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Kaena Point and Pillbox


"We don't stop hiking because we get old, we get old because we stop hiking."

Updated: January 16, 2017

Location: A stroll to the western-most point of the island, Kaena Point.

Type: Coastal hike/ridge hike

Hike Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

Total Time: 4 hours round trip to point and pillbox

Distance: ~5 miles

Elevation: ~700 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: yes (to bunkers- no)
  • Pet Friendly: yes, however no pets allowed in the Natural Area Reserve (to bunkers- no)
  • The Waianae side is extremely hot so be sure to bring sun screen. Most of the hike is out in the open.
  • You can do this hike from two sides, Waianae or Mokuleia. Both trails are the same distance.
  • People also go off-roading here, so bring your 4x4 and have fun!
  • There are tide pools all along the side as you are walking to the point, with the better tide pools at the end.
  • Hawaiian Monk Seals can also be seen down in the tide pools, but do not touch or aggravate them.
  • There are also endangered seabirds and native flora once you pass the gated area. Please take care of the Aina and do not disturb the native plants and animals on your hike here.
  • This is a good hike for a sunset! The sun sets on the water as you look out from the point.
  • The bunker can be strenuous and will add on another hour to your hike. There are three bunkers on this hike.

Your hiking backpack

  • Sun Screen
  • 2 Liter of water
  • Snacks
  • GoPro/camera


Starting from Waianae side, take Farrington Hwy towards Makaha. Drive all the way towards the end of the road, past Yokohama Beach. At the end you will see a small parking lot and a sign showing the start of the Kaena Point Hike. From Mokuleia side, take Farrington Hwy towards Wailua, past the Dillingham Airfield. Parking will be at the end of the road next to Mokuleia Beach. We took the route from Waianae side.

Our Journey

We took the route from Waianae side past Makaha. I think this side is a lot nicer than the Mokuleia side. You can park cars on both sides and go from one side to the other. However, we went back the same way. The Kaena Point hike itself, isn't anything too hard. It is just a flat dirt road for about 2 and a half miles in. You will see people with 4x4 trucks driving in and out on the trail as well. It is just a leisure walk in the hot sun to Kaena Point. Along the way, there are some nice tide pool spots to relax in, however don't go in if the water is stagnant. There is also a natural arch formation on the left side, which is a nice spot to take pictures at. After about one and a half to two hours you will reach the Kaena Point Reserve. Go through the metal gates to go to the point. You will see the native plants and the endangered birds with nests in the sand. Theres a WWII bunker at the end and this marks the end point of the island. Be sure to head down to the tide pools to see some Hawaiian Monk Seals! After a short break and picture taking, we headed back through the metal gate and turned left. Follow the gate towards the mountain and there is a trail leading up the mountain. This is the path to reach the Kaena Point Bunkers. There are 3 bunkers on the mountain. The top bunker being the largest and nicest view. This part of the hike is very steep, so be sure to have enough water to last you on the way up, down, and back to your car. There is no shade, so it will be very hot. Take your time and watch your step. We explored the bunkers a little and one of the bunkers actually goes deep into the mountain. It's dark, so we didn't explore too much. Maybe next time, we'll come back for that. It took about another 30 to 45 minutes for us to reach the third bunker. We headed back down and back to our cars. Total time for the hike was about 5 hours. This hike is also great for a sunset. The sun sets on the Waianae side on the mountain, so I'm guessing if you go from the Mokuleia side that would be good for a sunrise. Check out our most recent adventure!























































The sign marking the start of the trail.

























Walking along the dirt road, heading to Kaena Point.

























Warning sign. I didn't see any lifeguards here.























































It was cool how the plant curves that way.

Probably because of the wind or way the sun shines.

























The hike is hot with no shade. Bring plenty of sunscreen and water.

























Looking back the way we came. Not even half way yet!




















Some cool stuff to see on the way! A mini arch.

























This is the natural arch along the way.

























We went down the rocks and took a closer look.

























Under the arch.

























Definitely a cool place to take pictures!




















We also took some pictures on top of the arch!




















The arch is maybe a little more than half way to Kaena Point.

























There's some cool tide pools and spots on the left as you're walking to Kaena Point.

























Getting closer.

























Man that was a far walk!

























Continue walking on the path until you see the metal gate.























































You are now entering the preserve.

Brush your shoes to avoid any evasive plants from entering.

























Once inside the preserve, you'll start to see the native plants and seabirds.

























Stay within the ropes and follow the trail.




















Looking back at the way we came. We will be climbing that mountain soon enough.

























After about an hour to an hour and a half of walking, we made it!























































Close up of the pole and bunker!

























You can climb up for fun, but you can't get on top. There's a pad lock.

























The all seeing eye! Cool bunker.

























Nice spot for a sunset here! You can also go down to the tide pools

to check out some Hawaiian Monk Seals.




















Heading down to the tide pools!




















It's just a short walk down from the bunker.




















We saw a monk seal bathing in the sun!




















Don't get too close though. This guy got up and barked at me! Scary!

























We headed back through the fence and took a left to head back towards the mountain.

























Here's the start of the trail leading up to the bunkers!

























Expect to take another half an hour to 45 minutes to reach the top bunker.

























It's a short ways to the first bunker, not too difficult.

























The view of the point is amazing! It gets better as you go up higher.




















The view was pretty nice already from the first bunker!

























Nothing much to stand on. Let's keep going!

























The trail gets really steep past this point.

























They stayed back to enjoy the view, while we continued up to finish our journey.




















My life is your vacation! Soaking in the views!

























The bunker is in sight! We can make it!

























Finally made it! You can even continue up and walk along the ridge.

This is the start of the WST (Waianae Summit Trail).

























Breathtaking views! Soak it all in.




















The view of Mokuleia side! One day we will hike from that side!




















And the view from Kaena Point side! Looks like a long way back!

























Some cool graffiti art inside the bunker!

























Okay, time to rest. That incline was brutal!

























Another look down at the Mokuleia side.

























Heading back down, this bunker goes down deep into the mountain. It's dark, but there is an entrance down the right side if you wanna explore it.

























Total time was about 5 hours for the whole hike. The long dirt road back seemed like forever and a day after all that hiking.

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