Hailey Minton

Writer. Photographer. Explorer.

January 29, 2018 · 4 min read

6 things you don’t want to miss at Kahana State Park

At Kahana Bay State Park you can camp, surf, kayak, hike, relax at the beach, and even paraglide! There are many parts of the park to explore.

Kayaking or paddle boarding up the river

This is one of the highlights of the Kahana State Park. A lot of people know about the beautiful ridge hiking nearby, but many people miss this hidden gem. This rainforest kayak adventure will take you up the Kahana valley on the slow moving river. There are several rope swings along the way. There is a tree you can jump into the water from the branches at the first rope swing. Check it out by way of kayak or paddle board. Active Oahu can set you up with what you need. Click here to reserve yours. Click here to learn more about kayaking and paddle boarding in the area.



Kahana Bay doesn’t usually have waves, but when it does you will see surfers out there. It’s an etherial place surfers love. Click here to read more about the surfing at Kahana Bay. Click here if you need to rent a surf board, Active Oahu has you covered.


The Beach

The beach is about a half mile across. Paragliders launch from the north side of the bay on the mountain and land near the middle of the beach. Kids can play in the gentle shore break here.

The Huilua Fishpond

The Huilua Fishpond is a recognizable feature on the southeast side of the bay. It is presently under restoration according to the Division of Land and Natural Resources’ website.  The pond is one of only six that still exists on Oahu. According to nps.org, Hawaiians were the only ancient Polynesian people to progress from tide-dependent fish trapping to controlled artificial fishponds, making their aquafarming the most advanced among the original peoples of the Pacific. This pond helped establish a sustainable food source, which in turn helped them prosper and thrive in their environment.

The mouth of the Kahana river is close to the fishpond.


There are ten beach campsites in Kahana Bay State Park. Camping is by permit only which you can purchase here. Fees start at $12 per campsite per night.

Our favorite campsite is number 7. We were right next to the drainage canal which is a pretty feature. Be aware you are camping right along the highway. Traffic can keep light sleepers awake. I brought some earplugs and I slept fine.

After we set up our tent, we strung up our hammock since the tent was still a little too warm for us. There was a family camping next to us who had a couple lines cast out into the bay. Their young kids were having fun catching the little sand crabs in the dark with their flashlights.  Eventually, one of the men checked their lines and reeled in a baby hammerhead shark! We were sitting in our hammock watching and astounded. This thing was about a foot long and it had the tiniest frown-faced mouth. They let us get a closer look at it before they set it free in the ocean.


Crouching lion

A moderate 0.4 mile trail near the mouth of the bay. There is parking on the north side of the road before you turn the corner into Ka’a’awa. It is steep and can be very slippery when it rains. It offers a beautiful view of the bay and an interesting rock feature that looks like…you guessed it… a crouching lion.

Nakoa Trail

A loop trail that goes into the Kahana Valley.

Pu’u Manamana Turnover Trail

This hike is recommended for experienced hikers only. It connects to the Crouching Lion trail.

Pu’upiei Trail

This 2.5 mile trail is a difficult hike that leads to the ridge on the north side of Kahana Bay. The initial incline is steep with loose gravel. There are parts where rockclimbing is required. Ropes and cables are on the cliffs for assistance but they might not be reliable. Be careful what you trust.