Emily, one of my best friends since elementary school, is leaving for Thailand to teach there. (You can read more on her adventures on her blog here!) It’s a an exciting opportunity, but I’m going to miss her so much — she’s the best hiking buddy. We’ve had so many adventures this summer, so we’re kicking it into high gear before she leaves next week and are exploring as much as we can.
We’ve done a number of hikes on the east side of Oahu recently. It’s quickly becoming my favorite place to hike because the trailheads are always near the ocean and you’re always just a short drive away from Kona Brewing Co. for some post-hike pints.
This time we made our way to the Makapu’u Tom Tom Trail, on a quest to find the Makapu’u Puka. (Remeber the Pali Puka?)
Park at the Waimanalo Beach Park Lookout. It’s a small lot, but if you go early you won’t have a problem getting a spot. There’s also another lot with more parking at the Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline, but you have to walk uphill a bit to get to the trailhead.
Once parked, carefully run across the road to the hill just on the other side. This is where you’ll start your journey! The path can be hard to follow here at times, but if you look for small markers, make good judgement calls, and follow the switchbacks you should be fine.
The trail becomes more defined as you go along.
There’s a lot to see as you hike: on your right, while you’re closer to the edge of the ridge, you’ll see the view overlooking Makapu’u Beach, but to your left you’ll see the back of Koko Head Crater — a view most don’t normally see.
It took us about an hour to reach the Makapu’u Puka, and just as we were walking up toward it Emily spotted this guy in the picture below! He stared at us for a few seconds, and then walked away. I was only able to snap a few pictures, but he obviously wasn’t very interested in us.
If you’re on this hike, you’re bound to see little goat droppings along the trail. If you do — be on the look out! We saw some just before we happened upon our new friend.
The puka is cool and all, but my favorite part is the view from the top. Look at that! It’s gorgeous. To my parents’ dismay, I love climbing. I love to get to the top of things and look down, and the view from up here — boy, is it worth it. From here you can see that you’re heading into Waimanalo.
The Makapu’u Tom Tom Trail doesn’t actually end with the puka. If you follow it until the end, you will end up in Waimanalo. It’s a pretty lengthy hike. I hear that some hikers remedy this situation by parking a car on either side of the trail — unless you plan on doubling back.
If you plan on doing the whole hike and making it all the way to Waimanalo, I’d suggest starting early. It has been hot lately and the more you can avoid the noon sun, the better. It’ll tire you out quick.
After hanging out around the puka for a while we made our way back along the trail. We were satisfied with our morning adventure and hunger started to get the best of us.
Do you have a favorite hike? I’d love to hear about it — sound off in the comments!