals and sea turtles frequent the small patches of sand and flat rocks to bask in the sun, but please do keep your distance, not only for their protection, but your own. The rocks are jagged and dangerous, and the unfiltered waves that batter the coastal trail can catch those who wander too close by surprise. There are no lifeguards and likely no other hikers nearby to provide a helping hand if you get sucked out to sea. As David and Jack were told by local pub-goers in American Werewolf in London – stick to the road. Do so, and you’ll enjoy one of the most memorable trails of your life for all the right reasons.
Get directions to the Waiʻanae (west side) or Waialua-Mokuleia (north shore) trailheads from the Hawai’i Division of State Parks website here.
Photo: Aaron Zhu