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If you really want to get away from it all, but still remain on Oahu then the Ka’ena Point hike should be on your list. I did this hike recently with my family on a fairly clear day and got some great shots.
Also, there is a hidden volcano off the coastline, you can’t see it because it is underwater but it was only recently credited (2014) with the formation of Oahu. Growing up I learned 2 volcanoes created Oahu, Ko’olau, and Wai’anae, now I know there are 3 with the addition of Ka’ena.
There are dozens of things to do on Oahu and I encourage you to take a look around, this experience doesn’t make very many lists which makes it even more special.
Location Of Ka’ena Point Hike
This is the westernmost point on the island of Oahu and probably the most remote coastal area.
How To Get To Ka’ena Point (West Side Route)
You can access Ka’ena Point from two starting points, for this article I will focus on the west side starting point. On the map below you will see the two start points, the west side starting point is at the bottom, near Keawaula Beach.
You could hike from one start point to the other and back if you wanted but remember there is a mountain range in the middle so you need to follow the path, no shortcuts.
If you are coming from Honolulu or Waikiki take H1 West and literally keep going until the road ends. This will be the start of the trail, watch the parking signs closely and park in the large sandy area just before the start. I show it clearly in the video above.
What To Expect At Ka’ena Point
Ka’ena means “the heat” and it’s no joke on this hike. Zero shade and dry for the entire hike was my recent experience, although I have hiked it in the past after a rain and it was very muddy. Rain or shine, it’s hot.
Its about 3 miles in so about 6 miles in and out, it should take you about 1 hour and 45 minutes give or take.
I don’t mean to deter you from this hike though as the coastal views are simply amazing, don’t forget to turn around and look back from where you came, breathtaking.
You will see wonderful coves, tidepools, and arches along the way, all worth a photo or two.
Once you reach the fenced bird sanctuary things change quickly from a hard rocky path to a sandy roped trail leading to Ka’ena Point.
Take your time in this area as wedge-tailed Shearwater birds could be just about anywhere. I was lucky enough to see this young bird hanging out just near the ropes. Just hanging out gathering courage for his first attempt at flight, very cool
Ka’ena Point hike gives you access to some of the most breathtaking coastal views and a protected bird sanctuary at the end. In addition, I have seen Monk seals every single time I have done this hike. I have done it about 8-10 times in my lifetime and it never gets old.
Give them the recommended 50ft clearance and even more if you see a pup.
Recommended Items To Bring
Definitely bring a reef-safe sunscreen and reapply as needed, put it everywhere. You can do this hike in walking shoes but I would recommend something a little sturdier but short of a hiking boot for the best experience. I have my trusty water shoes that I hike everything with and they were loaded with sand after the bird sanctuary section.
I recommend a hat as well as a large water bottle to keep hydrated on the trail. Snacks always.
A fairly even path with only one short climb I recommend this hike to just about everyone as it shows a part of the island that not many experience. Amazing views along the coast and a chance to respectfully view some of Hawai’i’s unique wildlife. Let me know in the comments if you have done this hike and what you thought.