Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail in Windward Oahu

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail in Windward Oahu is one of the most popular hiking trails in Oahu to do right after the hike to Diamond head in Waikiki. The trails are fairly easy to moderate and on paved road in the Kaiwi Scenic Shoreline. The best time to get there and a short drive from Hawaii Kai, the hike is in the morning when parking is light and not as many visitors get to the east side this early.

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail in Windward Oahu

Directions to get to the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

From Waikiki, it is approximately 45 minutes to get to the parking lot area

Take the Kalanianaoli Hwy 1 heading south which eventually becomes Hwy 72

Follow H1 through the Koko Head Crater and past Sandy Beach heading to Makapu’u Point

Turn into the Kaiwi Scenic Shoreline and enter the Kaiwi parking lot which is free.

Gate opens at 7am

Directions to get to the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

Start the Trail (2 miles roundtrip)

Start the trail at the parking lot where the trail markers are located back up the side of the mountain. The trail is actually paved from the bottom to the top and climbs up an elevation of 500 feet to the viewing platforms. The hikes take about 30 minutes to reach the top and you’ll go through some switchback areas that have fantastic views along the way to enjoy and take some pictures. There is a detour to the tidepool and blowhole area noted below.

Start the Trail (2 miles roundtrip) to Makapu'u trail

Attractions and landmarks at the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail

Check out the Makapu’u lighthouse landmark (there is no access to the lighthouse, just views of it from the top of the observation area)

Enjoy the panoramic views from the observation area at Makapu’u Point to Makapu’u beach and the east side areas below.

Visit the old military pillboxes in the area

Check out the hidden blowhole and the tidepool areas to the side of the hiking trail.

Attractions and landmarks at the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail

Explore the giant tidepool areas at Makapu’u Point

There is a small trail that leads from the left side of the coastal reef to the tidepool areas and even a blowhole. Take care in walking down this steep area with loose rocks and gravel, once at the bottom area you can explore the tidepool areas but also be careful of giant waves that splash on the pools occasionally.

There is an unmarked blowhole that erupts with the intake of seawater traveling through some of the tubes and exits at the blowhole, this is fun to check out at a safe distance. Some people do swim in the larger tidepool areas but do so at your own risk since there are no guards or people watching in the area.


Follow the white arrows on the rocks heading uphill to get back to the main trail area.

Also, bring back what you brought with you and no opala or trash in the area.


Other things to explore in the windward areas of Oahu

There are some other cool beach towns and beaches on the windward side of the island to discover at:

Lanikai Beach

Kailua Beach and town

Waimanalo Beach

Check out Hawaii Kai in East Oahu

Climb Diamond Head for beautiful views of Honolulu

Conclusion on Makapu'u lighthouse trail on the windward side

Conclusion on Makapu’u lighthouse trail on the windward side

For East side fun, you’ll love explore all fun activities and attractions around the windward side to include Waimanalo, Lanikai and Kailua areas. Hope this gives you some great ideas of things to do and see around the town and outlying areas to visit.

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  1. Hawaii Kai - This Hawaii Life - […] Maku’u lighthouse trail […]
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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.