The Makapu’u tide pools are one of Oahu’s most gorgeous places, and unlike many other tourist traps, this one is off the beaten path. Thousands of visitors stroll past the tidal pools every week on their route to the Makapu’u Lighthouse, unaware that they are missing out on one of the island’s coolest sites.
Makapu’u tide pools can be reached in two ways. You may either scramble down the rocks from the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail or scramble from Alan Davis Beach/Chair. Pele’s I’ve tried both and will discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
How to get to Makapu’u Tide Pools?
Setting your GPS to the Makapuu point lighthouse path is the easiest way to get to the trailhead of the Makapu’u tide pools. If your GPS fails to locate the trailhead, follow the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy 72) until you reach the sign. Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline has the trail. If you’re coming from Waimanalo Beach, the Makapu’u Beach Park on your left is immediately around the corner (0.9 miles). It’s 2.6 miles past the Halona blowhole on the right if you’re coming from Honolulu.
The parking lot for the lighthouse trail is available. The parking lot was nearly packed when we arrived. Fortunately, the parking gods smiled at us, and a spot opened up just as we arrived. Because parking is free, it would be a good idea to come a bit earlier to avoid the crowds and the heat. For this one,
The route begins at the parking lot’s far end. A sequence of yellow poles will lead you to a pleasant concrete way. WARNING: Keep valuables out of your car. This parking lot is notorious for having a high number of break-ins!
Makapu’u Tide Pools How To Get There
The hike is merely a 2.19-mile journey to Makapuu tide pools. The struggle down to the tide pool is included. On the way down the collections, though, you’ll need to take your time and keep an eye on your surroundings. I’m also confident that you’ll want to soak in the scenery, so plan on spending at least 2-3 hours on this journey because it’s far too beautiful to rush. The trial’s first half is a little misleading. It’s a lovely, well-kept road. Be warned: it’s all uphill from here.
In little more than a mile, you ascend over 300 feet. While the climb is not particularly difficult, you will find yourself breathing heavily and sweating a little. The hike to Makapuu Tide Pools begins around 0.8 miles from the parking area, at the THIRD rest stop. You’ve arrived at the appropriate location when you see the telescopes and a sign that reads “A sanctuary for Kohola-Humpback whales.” You’ll notice a short, worn-out trail off to the left as you face the telescopes.
The trail follows the cliff’s edge. This is the path you should opt for. You can’t get lost as long as you’re heading for the pools. Take your time to determine the ideal way for you, keep an eye on your steps, and be cautious. You don’t want to trip on the lava rocks. Maintain your focus on the prize. It is unquestionably worthwhile.
Pro tip: If you want to have the Makapu’u tide pools all to yourself (assuming no one else is there), try sneaking onto the dirt trail while no one is watching. If someone notices you, they will almost certainly follow you.
We’ve reached the most challenging part of the hike. It’s a steep hill with many loose rocks on the way down. There isn’t much of a trail here. A few arrows are painted on the stones to point you in the right direction. The majority of the descent down the cliff, however, is improvised. The tide pools can be seen below. You can’t get lost as long as you’re heading for the collections. Take your time to determine the ideal way for you, keep an eye on your steps, and be cautious. You don’t want to trip on the lava rocks. Maintain your focus on the prize. It is unquestionably worthwhile.
Take a moment to celebrate when you reach the bottom. You’ve done it! This location is hypnotic. Swimming is possible in the pools, especially on calm days. A variety of gorgeous fish can be found in the crystal clear blue water. Aside from the spectacular tide pools, a blowhole is far superior to the famed Halona blowhole.
Be cautious when entering the tide pools. The rocks are slick. The waves were massive on the day we happened to be there. When the gigantic waves slammed against the collections, a stream of water surged 30 feet into the air. Keeping that in mind, keep an eye out for the waves. The massive waves also provided plenty of water to the blowhole, which erupted every 30 seconds or so. I would strongly advise you to pack plastic bags or other forms of protection for your electronic equipment, as well as a dry place to store your clothes. When the blowhole activates, water is sprayed all over the area!
You can return up the same route you came down once you’ve had your fill of the breathtaking views and water attractions. You can typically find an easy way up most ledges if you look hard enough. Fortunately, if you’re wearing the right shoes, you’ll have plenty of traction on the lava rocks. On the way up, the painted arrows on the rocks are a little easier to identify, and you’ll be back at the top in no time!
You have two options once you reach the summit. You have the option of turning right to go up to the lighthouse or turning left to return to your car. We had a few other places we wanted to see that day, so we saved the lighthouse for another day. The wonderful thing about the return trip to the car is that all of that tough uphill has suddenly miraculously converted into downhill! Check out our blogs or if you’re looking for more Oahu experiences.