A fabulous paved 2 mile trail to a picturesque lighthouse at Makapuu Point on the windward side of Oahu. The hike is fairly steep, but can be done with little ones in a backpack or via a stroller.
We did this hike in the late afternoon. It is a paved pathway that steadily climbs up. Pretty rough on your calves, but it's definetly doable with children and with strollers. My teens were not happy that you couldnt get any closer to the lighthouse. I think they were expecting to walk on in, but you can only view from a distance. There is the Makapuu beach with restrooms either right before or right after the trail depending which way you are coming from. Water is a good idea especially if you go during the heat of the day. Sea Life park is across the street from the Makapuu beach and the Halona Blowhole is about a mile or two away, so those things can be planned together. Enjoy!
My seven year old and I did this hike on our last trip to Oahu. Even though at five she hiked Diamond Head on her own, this hike had her a little winded. The beginning climbs quickly and is in full sun. We didnt feel any breeze until about an hour into it (she was making a lot of stops for water). It may just have been her mood that day, but this wasnt the easiest for her. We saw a lot of people wearing their babies or pushing strollers but didnt pass too many kids walking themselves. Dont get me wrong, it's doable and it's fun and it's worth it in the end when you get to the view, but our time hiking was extended because of the heat and my daughter stopping for breaks. The views are spectacular and it felt good "work out" after hanging out at the beach on Waikiki. Bring lots of water and wear sunscreen!
During our visit to Oahu, we’d planned a hike to Diamond Head. Problem was we were turned away at the parking lot because it was full. On an overcast Tuesday morning. In March.
Temporarily flustered by this minor setback, I pulled out the list I’d made of “backup” hikes and decided we should check out the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail instead.
Turned out to be well worth the visit.
Why? Two words: The views. Not only will you take in amazing views of Oahu’s southeastern coastline (including both Koko Head and Koko Crater), but from the lookout point at the end of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most stunning images ever: a historic red-roofed lighthouse set against the backdrop of the deep blue sea below. (Note: The lighthouse is not open for access.)
From here, you’ll also enjoy magnificent views of the windward coast and offshore islets, which are wildlife sanctuaries for Hawaiian seabirds. And if you time it right, you might spot a humpback whale during their migration (November through May).
Pack a lunch and if you can brave the wind at the top of the trail, you’ll enjoy a meal with a wonderful view.
The hike is 2 miles round-trip and involves a steady uphill climb to a 500-foot elevation; takes about 2 hours to complete. Trail is paved and stroller friendly. No restrooms or picnic areas are available.
This is a hot, dry and windy trail so apply sunscreen liberally, wear a hat and dress in layers. Bring along plenty of water and take breaks whenever the little ones need to rest.
Also, bring binoculars. Better to spot the humpbacks with, for sure. But binoculars also come in handy trying to spot all the amazing Hawaiian birds that call this trail home.
My husband and I were driving with the boys on the east side of Oahu trying to think of something to do when we started coming up to the entrance of the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail. It was like a angels came down from the sky to say "This is what you should do today with the boys." So, we pulled into the parking lot to get a stall. I don't remember exactly how many stalls there are, but there aren't very many. We had to wait a couple minutes for a stall, which most parents know isn't the greatest thing to do with kids. So, if you choose to do this trail, I would suggest getting an early start of about 9:30am. It will be cooler and you'll have a great chance of getting a parking stall.
To sum it up, the trail is super easy. It's an asphalt 2-mile paved path that leads up and around the side of a mountain. There isn't really much to see along the trail but weeds and a nice view of the ocean. We had fun with our boys, though, because they had a blast picking the seed pods off the ground and opening them up to get the seeds out. The pods were from one of the weeds. And the path was wide enough that people could pass us who were going up or down the climb without us having to move aside or get in their way.
Once you get to the top of the trail there's a great view of Sandy Beach, where the waves are huge and you can watch people body surf or boogie board. Best of all, though, is it's a great place to see whales during whale season. I've only seen a whale once, but it really is quite amazing to watch them jump out of the water.
One our little excursion with our boys, we didn't quite make it to the top. Due to lack of planning, we didn't have enough bottled water with us, which is really all you need. We arrived about 11:30am, so the sun was already beating down on us. That plus the heat coming back up from the asphalt... well, we decided to attempt the hike another time with the boys. I'm sure if we had enough water we would have made it to the top.
We saw people walking with their dogs, umbrellas (for sun protection), wearing slippers, and in swim suits. There were quite a variety of people. It's a really easy hike for pretty much anyone, so if you're taking a trip to the East Side of the Island to check out "the blow hole" or Sandy beach, you should stop by the Makapuu Trail for the great view at the top.
A little side note: When you're done with your hike, maybe drive to the opposite side of Sandy Beach. There are some great tidepools there that the kids can play in and try to find sea creatures. It's safe, fun, and a great place to cool off after your hike.