Explore Oahu: Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument

Posted by Sarah Klacik on

I was always curious about Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau every time I drove up Pupukea Road. The other day I finally decided to drive back in there to check it out.

I was a little surprised by how far from the entrance the heiau was! But it was worth the drive even for the many unique plants and trees lining the paved road. 

Pu’u o Manuka means “Hill of Escape”, and according to Hawaiian legend, Pele leaped from Oahu to the next island, Molokai, from this piece of ground.

A heiau is a Hawaiian temple, and according to my quick Wikipedia search, the highest wall may date back to the 17th century!

I have to say, it was a little unimpressive when I pulled up. It just looks like an abandoned garden plot, surrounded by a rock walls. So unless you have a real interest in Hawaiian culture, history and legend, you may be disappointed.

Because I was in exploration mode, I decided to wander down the trail taking off from the parking lot. What I found was one of the most beautiful views of Waimea Bay I've ever seen! A rainbow broke out over the bay, and I could've sat there forever, soaking in the view.

Waimea Bay, from Pu'u o Manuka Heiau State Monument

Warning: It began to rain, and started getting really slick - Not a good combination with the steep drop-offs! Wear good shoes, and don’t attempt any section of the trail that doesn’t have good foot/handholds!

This is definitely a place I'll visit again, especially for a sunset! Just remember, the gate closes at 8 each evening, so be sure to get out of there by then!


Off Pupukea Road (Highway 835), Pupukea HI 96712

Directions: Turn on Pupukea Road (where the Foodland supermarket is located), from Kamehameha Hwy. Follow the winding road up, the until you see the signs to the heiau on your right (about 1 mile from Kam Hwy).

There is adequate free parking.


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  • Hi Sarah,
    My husband and I will be there on the 30th and was wondering how many minutes it took you to hike in? I would love to explore this area!

    Carmen on

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