The furthest West point on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is called Ka’ena Point.
What makes this spot so unique, is you can only reach this point by foot. In fact, it is impossible to drive the entire coastline of the island. You will eventually need to travel by foot if you want to visit this spot.
There are actually two different trails you can take. One coming from the south in Waianae. The other from Mokuleia on the North Shore. Both of them will lead you to the same ending point. Both trails are beautiful and won’t leave you disappointed.
I’ve done both. However I’m just going to share with you my experience from the Northern side.
This route is roughly 5.9 miles round-trip.
Keep this in mind if you are bringing kids along. Here is my ladybug at about the 5 minute point. I believe her exact words were, “my legs can’t go another step!” Notice the parking lot still in view behind her! Little did she know, she had a long trek ahead of her! ha
Another thing to keep in mind, is there is absolutely NO SHADE on this trail. It can get very hot. I suggest you reserve this one for an early morning hike or a sunset hike when it is a little cooler. We did this for sunset which was great.
Also, this is a nesting area for many sea birds and other wild animals so dogs are NOT allowed on this trail. In fact, there is a fenced in bird sanctuary once you reach Ka’ena point where you can walk around (on the path) and see these amazingly huge Albatross birds. I couldn’t believe how large they were!
Anyway, back to the trail….
You will be walking along an old dirt road so it’s a very easy trail to follow. It isn’t difficult to hike either. It isn’t maintained however, so it is very rutted up.
On one side, you will have the Waianae Mountain Range. The other side is the vast Pacific ocean. Along this coast, there are several little beaches you can stop at if you choose. You can snorkel, swim or just take in the view.
When we went last winter, it was during whale season. During our winter months (December-May), the whales migrate to Hawaii to give birth. Humpback Whale spotting are pretty easy and Ka’ena Point is one of the best places to see them! Just look right where the waves begin to swell. Your first sign of seeing a whale will more than likely be their “spray.” They will blow out every minute or two. You will also more than likely see them breaching or slapping the water with their tails. They seem so playful!
We were lucky enough to have a pod of whales join us on our trek that day. We could see them breaching in the water and it felt like they were following us! It was a fun distraction for the kids on this long hike.
There were several big boulders the kids enjoyed climbing along the trail too. They get their need to seek adventure from me I think! ha
Once we reached the bird sanctuary, we entered the fence and followed along the path. Remember not to disturb the animals at all. A little further down, and you will reach the lighthouse. This is where we saw a big Hawaiian Monk Seal resting in the tide pool. These animals are very highly protected in Hawaii. Keep a distance of at least 10′ to prevent yourself from getting a hefty fine!
We hung around the point and watched the sunset. It was absolutely beautiful!
Once we were ready, we headed back. Don’t be like us and come unprepared for the dark. I highly suggest you pack flashlights! It was a pretty long trek back with just a cell-phone flashlight!
This will go down as one of my favorite hiking trips. It’s very rare for us to be able to hike with the entire family. And, on this day, even my hubby was around to join us!
It was long but so worth it!