Share On:

Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail

The Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail offers breathtaking views of the southeastern coastline of O‘ahu, the Pacific Ocean, and, during certain seasons, even migrating humpback whales. It’s a popular destination for hikers, sightseers, and photographers looking to capture the natural beauty of Hawaii.

Trail Description


The trail is located on the eastern end of O‘ahu, near Waimanalo and within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Honolulu, making it an accessible escape from the city.


  • Makapu‘u Lighthouse: The historic red-roofed lighthouse, built in 1909, is a well-known landmark and the trail’s namesake. Although it is not open to the public, hikers can get a good view of the structure from the trail.
  • Panoramic Views: The trail provides panoramic vistas of the coastline, with views of Koko Head and Koko Crater to the west, and the offshore islets such as Manana (Rabbit Island) and Kaohikaipu.
  • Whale Watching: During the winter months, typically from November to May, the trail is an excellent place for whale watching as humpback whales migrate through the surrounding waters.

Difficulty and Accessibility

The Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail is considered easy to moderate in difficulty. It is an entirely paved path, which makes it accessible for strollers and those with mobility issues, though the incline can be somewhat steep in parts.

Length and Elevation

The trail is approximately 2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of around 500 feet. The walk can take between 30 minutes to an hour each way, depending on your pace and how often you stop to enjoy the views.

Tips for Visitors

  • Bring Water and Sun Protection: There’s little shade along the trail, so it’s important to bring water, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Even though the trail is paved, comfortable walking or hiking shoes are recommended.
  • Arrive Early or Late: To avoid the midday heat and crowds, it’s best to hike early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
  • Check the Weather: The trail can be very hot and dry, but it’s also prone to strong winds and occasional rain showers, so check the weather before you go.
  • Binoculars: For those interested in whale watching or getting a better view of the offshore islands and lighthouse, binoculars can enhance the experience.


As a state-managed area, the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline surrounding the Makapu‘u Trail is subject to conservation efforts to protect its natural resources and wildlife. Visitors are encouraged to respect the environment by staying on designated paths, not disturbing wildlife, and taking out any trash they bring in.


The Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Hawaii. With its accessible path, stunning views, and opportunities for wildlife observation, it offers a rewarding experience for hikers of all levels and interests. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, a trip to this scenic trail is a memorable way to connect with the landscape and seascape of O‘ahu.

Places to Visit


Atlantis Submarines

Atlantis Submarines offers a unique and immersive way to explore the underwater world without getting wet. This tourist attraction provides

Read More »
Outdoor Recreation

Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium, founded in 1904, is the second-oldest public aquarium in the United States. Located near a living reef

Read More »
Outdoor Recreation

Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is a popular attraction located at the eastern end of Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii. It provides residents

Read More »