Daily Photo / Hawaii / Hawaii Sights / Hikes

Exploring: Makapu’u Tide Pools

Emily, me, and Adrienne taking a dip after a hike-a-thon.

Makapu'u Tide Pools

Makapu’u Tide Pools

As the last days of summer start to roll in, I’ve been itching to get out of the house every chance I get. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, take the day and head on down to the Makapu’u Tide Pools. It’s a hike plus a dip in the ocean all in one trip.

The day we went, we were already in the area after hiking to the Koko Crater Arch, which is actually just on the other side of the hill from the Kokohead Tramway.

Unfortunately, getting to the tide pools isn’t as easy as walking up to a beach and plopping down. To get there, head to the Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline parking lot. After you’ve parked, just follow the paved path to the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail that goes up along the mountain.

It’s a little uphill, but it’ll be worth it.

You're gonna have to work to get there! The view as you hike down towards the tide pools.

You’re gonna have to work to get there! The view as you hike down towards the tide pools.

Break from the path once you see an informational sign about whales and whale watching. This is where you can take a minute to enjoy the view, catch your breath, and then make your way down the lava rocks! The path is easy to scope out from the top, but as you get closer to the bottom the switchbacks get a little harder to spot.

You’ll be able to see the tide pools onย your way down. The promise of a dip in that cool water will keep you going.

Quick Tips:

  1. Take your time finding theย way down if you’re not sure of which way to go. Look for the path that looks the easiest and most comfortable. (Or follow the people in front of you if they know what they’re doing.)
  2. Wear shoes. Pack slippers in your bag to wear when you get down to the pools.

Emily, triumphant after making it down. Behind her is a view of the hike down.

Watch out for rogue waves!

Where a tide pool merges with the ocean. Watch out for rogue waves!

There was some definite wave action the day we hiked down. It’s a place where you can really get an up-close look at the power of the water. Some tide pools open up directly into the ocean, but there are also ones you can swim in that are a little further inland (if you’re worried about getting swept out).

The best feeling is when you’re at an edge of a tide pool and a wave breaks — spraying, and suddenly rushing your tide pool with foam and cold water.

Aside from exploring the tide pools, you can also check out the blowhole — not as grand as the Halona Blowhole, but similar. It’s among the rocks and you can just hear it rumbling until blasts of mist spray out.

Watch out for wana.

Watch out for wana.

Now I’m a little afraid of fish — and I don’t mean I can’t walk into an aquarium. I have an aversion to fish swimming between my legs, potentially nipping at my heels and such. So let me tell you, jumping into a tide pool where I could see, quite clearly, the fish that were swimming around… Well, it was a personal triumph.

There are actually a lot of cool things to see if you’re into seeing live creatures in their element. Adrienne was picking up hermit crabs left and right, putting one on her shoulder like it was her new pet parrot.

You just want to watch out for the wana, or sea urchins, in cracks along the walls of the tide pools. You don’t want to step on those bad boys. If you do, it’s not like removing a standard splinter so see a doctor right away.

Adventure always comes with a little risk, but this beautiful place is definitely worth the trek.


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