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Kaena Point

Coordinates: 21°34′31″N 158°16′57″W / 21.57528°N 158.28250°W / 21.57528; -158.28250
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21°34′31″N 158°16′57″W / 21.57528°N 158.28250°W / 21.57528; -158.28250

Aerial photo of Kaʻena from the west
Kaʻena Point as seen from Kāneana on the south shore near Mākua Cave
Panorama of the Kaʻena Point Trailhead, as seen from the east side of O'ahu, past Mokule'ia Beach in 2013

Kaʻena or Kaena Point is the westernmost tip of the island of Oʻahu. In Hawaiian, kaʻena means "the heat". The area was named after a brother or cousin of Pele. The point is designated as a Natural Area Reserve.


According to ancient Hawaiian folklore, Kaʻena Point is the "jumping-off" point for souls leaving this world.[1]

In 1899, the Oahu Railway and Land Company constructed a railway that encompassed 70 miles from Honolulu through Kahuku to transport sugarcane. Most of the tracks were destroyed by a tsunami in 1946. Parts of them are visible along the Ka'ena Point Trail.[2]


Ka'ena Point sustains an ecosystem that is home to many native Hawaiian plants and animals.[3]




USFWS Director Dan Ashe entering Kaena Point State Park through a gate in the predator proof fence
USFWS Director Dan Ashe entering Kaena Point State Park through a mantrap-style gate in the predator-proof fence.

In 2011, the United States' first predator-proof fence was constructed at Ka’ena Point, costing about $290,000.[4] The fence is about 2,133 feet long (650 m), and encompasses 59 acres (24 ha) of land.[5] The population of wedge-tailed shearwater fledglings, Laysan albatross fledglings, ohia, sandalwood trees, and several other species has risen significantly.[6]


Ka'ena Point is a park and hiking site, and is also known for snorkeling. This spot has a white sandy beach that runs from Oahu's western tip to the Waianae Mountains. A 5-mile trail (8.0 km) can be entered from Keawaula Beach or Mokuleia.[6]

Until January 28, 1998, when professional surfer Ken Bradshaw was photographed riding a wave with a reported 85-foot (26 m) face, it was believed that Greg Noll's 1969 photo had showed the largest wave ever photographed. During that famous swell in January 1998, several people reported seeing waves with 60–80-foot (18–24 m) faces at Kaʻena Point.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Ka'ena Point". State of Hawaii. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  2. ^ Yuen, Nate (February 3, 2009). "The Waianae Coast to Kaena Point – Part 1". Hawaiian Forest. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  3. ^ "Plants and Animals of Ka'ena Point". Division of Forestry and Wildlife: Native Ecosystems Protection & Management. September 12, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  4. ^ Pala, Christopher (April 16, 2012). "Birds of Kaena Point, Hawaii, Enjoy a Revival Thanks to a Fence". The New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  5. ^ Aguiar, Eloise (August 24, 2009). "Fence sought for Ka'ena reserve - Hawaii's Newspaper". The Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on December 5, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ a b Toth, Catherine E. (August 19, 2013). "Point Taken: Exploring Oahu's Remote Kaena Point". Hawaii Magazine. Retrieved March 5, 2022.

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