Who is ready to escape the winter weather and go on a hike in Hawaii? Today is your lucky day, because I’m sharing the beautiful and scenic Kaena Point Trail from the North Shore side of Oahu! Dane and I ventured out last weekend to make this hike happen and I’m so glad we did – we got to see a ton of beautiful waves and some of Hawaii’s majestic wildlife. This is an easy hike (it’s really more of a nature walk) that I would recommend for anyone, so whether you live here or plan on visiting, take a peek at Kaena Point!
Hiking In Hawaii: Kaena Point
If there’s one thing you need to know about Kaena Point that everyone talks about, it’s how long and hot the hike is since there’s 0 shade. Naturally, that doesn’t sound very appealing does it? The good news is that we’ve been getting some cloudy days and cooler weather, so we headed out last Sunday to enjoy Kaena Point.
There’s two ways to do this hike – from the North Shore or from the West Side. We decided to do the hike from the North Shore (and it’s also what I would recommend for anyone doing it for the first time). We’ve done it from the West Side only once before and it wasn’t nearly as pretty. Just my personal opinion, of course! If you plug Kaena Point into your GPS, you will be taken to what appears to be a dead end after passing Dillingham Ranch – keep going. There is a small parking lot to your left. Park there and make sure to lock your doors and store anything valuable in your trunk. To note: No pets are allowed on Kaena Point Trail, so make sure you leave them at home.
You’ll see signs that mark the entrance to Kaena Point. It’s a seaside “hike”, though to be honest it’s more like a nature walk through dirt and mud and sand. I know, that doesn’t sound terrible appealing, but it’s legitimately right next to the ocean and you can see (and feel depending how close you are) the waves the crashing. It’s truly beautiful, so make sure you stop along the way to take it all in.
As you approach the 2-2.5 mile mark, you will come upon a gate. This marks the entrance to the protected sanctuary of seabirds and their nests. Go ahead and go through the gate, but make sure it latches behind you 🙂 Once we were through the gate, we got to see one of things Kaena Point is known for — birds. Lots and lots and lots of seabirds! I was smart enough to bring my big lens (all my photography gear), so I captured some great shots of the birds interacting.
We continued to walk all the way out to the point where there is a tiny beach past the lighthouse and rock crevices. And at the very end of our hike, we were treated to two adorable Hawaiian Monk Seals catching sun and a snooze on the far side of the rock face. Again, I was really grateful to have my big lens since getting close to the seals is forbidden!
After spending some time watching these seals and the waves rise and fall over the rock ledge, we packed it up and headed back to our car. In total, we clocked this hike at around 5.7 miles roundtrip, but we also did a bit of rock climbing and exploring. I would say 5.5 miles is a safe bet for a more accurate total.
It was such a nice day to enjoy Kaena Point and I would definitely recommend it for anyone visiting Oahu or who lives here and can catch it on a not-so-sunny day 🙂