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DLNR, Division of State Parks
P.O. Box 621
Honolulu, HI 96809

Americas State Parks


Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail

Trail Length: 2.0 mi. (round trip)
Activity: Pedestrian
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain: Hot, dry slopes
Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Trail Brochure: Trail Closure Schedule 2015

Park Name: Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline

Description: The Makapu‘u Point trail, within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, offers outstanding views of O‘ahu’s southeastern coastline, including Koko Head and Koko Crater. From the trail’s destination at Makapu‘u Head, one is rewarded with magnificent views of the windward coast and offshore islets, as well as the historic red-roofed Makapu‘u Lighthouse built in 1909, which makes a stunning picture against the deep blue sea below (the lighthouse itself is off-limits). On a clear day, you may even see Moloka‘i and Lana‘i. The offshore islets are wildlife sanctuaries for Hawaiian seabirds, such as the ‘iwa, frigate bird, and tropicbird. This trail is an excellent place to view migrating humpback whales in season (November-May). Binoculars are suggested for viewing the whales and seabirds. An interpretive sign and viewing scope along the trail help you view and identify the whales seen from this location.

This portion of the island tends to be hot and dry and the vegetation includes low-growing kiawe and panini (cactus). The trail is exposed and is usually sunny and hot. It can be very windy at the summit. Hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water are recommended. Give yourself about 2 hours to enjoy this hike and it’s wonderful views.

Route: A parking area offers access to the trailhead. Follow the trail as it climbs up the western side of the ridge. Upon reaching the top of the ridge (about the halfway point), the trail switches back to the north, following the eastern side of the ridge. At this point it levels out somewhat, but still climbs gradually to the summit, where a pair of guardrailed lookouts offer panoramic vistas. To return, retrace your route.

Directions: The park and trailhead are located off of the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) at the southeasternmost point of Oahu. From Honolulu, take the H1 freeway east until it becomes Highway 72. Follow the road beyond Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach Park until you reach the park area adjacent to the highway. From the windward side, take the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) southeast beyond Kailua, Waimanalo, and Makapu‘u Beach Park, after which the road climbs up toward Makapu‘u Head. The park will be on the left side of the highway.


Expect Closures for 25 Days During Construction

HONOLULU, January 23, 2015 – Beginning in February and continuing through July, the popular Makapu’u Trail in the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline will be closed on 25 different days. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks will begin repairs and improvements to the trail on February 2, 2015. The project is expected to last 6 months and closures will occur during February, March and July. These closures and construction will occur on weekdays only. The parking lot and trail will be open during regular park hours on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays; 7:00am to 6:45pm and until 7:45pm after April 1).

The park closures are necessary when construction is blocking the trail and during the paving. An effort is being made to keep the park open and make one side of the trail accessible during the other phases of construction work. However, hikers may experience some intermittent delays up to 15 minutes as machinery is moving on the road. Everyone needs to use caution on the trail during this work – stay on the designated trail and out of construction areas, watch for metal plates on the trail, and avoid lookouts that will be closed while they are being renovated.

The project will not affect the Makapu‘u Lookout along Kalaniana‘ole Highway. The Kaiwi shoreline will remain open during the project but during the park closures, people must enter from the Sandy Beach end of the park as the parking lot for the Makapu‘u Trail will be closed.

The tentative schedule for park closures is:

- Monday, February 9 through Friday, February 13
- Tuesday, February 17 through Friday, February 20
- Monday, February 23 through Friday February 27
- Monday, March 2 through Thursday, March 5

The tentative closure days in July are July 20-24 and July 27-28. The closure days in July will be confirmed in early July when the construction schedule is evaluated.
The improvements were designed by Mitsunaga and Associates, Inc. The repairs and construction work is being done by Haron Construction, Inc. at an estimated cost of $2.7 million.

Additional Info: Mountain Biking is not allowed on this trail. Stay on the trail. Pack out at least what you pack in. No open fires.




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