Outdoors Oahu - Makapu'u Lighthouse

Blog Post created by kharada46 on Mar 29, 2014

I'm going to start a new series focused on outdoor activities.  With all the dining, I really do need to GET OUT and do some physical activity!  For my first installment, I'll be going over the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail.  This is a moderate 2 mile (roundtrip) hike on a paved surface out on the eastern point of Oahu.  I'm not as hardcore as merb, so I'll likely stick to the easier hikes for now, though this outdoor segment will take time to build up, as weather and lack of time has made it difficult to actually get out on the weekends. 

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Anyhow, as mentioned earlier, the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail is located on the eastern tip of Oahu.  To get there from anywhere on the island, you'll want to get onto the Interstate H-1 heading east.  You'll remain on the freeway until in ends and turns into Kalanianaole Hwy (72) and continue on for quite some time, past Hanauma Bay.

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Once you turn into the driveway, you can either park along the road or take your chances driving down to the tiny parking lot in hopes of finding a stall.  Unless you go first thing in the morning, you likely won't get a stall. 

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It's important to not leave valuables in your car here (or anywhere really) as the area, like other popular sites, are often targeted by thieves.  Sunscreen and water is also very important, as the area is very hot and has no shade.  There also aren't any restroom facilities whatsoever. 


Once you find parking, you can begin your hike.  The hike is entirely paved as mentioned earlier and used to be an access road.  Even though it's paved, it does get quite steep in areas and other areas are suffering from erosion with segments of the pavement that have fallen away. 



Despite this, it is a relatively easy and enjoyable hike with great views. 



During whale season, you can often spot whales from the upper end of the hike.  On clear days, you can even see the island of Molokai in the distance. 



The lighthouse itself has an additional trail from the main trail, however, it is fenced off and off limits.  The lighthouse (I believe) is still active, though is now automated.  You can see it before reaching the lookout at the end of the trail, and arguably this is a better view.



Nevertheless, you should continue on to the lookout at the end of the trail for its spectacular views of Mañana and Kaohikaipu Islands (facing east) and a birds eye view of the lighthouse itself. 



Facing back west from the lookout. 



Also near the trail end lookout is a small memorial.  The memorial is for the crew of Consolidated Catalina PBY-5A Seaplane back in 1942, while on patrol around Oahu. 



After you're done taking in the views, you simply turn back and head back down. 



Sunrise would be amazing from the lookout, but the trail opens from 7am and closes at 6pm.  The police do regularly patrol the area for thieves and for trespassers, so if you decide to try sunrise, proceed at your own risk. 


Unfortunately the above pictures came out kind of funny... The polarizing filter probably shouldn't have been used for these late afternoon photos.  I'll have to go back and re-take the photos someday!