Top Picks: Ka’ena Point (Coastal, Endangered Species Sightings, Leeward)
This was such a memorable hike on account of the amazing wildlife sightings. The trailhead is located at the most northwestern part of the island, at the end of Farrington Highway and impossible to miss! Gorgeous drive and interesting to see all of the rural seeming towns along the way. There is a lot to park in and as when parking anywhere you shouldn’t leave any belongings visible in your car. This is a state park and it is free to enter, there are lots of people about at the beach here and on the trails. It is a 2.5 out and back trail, so be prepared and bring lots of water! Most of this trail is very exposed and therefore it gets hot. There is however a great ocean breeze. While we followed the coast we looked at the jagged black rock and at the sparkling sea. We saw a pod of dolphins leaping not to far off. The view didn’t vary drastically on this part of the trail, but it was always undeniably beautiful. We did see a noteworthy natural arch and a car wreck. After a long hike you get to a fenced off area, you clean off your shoes, and enter through a door to a protected area. Here you can take a loop trail staying by the coast and walking back inland. Be careful not to continue on too far from this point, because you’ll wind up in a military base. If you are lucky like we are you will spot the endangered Hawaiian monk seal hidden among the rocks. There is a small informational sign around where it usually hangs out. When we walked down to the beach area I spotted it right away. It looks just like one of the rocks, but a bit too smooth. We sat (not too close, do not disturb!) and took our boots off to soak our feet in the water and observe. It napped with its head in the water for some time and eventually decided to give us a show lifting its head and flopping up to a dryer area. So cute and hilarious! As adept as it is in the water is as clownish as it is on land. We loved watched its blubber flopping around and melted looking at the adorable face. This seal looked so harmless and friendly you would want to go up and cuddle it, hard to believe it is a wild animal though it is. After a long while of observing we continued on and made our loop spotting many laysan albatross, another endangered species, along the way. These birds look like seagulls on steroids! They are huge and goofy looking, I absolutely loved them. They displayed a great wingspan when flying overhead,
and showed a tender side protecting their nests on the ground.
The hike back was long and hot, but entirely worth it for the exhibit of such unique nature. The view is genuinely different on the way back, as you can see other mountain ridges. The trail is very flat and it is an easy hike to make, and so very worth it!