One of our favorite hikes on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is Ka’ena Point Trail. Located on the westernmost end of the island, it’s a 2.8-mile walk from Keawa’ula Beach at Yokohama Bay to Ka’ena Point Natural Area Reserve in Ka’ena Point State Park. Ancient Hawaiians called this area leina a ka’uhane, or the leaping place of souls, because it’s where the spirits of the recently departed would go to be reunited with their ancestors. The trail still bears a mystical quality, even when foot traffic is at its heaviest (around sunset and on weekends). The dirt path hugs wild volcanic coastline, winding past a large sea cave, magnificent stone arches, and burbling tide pools. In the mornings, dolphins can sometimes be seen leaping in the water near the mouth of Kaluakauila stream. The path dead-ends at the reserve, a protected sand dune habitat loaded with nesting seabirds. Taken altogether, the trek out and back is about 5.6 miles roundtrip but the inclines are negligible and the views incredible.
Farrington Hwy at Ka’ena Point State Park, Oahu, HI; no phone.