I love absolutely everything about the westernmost tip of Oahu. My favorite way to access Ka’ena Point is from the west side of the island because I get to drive through some very non-tourist, aloha-filled towns and enjoy views of sparkling white sand beaches with azure waters beneath dramatic mountainscapes. After the drive, I get to hike a great little cliffside trail to the point and then hang out with monk seals. Want to join in the fun?
The trail begins as a road which is frequented by ATV and mudding enthusiasts. They tend to get stuck and leave huge muddy holes in the road which are lots of fun for kids. Caleb enjoys jumping in them and getting really muddy (this gets me muddy, too, as it turns out). I tell myself that there are likely rich people who pay a lot of money to have Hawaiian mud on their skin so I’m getting a great bargain.
The path is lined with flowering cactus and native Hawaiian plants. Caleb loves finding them and identifying their colors. We talk about where they are growing and I ask him a lot of questions like: “Do you think this plant gets a lot of fresh water? Does it like shade or is it a full-sun plant?” Caleb always surprises me with his answers.
The trail follows an old railroad track which was damaged by a tsunami in 1946 and ends at the Ka’ena Point Natural Area Reserve, which is protected land.
The weather is usually sunny and hot, and it can be windy – a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water are recommended. Allow 1 to 3 hours depending on your pace. Stay away from the wave-exposed coast unless you are familiar with harzardous ocean conditions.
Some of the mudding enthusiasts end up abandoning their vehicles. It was rather sad to see these trucks hanging onto the cliffs and junking up such a gorgeous place. I’m told that the state must remove them each year and it’s quite a costly endeavor.
See my fantastic hiking friends? I love hiking with other moms. They are so inspiring! See the arch behind her? The upper west coast is rich with awesome rock formations.
There are tide pools and even two blowholes midway through the trail.
Parts of the road are completely washed away and then there is a trail which zigzags up the hillside. The views from the pathways can’t be beat!
After passing through the gate, the view of the island is stunning. to the left is the north shore and the west shore is on the right:
Turning back toward the dunes…
And finally, the tidepools!
I love monk seals.
Take H-1 West toward Waianae and continue on Farrington Highway until it ends at Ka’ena Point State Park
There is a parking lot on the right with bathrooms and the trail begins from the lollipop-shaped parking area at the end. The trail is 2.4 miles to the gated entrance of the reserve, 5.2 miles if you go all the way to the point (which I recommend).
Advice: Wear lots of sunscreen and a hat. Bring plenty of water and a snack. Enjoy!