Hiking to Ka’Ena Point, Oahu

It’s the northwestern-most point on the island of Oahu, and for only a short drive away from Honolulu the difference in the crowd is like night and day.

My dad and I had rented a car for the weekend since he didn’t need to go into work until Monday. The day before that we had gone east of Honolulu driving past Koko Head to a light hike up Makapu’u Point, eventually going up near Kailua and coming back down for dinner in Honolulu’s china town.

Now it was Sunday… the final day with the car. We had our sights set on the west side.

We left from the swap meet at Aloha Stadium and drove about 50 min west to Ka’Ena Point State Park.

Ka’Ena Point can be reached in two different ways. The route up through Haleiwa seemed nice, but we decided to drive along the southern coast since it was a side of the island we hadn’t seen before.

It was a gorgeous drive!

Much of the drive was spent along the coastline, passing tons of beautiful parks with stunning mountains to our side. We had a jeep with the top down and it made all the difference catching the stunning mountains towering above us.

While we made this trip a brush fire had been going on in some of these areas. So, the mountains and trees were an uncharacteristic black. Later, we saw a woman on the news describe the change in appearance as something out of a horror film.

When we got there, however, there was nothing horrific about the state park. The entire area was absolutely stunning, and it gave a new face to the Oahu many people imagine.

At the very end of the road leading into the park, there is a large dirt parking lot on your right. We parked there and continued to the point on foot.

The majority of the hike is flat and on a wide trail. It is a mellow hike, that’s for sure, but you can’t beat the stunning views as you make your way over to the point.

The mountains to our side we covered with a stunning light brown and even yellowish brush reminiscent of California’s central coast, and with gorgeous blue water and tide pools on your other side, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a tropical Big Sur.

This hike definitely did not have in it the kind of views one would have in their mind when imagining Hawaii, but that is all the more reason why I am grateful we made this trip.

It gave us a more complete picture of this island beyond the famous north shore and the windy green the east side.

For a brief period of time, you get taken up a smaller trail. It passes over a point of the old dirt road that collapsed into the ocean.

Towards the end, you’ll find a large wall and a gate. Close the gate behind you when you enter and exit. Ka’Ena Point is a wild life preserve and the gate is meant to keep out predators that might harm the sensitive area.

Once in the gate, you spend a little more time going through that tropical Big Sur like scenery until you cross into an even more unique aspect of Ka’ena Point …

The sand dunes!

That’s right. Ka’ena Point is the only part of the island that is home to beach sand dunes. It was so surreal stumbling on these that I felt like I was transported to New England.

And the draw of Ka’ena Point doesn’t stop there. It is also home to amazing wildlife.

While we were down by the tide pools we saw all your typical small fish on top of a beautiful small eel that was mesmerizing to watch traveling from tide pool to tide pool slipping through crack and crevasses.

Even a seal popped up just 10 to 15 feet away from us hanging out in the tide pool.

It’s not really a place to swim, but there’s even a beautiful coral beach at the very edge of the point. It would have been a great place to relax and set up a little picnic.

On our way back we were exposed to yet another stunning feature of this point. The way it all changed with the cloud coverage. For most of our way hiking back, we were in a very slight rain (practically a mist), and the cloud coverage had totally changed the bright scenery into a cooler pallet.