After a return to this outstanding park and hiking trail, Ka’ena Point State Park left me in awe once again. A recent visit in February 2023, gave me a wider perspective on Hawaii lava, geology, and landscapes. Kaena Point is one of Oahu’s most beautiful coastal hiking trails. In my opinion, this coastal hiking trail is one of the best beach trails in Oahu. So please enjoy this article that illustrates both trails from the north and the west and the scenic views along the way.

Kaena Point Hike: A Guide to Hiking this Beautiful trail
Things to do in Honolulu hiking

The Kaena Point Hike is one that offers not only spectacular ocean views and amazing wildlife, but also has some historical significance.The railroad around Ka’ena Point is positioned along this spectacular coastal Hiking Trail in Oahu.

Ka’ena point gate code

During historical times, people needed a way to get around and transport goods. In those days, transportation of people and goods prove to be necessary between Honolulu and the sugar plantations in Kahuku and Waialua. During World War II, the U.S. Army utilize the trains to get access to Ka’ena Point Military Reservation. By the 1920’s and 1930’s, the train was used for weekend fisherman excursions.

Ka'ena Point Gate code
Hiking in Hawaii
Ka’ena Point Gate code

Ka’ena Point Bird Sanctuary

Another wonderful feature of this Hawaii state park is the wildlife. You will be impressed by a particular large sea bird called Albatross which migrate here to nest and mate. These Laysan albatross (P. immutabilis- endangered) are also known as “nomads of the ocean” and are extremely interesting to watch. It’s amazing that these birds can live up 50 years and will sometimes fly 2,000 miles in one day. The albatross can actually remain out to sea for up to five years before returning to the island of which they were born.

Birds of Ka’ena Point Hawaii

During mating and courtship, you’ll see the rendezvous dance and shenanigans of which are performed with the same mate for life. The other species of this large sea bird is the blackfooted albatross which is quite rare.

Ka’ena Point Albatross Season

Some of the other wildlife you will find here are sea mammals. The sea lions and seals find their perfect comfy spot on the beach to take a nap. The green sea turtles can be found feeding on the reefs along the coast. And the endangered native Yellow Faced Bee are in the protection program. This includes the installation of nesting blocks and they are not to be disturbed.

Kaena point gate
kaena hiking trail

The Geology and Views of Ka’ena Point

Not only are the history and beauty both interesting and spectacular at Ka’ena Point State Park, but its geology is just as fascinating. Geological features here include the reef rocks and marine sediments along the sea level coastline make up the stunning picturesque views. Large coral and algae deposits formed slightly above sea level about 125,000 years ago. Formed 400,000 to 500,000 years ago is the Ka’ena deposits that are now seen around at the point of the Keawa’ula coastline.

hiking in Hawaii Oahu
best hikes on oahu hawaii
kaena point trail
Kaena Point Trail

The Beautiful Western Tip of Oahu

Keep in mind that there are two entry points to this trail; the first access point is via the Yokahama Bay (the Leeward Side-west side) and the Mokuleia side where the views are sensational. Other reminders are that this park, Ka’ena Point State Park, no animals are allowed here including dogs. There are some areas that you can drive through where you can go off roading, but an all terrain vehicle or 4×4 is mostly recommended here.

kaena point trail
kaena point state part hike

Kaena Point Hike: Greatest Hike on Oahu’s Westside

Starting this stunning hiking trail from the other side at the Western part of Oahu is even more striking to the eyes. As you trek along this route, Hawaii quickly reminds you that the islands nature is more powerful than you’ll ever know! In my opinion, exploring the west side on this trail is even more beautiful than from the other route (from the Mokulēʻia or north side).

Keana Point Trail (Ohau Hawaii): State Park sunset hike

This impressive pathway shows you all the lava remnants, boulders, and rocks created by volcanic activity happening from many years ago. The waves crashing up on this side will certainly give you a new appreciation for how land is shaped and carved.

Bouldering In The Arch and Cactus Flowers

Enjoy these stunning views along the path from Makua to Kaena Point at about 2.25 miles you will reach the Natural Area Reserve. But do not rush along this trek because there are a few extra spectacular scenic coast carvings you won’t want to miss. This is as a result of the erosion and powerful crashing waves are carving away at the lava land along the coast. These arches are beautiful works of art. This is why you may want to keep a look out for them.

Kaena Point Hike from Waianae

As you enjoy this beautiful nature works of art, you can also stop and smell the roses. Or I should say indulge in all the cactus flowers. These flowers are shaped like a sort of Star Fish when fully blooming. These beauties are called Starfish Flower or stapelia grandiflora. The cactus flower is also known as carrion plant. Who would have thought you could see blue ocean waters and vibrant cactus flowers in the same area.

Kaena Point Secret Pillbox Hike

After your stroll along the coast and enjoy views and the flowers, now its time to check out the climb up to the secret pillbox. You may be asking what does pillbox mean in Hawaii? These pillboxes are hidden bunkers made of concrete built mostly into the hillside at higher elevations. They were primarily used during World War 2. Utilized as lookouts or defensive weaponry.

Hiking the Ka'ena Point Pillbox Hike from Oahu's West Side.

Hiking the Ka’ena Point State Park Trail

The coastal hiking trail to Ka‘ena Point from the north side is approximately 3.5 miles and rated as moderate. It follows along an old railroad bed and former dirt road that ran along the westernmost point of O‘ahu. The trail leads to Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve, a remote and scenic protected area sheltering some of the remaining traces of coastal sand dune habitat on the island, and home to native plants and sea birds. Enjoy the sight of whales as well, nearby this shoreline during the winter months.

Best hikes in Hawaii Oahu


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  1. Love this guide to hiking Ka’ena Point State Park! Would love to check out the coastal hiking trails of Oahu the next time I visit Hawaii.

    1. Oh goodness, this trail has some of the most beautiful coastal views from the trail! It’s awesome! Thanks so much!

  2. paulpassingthrough

    Great video of the albatross doing their dance! It sounds like a fun hike. Why is rated as moderate? It seems fairly straightforward.

    1. Well, I believe it is because its quite a long hike. I believe we did about 6.5 miles (round trip); through some rugged trail. Most of it is flat however. That’s what I think.. Glad you enjoyed the albatross courting and dancing for their partners.. lol

  3. Hawaii is on the bucket list, and this particular region looks stunning. Would love to see the wildlife. I’m a bit intrigued by those trains and am wondering if they are available for visitors.

    1. Hawaii is a wonderful place to experience! And that bird sanctuary is amazing. The trains have been put out of service, all that is left are the railroad tracks and small lower bunker type spots that one usually just hikes on through. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Ka’ena Point in Hawaii looks stunning Shannon and we’d definitely enjoy hiking this coastal trail. I found the history interesting but especially love your video of the albatross.

    1. Oh, yes, you and your family certainly would enjoy the Hawaii experience! So happy you enjoyed it!

  5. Looks like a beautiful area and a great walk! We went as far as Mokoleia beach but didn’t make it to this corner. So many stunning areas in Hawaii!

    1. There really are so many gorgeous areas in Hawaii. We’ve adventured on many hikes here, and hoping to do many more soon! Thank you so much for reading!

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