Makapuu Cliffs

Makapuu Cliffs

by Dayle Turner

If you want to do some ridge walking but don't want to hike five miles to do so, try this hike. Park at the Makapuu lookout, cross Kalanianaole Highway and ascend the hill until you reach the ridgeline. This will take 10 to 15 minutes more or less. You can continue along the ridgeline until you are directly above Sea Life Park.

On the day I hiked this trail, I found a comfortable rock, took out my banana, apple, water jug and binoculars and watched the sea lion and killer whale shows from 1,000 feet above. Fun stuff. Just like all the other hikes I've written about, the view from atop the Makapuu cliffs are spec... well, you know what I mean. Laying before you are Rabbit Island, Makapuu beach, and in the distance is Mokapu, home of the Kaneohe Marine Base.

Back to the hike. Although I ventured just a quarter mile or so past Sea Life Park, I've read that it's possible to continue along the ridgeline to the Tom Tom trail (I wish I knew the background for the name) which winds its way down the steep pali to Waiokeola Street in Waimanalo. Stuart Ball lists Tom Tom as a closed hike, which means it must cross private property.

I'm sure I would have pressed on (or been pressed to move on) if my girlfriend had joined me on this hike. Instead, I made my way back down to the lookout parking lot but not before seeing this daredevil-type parachute over the side of the cliff overlooking Makapuu. Approaching this dude with a half-baked notion of perhaps talking him out of such foolishness, I asked the would-be jumper how experienced he was in cliffside parachuting. "Did it dozens of times," said he. Sure enough, after waiting for the appropriate wind gusts, out and over the cliff he went. I thought for sure I'd see him pancaked on the side of the mountain. Instead, he handled the undertaking with ease and used the updraft to glide back and forth along the ridgeline. More guts than I'll ever have.


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