Oʻahu Hike of the Month: Kaʻena Point Trail
Explore the beauty of O‘ahu’s Leeward Side from this coastal trail.
Editor’s Note: We love hiking! Fortunately, O‘ahu is full of great hikes. In this web series, we bring you our favorite O‘ahu trails once a month.
Photos: Matt Tuohy
TRAIL NAME: Ka‘ena Point Trail
LENGTH: 2.4 miles one way
WHERE: The end of Farrington Highway (Hawaiʻi Route 93)
Hiking can be dangerous, and not every trail is a good idea for every person. Keep your personal fitness and skill level in mind, and always take proper precautions when venturing off road. Heed “no trespassing” and other warning signs.
The Ka‘ena Point Trail hike can begin from the Wai‘anae side of the island or from the Mokulēʻia side. This blog is about hiking the trail from the Wai‘anae side.
Hiking the Kaʻena Point Trail is like taking a long walk. There are no switchbacks, no inclines and no stream crossings. And for good reason: The trail actually used to be a road—a railroad, on which the Oʻahu Railway and Land Co. transported sugar cane. You might still see an intrepid driver or kids on ATVs using it as a road, but now most people just walk the nearly 5 miles there and back to explore Oʻahu’s westernmost point.
Native Hawaiians called this spot Leina ka ‘Uhane, meaning “leaping place of the souls.” It was, and still is, a sacred area where the souls of the deceased are said to be greeted by their ancestors before embarking on the afterlife.
Today, Kaʻena Point is a protected bird sanctuary for Laysan albatrosses.
What Kaʻena Point lacks in trail diversity it makes up for in oceanside vistas. The crashing waves are to your left as you make your way to the end of the trail. It makes for a great view of the Leeward Coast without having to break too much of a sweat.
Along the way, you’ll see tidepools, hear blowholes and come across a rock arch.
At the end of the trail you can visit the bird sanctuary, learn about the beautiful albatross and, if you’re lucky, maybe even spot one. When you go inside, make sure to close the gates behind you.
The rocky beach at Ka‘ena Point is secluded, and is a popular snoozing spot for monk seals. It’s also the perfect spot for you to rest, eat a snack and admire Mother Nature.
Map & Directions
Kaʻena Point is literally at the end of the road! From town, take the H1 freeway west. Continue as it becomes Farrington Highway. Just past Keawaula Beach Park, park in the dirt area to the right.
There is no shade along this nearly 5-mile trek. Bring water, wear sunscreen and a hat.
It may be an easy hike, but it’s long, so give yourself two to four hours to get there and back.
Kaʻena Point is a protected albatross bird sanctuary, so leave your dog at home for this hike.