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Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (12)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (1)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (2)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (3)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (4)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (5)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (6)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (7)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (8)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (9)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (10)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (11)

Oahu hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail (12)


This is an easy hike. The park and trailhead are located off of the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) on Oahu. From Honolulu, drive on H1 freeway east until it becomes Highway 72. Follow the road beyond Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach Park until you reach the park area adjacent to the highway on the right.

From the windward side, drive on Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) southeast beyond Kailua, and Sea Life Park, after which the road climbs up toward Makapu‘u Head. The park will be on the left side of the highway.

Makapuu Lighthouse is a wonderful family hike that can accommodate mothers with babies in strollers. It can get hot so wearing a hat, sunscreen and bring plenty of water will help you. Enjoy the hike and happy trails!

Waiakeakua-Water of the gods





According to Hawaiian lore, Kanaloa (a Hawaiian god) would complain to his older brother Kane (another Hawaiian god) that he was hungry and thirsty. Then his big brother Kane would strike the ground and cause water to bubble out. Therefore the name “Waiakeakua” came to be. It means “water of the gods”. Hawaiian royalty would command the strongest and bravest men to capture water from the pools of Waiakeakua. To show their bravery, the intrepid warriors hiked this trail in the middle of the night to collect the precious water of life for their chiefs. The pools sit at the base of Waiakeakua Waterfall which was my destination for the day.

We descended from Pu’u Pia trail down into a jungle of mud. Vines and tree limbs were grabbing us from all angles. The forest at this section of the trail reminded me of the enchanted Fire Swamp from the Princess Bride. There were muddy bogs that sucked my friend two feet deep into the pit. The ferel boars that ran through the woods reminded me of the giant rats that attacked Wesley. Fortunately, they left us alone for the day.

After an hour and a half we reached our final destination of Waiakeakua lower waterfalls. (I’m a slow hiker. Please don’t laugh.) My friend and I sat down on a rock as he explained that one of the rocks I was sitting on was actually a Hawaiian goddess who was transformed into a rock. That really spooked me. I don’t know “who” I was sitting on and really prefer not to sit on “anyone”. Then he began to tell me about the Hawaiian legends of the sacred place. Green inch worms, ants, and tiny snails began to crawl on his shirt while he spoke. He didn’t pull them off or even bat at the mosquitos that buzzed near his face. He had been bewitched by the forest!

Similar to when the Pirates of the Carribbean (the movie) became the cursed crew of the Flying Dutchman. Once under the spell of the ship they grabbed weary sailors and proclaimed “Part of the crew! Part of the ship!” Then slowly the sailors would transform into sea monsters with conch shells for heads, lobster claws for hands and pieces of coral and tentacles jutting out of their orafaces.

Seeing all of the bugs crawl on my friend as he calmly explained the forest’s historical significance in lore reminded me of when Boot Strap Turner explained the curse to his son Will Turner. Will Turner was horrified to watch his father’s transformation while Boot Strap Turner spoke of the curse. However Boot Strap Turner didn’t even realize his own transformation.

After a short story session we began onto the trail again. My ears began hearing a chant in Waiakeakua forest as my friend was speaking to me: “Part of the trail, part of the trees! Part of the trail, part of the trees! ” The trail was so overgrown that the bushes and trees literally pulled and grabbed at my clothing and hair. As if the forest itself was claiming me as one of its own. I’m not sure if I should be proud of if I should be horrified. One of the low lying branches actually pulled my bun off of my head. I had a difficult time detangling my long hair from the branching tentacles that claimed my head.

We made it to the bottom waterfall. Its only a couple of miles but it felt like an eternity because of the thick forest and slippery mud pits and rocks. When my friend asked me why I wanted to stop, I lied and said “I’m too tired.” The truth was that I was having a panic attack and needed to get off of the trail to take a xanax.

Are you feeling adventurous? Do you want to see Waiakeakua Waterfalls for youself? Well too bad! It lies on Board of Water Supply land and they recently started to enforce no trespassing rules by issuing fines to hikers. Its just as well though. Some hikers don’t return.

If you are going to trespass then do it the right way: bring water, flashlight, gps devise, walkie talkies, rain ponchos and cell phones with strong reception. A first aid kit is also handy. Please be respectful and do not litter. Take out the trash that you bring in. Take nothing but photos. Leave nothing but footprints. This blog and I are not responsible for injuries, deaths, or the what the forest spookies may do to you. It is considered an intermediate hike and potentially dangerous due to common flashfloods in the area. Happy Trails!