Today, I explored some scenic caves that have gained recent popularity among Oahu’s hiking crowd. They aren’t easy to get to though especially if you are afraid of heights like me. Upper Makua Cave consists of two shallow caves high above a steep cliff which offers stunning views towards Kaena Point. The caves also offer an escape from the heat especially if you are hiking this in the summer time. ^^; Along the way, I also stopped at a few more World War II beach bunkers as well. Please enjoy my photowalk has I search for Upper Makua Cave and Oahu’s war bunkers.
For some reason I was dragging yesterday and didn’t feel like doing anything. Or rather, I could not decide what to do. It is summer time on Oahu right now so waterfalls will generally not be as impressive. I have a few World War II places I’d like to explore but most are too crazy to attempt so that was out. And, I didn’t have the energy level to take on any of Oahu’s strenuous ridge hikes.
So, in the end, I decided for a short hike on the Waianae side of island.
Upper Makua Cave can be found on the cliff to the north of the popular Kaneana Cave.
This was actually my second attempt to reach the caves. On my first attempt, I could not find the turnoff for the cave. As it turns out, you can’t see it from the gully so you got to know exactly what you are looking for.
After parking, I set off on a faint trail through the overgrowth.
Since Upper Makua Cave has started to become known there are actually some faint trails on the way up there from all the foot traffic so it’s not too hard. Your objective is to go up the gully between the rocky cliffs. The path up there is pretty darn steep and crumbly but thankfully there’s lots to hold on to. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this place for your average tourist, kids, or dog walkers. It’s still pretty mental in parts. ^^;
As I climbed, the view got better and better. Also, the towering cliffs started to show their true size. From a distance, they looked much smaller and the path more certain. ^^;
I saw some pretty flowers about halfway up.
On the right, I eventually came to a slanted slope just above a death drop.
This is where my fear of heights started kicking in. There was a lot of grass to grab on to but if it fails to stop a tumble you have a long way down. ^^;
On the slanted ledge, you can not see the cave!
At the time, I didn’t know this so I thought that it must be the ledge above this one. I grabbed onto some rocks and pulled myself to the next level.
The ledge above Upper Makua Cave is much steeper and dangerous. I realized I was going the wrong way but was at a loss on where to go.
Suddenly, I saw a blue hiking ribbon tied to a branch on the lower ledge. I had been going the right way earlier. ^^;
I headed back to the point where I climbed up and took in the views of Makua Valley. Such beautiful vistas. (:
I carefully rock climbed down to the lower ledge where I instantly had flashbacks.
At Kaena Point to the north, I was climbing a similar rock cliff when the foot holds gave way. At the time, I crushed my hands and lost my glasses. Needless to say, I didn’t want a repeat of that moment in history. ^^;
Once safely on the ground again, I went around the bend and got my first sight of Upper Makua Cave.
Upper Makua Cave is actually comprised of two shallow caves. This is the smaller one.
The view from the smaller cave.
Finally, I made it! I went through a lot to make it to this point but it was very much worth it to see this very special Hawaiian gem. (:
When I got to the cave, I pretty much sat down and drank two water bottles straight away. I was dying in this summer heat. =p
Looking out at the Godly views at Upper Makua Cave. Kaena Point can be seen in the distance.
Honestly, this was one of the most unique and beautiful views that I’ve seen on the island. Thanks go to Nathan Yuen from Hawaiianforest.com. Without his article, I would not have known about this unique and special place. (:
After cooling off in the cave for a while, I began the steep journey back to my car. What a great time!
Just for reference, these are my attempts to get to Upper Makua Cave. Red is my first attempt and orange is my second. The blue path is the correct way to the cave.
Aside from Upper Makua Cave, I saw a few more war bunkers on the beach from when Oahu was under threat of another Japanese attack. This one was cemented to provide shelter for a homeless person.
Most surviving World War II beach bunkers can be found on the southwest and western coasts. Keep an eye out for them! (:
Near Nanakuli Mcdonalds was a twin pair of bunkers. They were still standing guard even after all these years.
Though the bunkers were starting to fall apart. I imagine that these pieces of history might be lost in the near future…..
On the way to the second bunker, I saw some more pretty flowers.
The second bunker with the Pu’u o Hulu battery complex in the distance. To the south was Battery Arizona which I want to visit badly. Perhaps someday….
Well, that’s all for my adventures in leeward Oahu…..for now… Upper Makua Cave is quite a find though I don’t think I’d go up there again anytime soon. Even though I was walking with the mountain goats (literally) today, I am certainly not one! Perhaps I will do something safer next time…. ^^;
Till next time.