Kaena Point: Return to the Western Most Point on Oahu from the North

Joel, Coty and I went to the western most point of Oahu, Kaena Point, a couple months back using the southern route from the leeward side. I recently went back there with Oahu Hikers and Adventurers (OHA) from the north side (Waialua) to check out the seals and albatrosses and also to see if whales and dolphins were now in the scene.

Jim looks towards the sunset


The walk from the north side is as easy as the one from the south side. Here are the directions directly from OHA’s meetup details:

From Honolulu: 1. Take the Interstate H1 W/HI-61 N/Lunalilo Fwy/Pali Hwy ramp 0.2 mi 2. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Interstate H1 W and merge onto I-H-1 W/Lunalilo Fwy 2.2 mi 3. Slight right at I-H-201 W 4.0 mi 4. Take the Interstate H1 W exit toward Pearl City 0.6 mi 5. Merge onto I-H-1 W 4.2 mi 6. Slight right at I-H-2 N 7.8 mi 7. The H-2 will end you will continue ahead as it will turn into Farrington Hwy /State Hwy 930 8. At the traffic circle, continue around to the other side and continue strait as if the circle wasnt there 9. Continue onto Farrington Hwy/State Hwy 930 Destination will be on the at the very end of the road dirt parking lot on the right 6.5 mi Kaena Point State Park, Waialua, Hawaii 96791, 96791 Located on the isolated northwestern tip of O’ahu, Ka’ena Point Natural Reserve houses many endemic as well as indigenous plants and flora found in the state of Hawaii.

The group searches for seals

From the parking lot, it will be a 60-90 minute walk to Kaena Point. It will be on even, but unpaved, road the whole way. Wear shoes that you would be comfortable in stepping over odd shaped rocks.

Looking for whales and waiting for the sunset

The area does not allow pets or bikes after a certain point, be aware of this as you go through a gate at the end. You are also supposed to not get closer than 150 feet of the seals. On this day, we found 3 seals laying on the beach as well as a few albatrosses and a few of their eggs.

Seal 1

We did see a couple whales, but they were far away. We did not see any dolphins but they are common in early parts of the year.

Seal 2

Here is some folklore about the area to fill up space in this post (also from OHA):

A baby boy born on Kauai on a stormy night and this boy was filled with strength as a rainbow appeared above the home where he was born. He was named Haupu and his home faced Oahu. One night while sleeping he woke in a daze with a dream filled mind of warriors paddling from Oahu to wage war on Kauai. Haupu ran to the side of a cliff, picked up a HUGE boulder and with his mighty strength heaved the boulder in the channel towards Oahu between the two islands.

Now, “Kaena” was an Oahu chief and on this very night he organized a fishing expedition. A very large crowd of men showed up with their best fishing nets and set them strategically in the center of certain spots so all they had to do was yell and the fish would swarm right into the nets. When they started yelling they never saw the boulder coming as it descended on the party. Canoes were smashed and Chief Kaena lost his life along with many of his men. The boulder hit with such force that when it hit it shoved a huge amount of sand towards the shore to create this point of land and the boulder so large that it stuck up above the water.

So the story goes that the Point of Kaena was named after their fallen Chief Kaena and the boulder named the Rock of Kauai.

Seal 3

There is a watch tower on the beach that you can climb to get a nice view of the waves on all sides as well as the sunset. Although the bottom door was closed, at least one person climbed up (but ended up with a few scratches on their arms). Be careful if you try this.

Randy was the only one to climb the watch tower

This is a nice, short, and easy trail with an excellent payoff. You are almost guaranteed to see a couple seals and a few albatrosses. During the early months of the year, you may be able to see whales and possibly dolphins.


Explorers: Marvin and many members of OHA.

About Marvin

Endurance hiker and our resident daredevil with a heart of gold. Extreme chocolate raisin eater and master of sensory dominance.

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