This weekend we hiked/walked up to Makapu’u Lighthouse. The first part of this trail is the same one we took to get to the Makapu’u Tide Pools a few weeks ago
, but instead of making the turnoff down to the tide pools, this time we went all the way to the top to see the lighthouse and enjoy the views.
We went late in the afternoon and had no trouble finding a parking spot in the parking lot. You can see the start of the trail on the far end of the lot in this picture.
The first part of the hike is usually a little warm, but once you get up to the ridge there is almost always a breeze and sometimes it’s downright windy up there.
The trail/path is paved which makes it great for strollers and for the littlest hikers.
We saw a lot of strollers as well as a lot of dogs on the walk. Careful about taking dogs on really hot days though, we once hiked with friends who had to carry their big dog all the way down the trail after the pavement started to burn the pads of his paws.
As you near the top you get a good view of the lighthouse as well as some unusual (for Hawaii at least) plant life. Yep, cactus on Oahu!
I think the highlight of the hike for my kids are the snacks they get to eat at the top, but for me it’s the great views. The first viewpoint is easy to get to and has a beautiful view of the windward side, but you can’t see the lighthouse from there. The paved trail doesn’t quite make it up to the second viewpoint, but it’s not as treacherous as it looks in this picture.
From the second viewpoint you can look down at the lighthouse. It is still a functioning lighthouse and you cannot actually hike to it – something that often surprises first-time hikers on this trail. The lighthouse isn’t as big and impressive as those found in other places (the Outer Banks in NC come to mind) but I think it’s red roof makes it very picturesque.
The view of the windward side is great from up here. You can see the coast from Makapu’u Beach and Sea Life Park
all the way along Waimanalo and out to the end of Kaneohe Marine Corp Base. There are also a number of islands off-shore to see including Manana Island, more commonly known as Rabbit Island.
The view would probably be better in the morning when the sun shines on the mountains, but we made up for that with a beautiful view on our way down of the sun setting behind Koko Head Crater.
Do it yourself:
• The parking lot and trail head are located between Sandy Beach and Makapu’u Beach.
• There are no bathrooms at the trail head or on the trail.
• There’s no shade on this trail, so morning or afternoon are better than midday. And don’t forget the sunscreen and lots of water no matter what time you go.
• If you’re going in the winter, take binoculars if you have them. This is a good place for whale watching!