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Makapuu Lighthouse
Makapuu Lighthouse

Makapuu Lighthouse

Kalaniana'ole Hwy, turnout above Makapu'u Beach, Hawaii

The Basics

The scenic Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is entirely paved and stretches for 1.2 miles (2 kilometers). The hike affords views of Makapu’u Beach, Koko Head, and, on clear days, the neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai. Lucky hikers will also see humpback whales breaching in winter months. There are also several delights along the trail, including military pillboxes and teeming tide pools.

Most travelers hike the trail independently, while many group and private tours of East Oahu and the entire island include stops at the Makapu’u Point Lookout.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Oahu

star-5
Nice view at top, easy hike, beautiful pics of the lighthouse.
Brenda_R, Oct 2021
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and Shuttle Service
All paved, unless you veer off for pics, easy trail, steady incline to the top, well worth the trip, my watch said we hiked 2.5 miles total. The pictures and view at the top all well worth the walk.
star-5
Great views
Elisa, Sep 2021
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and Shuttle Service
Great weather, helpful driver full of pointers, an easy hike with stunning views. Fully paved trail so easy for people with strollers or those who need to take it slower.
star-5
Did the job!
C_H, Jun 2021
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and Shuttle Service
The shuttle picked us up on time. We were given 2 hours to do the hike and enjoy the views. It was very easy and had a great viewpoint at the top. Just a FYI, there are no restrooms at the lighthouse trail or other stops.
star-4
Wonderful
Leslie_F, Jun 2021
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and Shuttle Service
The wonderful views on the walk to see the lighthouse. Worth the walk. The paved walkway was a big help.
star-4
Space Filling Tour
James_C, May 2021
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and Shuttle Service
The tour was nice, relaxing, and worth the $30 cost. However, we will rent a car for part of our next visit to the island. The tour was good enough, our guide ("Cousin" Marc) was great, and quite entertaining. But, this tour would have been better with our on rental car. The time spent at the Lighthouse site was adequate. Though I would have liked a short stop off for a small lunch following the tour because the walk up the mountain left me and my family quite hungry. That being said, you may want to bring something to eat afterwards.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Makapu’u Point is ideal for lighthouse enthusiasts and anyone looking for a lovely, low-impact outdoor experience.

  • There is no access to the lighthouse.

  • Good walking shoes are recommended, as are a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. On cloudy days, tote a rain jacket.

  • The trail is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, though it does have a moderate grade to the lighthouse. The side trail to the tide pools is not accessible.

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How to Get There

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is located on Oahu’s southeastern point, about 16 miles (26 kilometers) from downtown Honolulu. If driving, park on the street or in the free Makapu’u Point Lookout parking lot (opens at 7am) at the base of the hike.

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When to Get There

The trail is open year-round. Oahu has mild tropical weather but can be wet in winter and quite hot in summer. No matter the time of year, arrive early in the day to avoid crowds and heat.

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Makapu’u Tide Pools

Once you reach the third rest stop along the lighthouse trail, you can climb down a challenging, rocky trail to the Makapu’u tide pools. Made of black volcanic rock, the pools host sea stars, crabs, fish, and intermittent blowholes. Be advised that this portion of the hike is unpaved and best suited to experienced hikers. There have been serious injuries and deaths at the tide pools—visitors are advised to stay far from the area during high tide.

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