Hike Makapuu Lighthouse Trail Like a Pro: Insider Tips


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Hike Makapuu Lighthouse Trail Like a Pro: Insider Tips
Steep trail to the lighthouse on Makapuu point on Oahu, Hawaii

If you’re looking for a short and awesome hike in Oahu, the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is a great option. It’s only about 1.5 miles long, but it offers amazing views of the Kaiwi Scenic Shoreline, Oahu’s southeastern coast, and the famous Makapuu Lighthouse.

The trail is paved and easy to follow, so it’s perfect for kids and families. There are a few benches along the way where you can stop to rest and enjoy the views.

The Makapuu Lighthouse Trail: A Quick Overview

At just two miles round-trip, the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is perfect for hikers of all levels. Located on the southeastern tip of Oahu, this trail boasts panoramic views and a photogenic lighthouse backdrop. While the lighthouse itself isn’t accessible, it adds to the charm of the hike.

What to Bring for Your Hike

Before hitting the trail, it’s essential to pack the right gear. As the southeastern part of Oahu is hot and dry, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of water are must-haves. A snack for the summit is a great idea. Despite the paved path, the trail gains 500 feet in elevation, so comfortable sneakers are a must. Don’t forget your camera, but pack it in a backpack to keep your hands free. There are no drinking fountains or restrooms on the trail, so plan accordingly.

Best Time to Go

To beat the heat, aim to start your hike early in the morning or later in the afternoon. If you’re visiting during whale season (November-May), you’re in for a treat. Many hikers spot whales from this vantage point and bring blankets to enjoy the show.

Getting There and Parking

Finding the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is a breeze. Just follow Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) from Honolulu until you reach the park area adjacent to the highway on the right side. The parking lot is free, but it’s a popular trail, so arrive early to secure a spot.

Hiking the Trail

Thanks to its paved surface, the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is family-friendly. You’ll encounter hikers of all ages, including children and even those with strollers. However, parts of the trail are steep, so take breaks, stay hydrated, and savour the stunning vistas.

What to Look For

Hike Makapuu Lighthouse Trail Like a Pro: Insider Tips
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail in Oahu

As you progress along the trail, the scenery changes rapidly. Initially, you’ll see Koko Head to your right, set against a rugged coastline. Soon, you’ll spot the glistening ocean, a prime whale-watching location during the winter. The strategically placed lookout spots enhance your viewing experience, so resist the temptation to veer off the trail.

Continuing upward, you’ll come across another lookout offering binoculars for observing boats and, of course, whales. Keep hiking, and you’ll catch your first glimpse of the lighthouse.

As you reach the top lookout points, keep an eye out for a plaque honouring nine naval aviators who crashed nearby in 1942. And once you’ve scaled the peak, take your time to soak in the breathtaking views. You’ve earned this moment.

Exploring the Area

Since the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is just a short drive from Waikiki, make the most of your time on Oahu’s south-east side. Along Kalanianaole Highway, you’ll find more scenic lookouts, including Makapuu Lookout, Halona Blowhole Lookout, and Lanai Lookout.

About ten minutes from the trail, you’ll discover Kona Brewing Company, an excellent spot for lunch with marina views. Enjoy delicious food and try unique beers from the Kona Brewing Company that you won’t find elsewhere.


Hiking the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is a memorable experience that offers breathtaking vistas of Oahu’s southeastern beauty. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a beginner, this trail caters to all levels, making it a must-do on your Oahu adventure.

So, gather your hiking essentials, plan your visit during the ideal time, and prepare for a hike that will leave you with lasting memories. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery, and be sure to explore the nearby attractions to make the most of your day.

Now, lace up your sneakers and embark on your Makapuu Lighthouse Trail adventure.

You may also like to read our article on : 14 Best Places for Couples to Visit in Honolulu

FAQs on Makapuu Lighthouse Trail Hike

Is the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! This trail is paved and accessible to hikers of all levels, including families with children.

Can I see whales from the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail?

Yes, during whale season (November-May), you’re likely to spot whales from the trail. Many hikers bring binoculars for a better view.

Are there restrooms along the trail?

No, there are no restrooms on the trail, so plan accordingly before you start your hike.

What’s the best time to hike the trail to avoid the heat?

It’s advisable to start early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Are there other attractions near the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail?

Yes, there are several scenic lookouts along Kalanianaole Highway, as well as the Kona Brewing Company, just a short drive away, offering delicious food and unique beers.

About the author

Hi there! I'm Steanlee Thaosen, and I love traveling and writing about it. I take people on virtual journeys to amazing places through my writings. I use exciting words and colorful descriptions to help you feel like you're really there. Come join me on my fun adventures through my awesome blog!

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