To get to Kaena Point you can either come from Haleiwa Town to the East or up from the Wainae side of the island. Either way, you will need to park your car and hike. The road used to extend around the point but finally the highway department got tired of repairing it after each winter when the road would get washed out during high surf. So they turned it into a bird preserve for the endangered Layson Albatross and a natural area now known as Kaena State Park.
From the end of the road you can hike along a cliff face through the almost always hot basalt rocks to the point. The word ka’ena means ‘hot’ in Hawaiian language and make sure you bring water because the name is apt. The natural area is a refuge for the albatross, monk seals, shearwaters and native Hawaiian plants and insect species which have been crowded out of other areas by introduced and invasive species.
For those who want to explore more than the surface area there is also incredible snorkeling in the coves and inlets along the way where you can see plenty of fish and aquatic life. You might even see a Humuhumunukunukuapua’a - the tiny and cute state fish of Hawai’i.
Those of a superstitious nature may want to stay away during the full moon. Hawaiian legend says that Ka’ena Point is the place where the souls of the dead converge on the full moon and then jump off and rejoin their ancestors. Those caught at the wrong time will be brought with them.
While the surf may look tempting, most surfers stay away from Ka’ena because of dangerous currents, reefs and undertows. The famous big wave surfer Greg Noll photographed the largest wave ever photographed from here in 1969 - the record stood until the 1990s! So, if you go in the water...please be careful.