Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail HIke I told myself I was going to write this post today, so I sort of have to do it.  Be forewarned, though, the pictures and the story you’re about to read is not one of the “paradise and perfect weather” posts that you’re apt to see in most Hawaii blogs, especially ones about scenic shoreline hikes.  This hike was mad at us today! The wind was up.  The rain, driven by the wind and mixed with the sea salt, stung the face.  Visibility was horrible.  The only reason that I’m actually going to review the hike under these conditions is to show you that even in the worst of Hawaii weather conditions, it still pretty comfortable.  The temperature never got below 75 degrees (even with all that rain and wind on the shoreline) and on the way back down the hill, once the sun came out, it made the entire experience worth it and gave us an opportunity to take some decent pictures. I’ll still visit the Makapu’u Lighthouse again.  I really need to get there when the weather is great.  I’ll go anyway just because it’s a nice way to stay active on a Sunday before hitting Hanauma Bay for the day. You can tell by the wind and the way the rain is blowing in that we were mostly uncomfortable the whole way up! This video was basically just one big mistake.  At first I was looking for the “zoom out” button and then I forgot to shut off the video.  But, hey, at the end you catch a glimpse of the lighthouse despite the deluge. Again, I did my best here.  The scene was dark and gloomy and no matter how much I tried to play with the camera settings, I couldn’t make the view cheery.  It’s still pretty cool, though, despite my bad skills.

Getting to the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail Head

The hike actually starts at the Kaiwi State Park.  To get there from Honolulu/Waikiki you travel down Highway 72 after H1 ends and you just go until you seed the park entrance on the right.  (On the left if you pick up Hwy 72 from Leeward Oahu via the North Shore. Coming from Honolulu it was a real pretty ride.  You’ll pass Koko Head and Hanauma Bay and as soon as you turn one bend, the road becomes windy and you have all of the rocky shoreline images that you’ll ever want.  Next you pass Sandy Beach and then you’ll come to the state park and the trail head.


We got to Kaiwi State Park pretty early, around 8am.  The lots already pretty full but there was still parking to be had.  The whole way there it was getting progressively darker from the north and by the time we arrived it was downright gloomy.

The Ascent and Hike to the Makapu’u Lighthouse

Again, this wasn’t a pretty hike.  The wind was blowing in from the ocean and throwing and slapping rain against us for the entire time it took us to get the lighthouse.  I did see some beautiful views, despite the fog and gloom.  The cacti on the way up were nice to see.  I’ve added a video below that starts out with a close up of an old bunker while I miserably try to find the “zoom out” control on my Fuji camera.  There’s another video of just straight misery.  LOL. The walk up the hill isn’t too bad.  You’ll get winded but it isn’t too steep.  You’ll ascend a total of 500 feet over a one mile walk.  Probably, a lot easier without the angry weather, too. DSCF1146 We did not go anywhere near the tidal pools or the descending down towards the lighthouse and water.  I just didn’t trust the conditions since I had my daughters with us. For all the weather, though, all three of my girls made it up the mountain pretty easily.  They didn’t take much time to take in the scene at the top of the climb as the rain had done them in. On the way down, though, we were able to get some good shots. I can only imagine what the views from the outlook at the top of hill are like in the typically gorgeous Hawaiian weather.  I’ve added a photo or two that weren’t from our trip to the gallery below so that you’ll get an idea of what the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and views from the scenic shoreline could actually be like.

Makapu’u Trail Tips

  • Bring a camera
  • Bring water
  • Time to Hike:  1 hour (more if you stop for pictures or go off the trail)
  • Fee:  No charge for the hike or parking
  • Best Time:  Early in the morning to get parking and avoid the heat of the day.
  • Great for exercise, a jog or just sightseeing and clearing your mind.

Check out our Photos from the Hike from our Facebook Page!