Kaena Point hike - West Oahu side
You can’t miss this beautiful moderate flat hike to Kaena point. We decided to approach it from the West side past Kapolei and Waianae in West Oahu. You can also approach it from the North shore side. It’s an amazing hike with picturesque views not seen on the East side. You can walk along the coast with the crashing white waves, and at the very end of the hike is a the Kaena Point state park and nature reserve with nesting Albatross and other wildlife. We unfortunately, did not see Monk seals on this hike but there have been some in the past.
It’s a relatively flat dirt road hike with uneven ground following the old rail road tracks to the Point. The walk is along a rocky dirt path (starts out with what looks like a four wheeling path) with a spectacular coastline exposed with lava. There’s a lava arch along the way and tons of amazing photo opportunities. The Waianae mountains are also prominent from all angles, and depending what time you go the sun will set casting an amazing sunset and shadows across the mountains.
It’s important you check the division of state parks Kaena Point website to make sure it’s open. We’ve actually driven all the way out there and had to turn around because they closed it due to high surf waves coming over the road. During the Winter months (Oct-Mar) the waves tend to be higher than Summer time and things can get slippery and muddy if it’s raining. But for the most part it’s dry.
What you need to take with you since it’s very HOT and DRY.
It can get crowded on this narrow path. This particular hike was done on Mar 31st around 82 degrees right after Spring break so it was fairly empty. In the summer time it can reach 90 degrees in July/Aug and be very crowded due to high season. If you go in late Aug/Sep, schools are back in session so less are on the trail.
At least 2-3 bottles of water per person is needed to stay hydrated. For a 2.5 mile hike, each way, there are times when it’s very very hot with no wind. I even applied 55 sunscreen and still got sunburned. Some were carrying umbrellas and all were wearing hats. You probably want to wear good tennis or hiking shoes. You probably don’t want to walk 5 miles in flip flops on this path (not recommended).
I suggest you take you swimsuit so you can get in the tide pools at the end of the hike. There is not a lot of sand by the shoreline, but sharp white tumbled coral so not fun while barefoot. So if you have rubber soled water shoes bring them so you can get in the shallow tide pool and cool off. Also in the tide pool, the rocks are very slippery and jagged and little kids get cut all the time so take precaution not to slip when you get in for a dip.
The nature reserve is sandy and has some rolling hills and vegetation. It’s important you stay within the path so as not to disturb the nesting albatross. It’s Springtime right now and baby Albatross were in their nests. Wildlife is abundant in the park so pay respect to not leave your garbage or take back any souvenirs.