Makapu'u Tide Pools

11:24 AM

A Hawaiian treasure: these emerald waters pooled in the volcanic rock are as beautiful as they are dangerous, from the precarious climb down the mountain to the rogues waves that can carry people out to sea.

The best time to visit the tide pools is after a big swell. Algae tends to form in the waters if they remain stagnant for too long, but high surf cleans them out and brings in fresh water. 

Hiking Down

This 30 minute trail requires you to be able to climb up steep slopes, it is not for kids. Start on the Makapu’u Trail to the lighthouse and follow along the road until you come to the third lookout area, you will see a small trail formed going down the mountain. Following the white arrows painted on the ground and rocks will lead you the right direction as you cannot see the pools from the top. Along with your swimming gear, you need to bring hiking shoes to climb down to the pools. The volcanic rocks along the mountain are loose and sharp. One wrong step could send you tumbling down the rough stones. 

Emerald Pools


Once at the bottom, you will see the Dragon’s Nostrils to your right; two blowholes formed in the rock shoot water skyward. While the two geysers are great for photos, do not attempt to get too close unless you want to be thrown sky-high. To the left will be the tide pools. I find that sitting for a moment to watch the waves and swell will give you a good idea of which pools are the safest to hang out in. The waves can get rather large and are known to wipe people out, dragging them along the sharp rocks and cutting them up badly. Always remember that the Ocean is unpredictable though, rogues waves can come out of nowhere and surprise swimmers. The pools are shallow enough to stand in most areas and are home to some beautiful corals and fish, so bring your mask to get a good look at the creatures living here.

The Cave

The cave is to the far right when you get to the bottom of the trail. Basically, you will walk along the rocks for a ways until you see it carved out of the rock. The cave does not go very far back but is an excellent spot to view the crashing waves from. The ocean nearest to the cave is frothing and bubbling as it slams into the cliff’s edge, so be careful.

Please be safe and remember to pick up your trash so other can enjoy the beauty.

Mahalos, 
Alecia <3

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