There are two sides to Ka’ena Point on the western tip of Oahu. You can drive along the leeward side and park at the beach. Or, you can drive along the north shore and park in a dirt lot. Either way, your goal is to get to the albatross sanctuary in the center of the park.
The leeward side has the advantage of the trail being more clearly marked, and closer to the ocean (for cooler breezes.) However, the western side has the advantage of more places to explore, and more varied scenery.
Take a plastic bag on this hike, because on the western tip there are a lot of sudden rain showers. You’ll need somewhere for your electronics to hide and stay dry.
Along the way, keep an eye on the ocean if it’s “winter,” because that’s when the whales are around. They come to Oahu to have their babies, and you can see them swimming and splashing often. All year you can spot dolphins and seals, as well.
Once you arrive at the sanctuary, you’ll see the albatrosses flying around. They’re amazing birds. If it’s May, you might even catch a glimpse of a baby albatross, which is a really special sight given how endangered they are.
Keep an eye out for Hawaiian Monk Seals as well. They like to come up out of the water and rest on the rocks. Remember: You must stay 150 feet away from the seals at all times since they are critically endangered. And, if you see one, you should call the wildlife conservationists and report the sighting so they can track the seals’ behavior. Call: (808) 220-7802
This is one of the coolest spots on Oahu because there are so many different kinds of wildlife to see. Definitely bring your binoculars, because it’s neat to get an up-close look at seals, whales, albatrosses, and other wildlife.
Note: Remember there are no dogs allowed anywhere in Ka’ena state park. It doesn’t matter if you’re just going down to the beach, or if you are doing the hike. The albatrosses and seals don’t always stay inside the sanctuary and they are critically endangered, so obey the posted signs and do not bring your cat or dog anywhere near the park.