hiking hawaii’s lighthouse trails

Fernando Pacheco
August 07, 2019

Hawaii's historic lighthouses have greeted thousands of immigrants to our islands. These days, they’ve become iconic points of interest along well-known hiking trails. A journey to your favorite local lighthouse is a fun workout with a dose of history.

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Celebrate National Lighthouse Day and visit these trails featuring some of Hawaii's brightest beacons. 

On the island's north shore, the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge gives access to Okolehao Trail. One of the first views on the 2.5-mile trail is of Kilauea Lighthouse. Built in 1913, the Kilauea Lighthouse can be seen briefly in Disney's animated film, Lilo & Stitch.

Hoapili Trail takes hikers on a 5.5-mile trek along the southern coast of Maui, leading to Hanomanioa Lighthouse. Established in 1918, it replaced two previously built lighthouses along Keoneeio Bay.

Tucked along the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, the 2-mile Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail offers views of neighboring islands, humpback whales (seasonal) and of course, Makapuu Lighthouse.  Built in 1909, the Makapuu Lighthouse has the largest lens of any lighthouse in the United States.

The Diamond Head Summit Trail was built as part of the island’s coastal defense system. The 1.6-mile trail of switchbacks leads hikers to a summit, which provides a view of Diamond Head Lighthouse. Constructed in 1899, the Diamond Head Lighthouse was featured on a United States postage stamp in June 2007.

On the west side of Oahu, the Kaena Point Trail can be accessed from either Waianae (2.4 miles) or Mokuleia (2.5 miles). The trail leads to a natural reserve where you can see the concrete remains of the Kaena Point Lighthouse, built in 1920. It has since been replaced by the Kaena Point Passing Light.

Photograph of Makapuu Lighthouse courtesy of Ed Mersino

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