Behind the lighthouse, looking east from the point is Puu Pueo, the last mountain before the shore. Standing on the old lighthouse you can look at Puu Pueo and see both the north and south shore of Oahu simultaneously. The combination of white sand, green vegetation, black rocks, and clear blue sky makes for a great view. On the north side, you can see clear to Haliewa, and on the south side, back to Kaena Beach State Park, where you parked you vehicle.
The hike back to the car was at least as good as the hike to the point. Same trail, totally different views. And, if you hike back in the late afternoon, the sun will be behind you, making for spectacular photographic opportunities.
By the time I reached the car, I was very hot, and very thirsty. I did carry a quart of water with me, but finished that about two-thirds of the way home. A quick stop at a local convenience store for another quart of water solved that problem.
The approximately six mile north approach to Kaena Point begins at the end of the paved section of the Farrington Highway, and proceeds over off-road vehicle trails along the north shore of Oahu to the lighthouse at Kaena Point. The trail splits and rejoins with sections closer to the beach. Using a combination of the two, you can head for the shore when it looked especially interesting. You will encounter off-road vehicles on the trail, up to the vehicle barrier. Sometimes they canít see you around bind corners, so listen carefully, and make sure youíre out of their way.
The roads themselves, aside from the numerous small bumps, dips, and craters, are flat. There are no climbs on this hike. However, you do have to pay attention to your footing, since there are numerous small rocks and boulders on the road, and a missed step could cause a turned ankle. Once youíre past the vehicle barrier, itís a comfortable stroll to the point. Take your time, itís not that long of a hike, and there are new views around every corner.
This is a completely different hike from the south approach, even though it reaches the same destination. First, there is more than one trail, or variations on the same trail, if you prefer. You can follow the old vehicle road, which averages about 50 yards from the shore, and provides the quickest route to the point, but youíd miss the spectacular coastline, and the multitude of coves and inlets along this portion of the hike, many of which offer great places to take a water or snack break. Moving from the inner road to the branches nearer the ocean, you will extended the hike by about a half-hour, but it is worth it.
About halfway to the point, you reach a vehicle barrier constructed entirely of boulders and a narrow metal gate, which very effectively prevents all vehicle traffic from proceeding. You, of course, can step through the gate (or carry your bike) and continue towards the point. One thing you will notice on the north side is the trade winds keeping you cooler than the south side. Theyíre constant, and come right off the ocean. Very refreshing. Also, the terrain is more varied on the north side, since there is much more flat ground between the base of the hills and the beaches and coves. Up to the barrier, thereís some fine four-wheeling. Just be sure to get off the trail if you hear one coming, since there are lots of blind corners, and you canít depend on them to see you.
Heading back on north side, you will find once again that the hike is quite different when walking in the opposite direction, but for different reasons than the south side. When you return, you see trail branches and other route options that you donít see when walking toward the point. There seems to be an infinite number of path variations, depending upon whether you want to stay close to the ocean, or up closer to the old Farrington. There are lots of good places to stop and take in the view, so be sure to leave plenty of time for this hike.
Any time of year will bring hot and sunny weather, but if youíre here in the winter months, you may get a chance to see nesting Albatross. Also, in the winter months, the surf might be high and spectacular. Water, protective clothing, snacks, sunscreen, camera, and film will do it for this hike. You might also consider whatever safety equipment, such as a first aid kit, that you normally carry.
Whether you like to hike, mountain bike, four-wheel, surf fish, bird watch, or see wildlife, Kaena Point in Hawaii offers something for everyone, and is a small slice of paradise on the big island of Oahu.