Kaena Point is known as the place on Oahu where the north shore meets the west side. It’s the westernmost part of the island miles away from any urbanization. As you travel towards this point, you’ll notice that the road ends and becomes nothing more than a pathway over a rugged landscape that can only be reached by foot.
There are two ways of getting to Kaena Point. It is located at the northwest tip of the island. So it can be reached by traveling along the west coast. Or, alternatively, you can reach the opposite side by traveling along the north coast. However, keep in mind that buses do not travel this far. To get to Kaena Point, you must travel by car.
Traveling along the west coast, you’ll follow Farrington Highway until it turns into a two-lane road. You’ll pass through small towns and eventually come to a nice beach called Yokohama Bay. Just past this beach is where the paved road ends into a parking area. The path does continue but becomes more narrow and can only be accessed by foot.
Traveling along the north coast, you’ll be leaving Haleiwa and follow Farrington Highway. Again, the road will end into a small parking area. And you must continue down the path by foot.
Kaena is actually the third volcano that helped form Oahu, erupting some 5 million years ago. It is the oldest of Oahu’s volcanoes.
Small fishing villages existed along the Kaena coastline in the late 1800s. In 1898, a railway system was installed. This was the only major transport existing at the time, which connected Honolulu to Kahuku. Later during the war, a military reservation was established. You can still find some of the old bunkers and pillboxes that were used during that time. In 1946, a tsunami washed away parts of the coastline and railway. One year later, the railway was abandoned.
Today, we have the beauty of the rugged coastline that we’re able to explore while hiking the trail. The hike is about 2.5 miles from each side.
On the westside, you’ll see great views of the Waianae Coast. And on the north side, you take in the beauty of the north shore coastline.
Listen for blow holes and you’ll experience huge spouts of water shooting into the air. There are places you can climb down onto the rocky shoreline. But be extra careful. Large waves can pound on these rocks at any given moment, making it very dangerous. If it’s wintertime, you might be rewarded with a few whale sightings.
Keep in mind, there are no lifeguards here to make rescues. Tide pools may be tempting to climb down to. But rocks can be unstable and slippery. And waves can be much more fierce than other parts of the island. So please be safe and stay on the trail.
As you continue towards the Point, you’ll come upon a fenced area with gated sliding doors to allow access. You’ve reached the nature reserve that is home to many native Hawaiian plants and animals.
Continue beyond the fence and the trail becomes sandier. You’ll start to experience some of the wildlife that Kaena Point is known for. Albatros make their nesting grounds here. Monk Seals will be sunbathing on the shore. There will be many more seabirds flying overhead or sitting on top of their nests in the sand.
Please keep your distance though. These are endangered species. And the project here at Kaena Point is an effort to conserve the native Hawaiian wildlife.
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Image by: When To Be Where