Makapu’u LightHouse: A Family Friendly Hike on Oahu, Hawaii
The Makapu’u Lighthouse trail on Oahu is one of my favorites. When we lived in Hawaii, we would do this hike at least once a week. In the winter, during the humpback whale calving season, we would go to see the whales breaching and sometimes hanging out so close to the edges of the cliffs that you could hear their breathing. In the summer, it is nice to check out the views and feel the strong winds.
On our most recent trip to Oahu, this was our first adventure. The kids were prepared. Rosie wore her “hiking outfit”.
But about ten steps into the hike, she realized she was too hot and changed into her “beach outfit”. She has gotten very interested in fashion recently.
One thing to remember is that the first part of the trail is very hot. You are basically walking in the driest part of the island–filled with brown grasses and cactus. The Bean wasn’t prepared for this and began complaining only steps out of the parking lot. Unfortunately, he dumped our only water on his head to solve his heat issues and then cried of thirst.
The trail is very popular and in the last few years that have built a nice parking area. The parking area is usually full but in Hawaii you usually need to wait for a parking space. So, bring along some patience and wait a bit for a spot. Also there are no restrooms and no water–so be prepared for that.
Like I mentioned, the first part of the trail is really dry and hot (maybe 1/2 mile) and then you turn a corner and you are on the other side of the hill. There are steep cliffs on the backside of the hill but the trail is very wide and well maintained. (The trail is paved so strollers work well here.)
About 1/2 mile more to go and you reach the lighthouse and the incredible views of the windward side.
At the top lookout area, there are lots of locks placed on the metal fence. Some of them have inscriptions (like the one above). I’m not sure what they mean but I thought it was a kind of neat gesture. If anyone knows what they are all about, I would love to know.
The lighthouse trail is located on Kalanianiole Highway just past Sandy Beach but before Makapu’u Beach. You will see the crowded parking lot on the right hand side of the road. It is a free Oahu activity and during the winter is an excellent place to get close up views of the humpback whales. The area used to be military related so there are old bunkers and things to crawl into (although they usually smell pretty bad) and for the very adventurous there are even some large tidepools that you can hike down to and swim in. The trail is very well used with lots of locals getting their daily exercise and a great place to bring your dogs.