While the North Shore offers a plethora of breathtaking hikes, we’re quite fond of the Kaunala trail, located in Pupukea. A lush hillside community that overlooks the North Shore beaches, Pupukea is lined with trails that serpentine up and down the majestic mountainside and is a short drive from Turtle Bay. The Kaunala trail offers a hike that’s sure to provide you with sweeping vistas, but isn’t out of reach for beginner hikers, making it perfect for the family.
To access the start of the trail from Turtle Bay Resort, turn left onto Pupukea road, just past Foodland. Drive up the hill about three miles until you reach the end and a boy scout’s camp. You can park on the road. From there, you’ll see a dirt access road that will lead you to the start of the trail.
While the Kaunala trail itself is about two and a half miles, the access road is another two miles. Note that you’ll see pink tags denoting the trail, follow this and you’ll ensure that you’re on the right path.
As you make your way through the trail, you’ll see the North Shore from a new 900-feet-elevation perspective while also taking in an abundance of local fauna. There are a few streams you’ll pass, but for the most part, the hike isn’t too taxing. We recommend stopping at Foodland for snacks and water if you didn’t bring your own. The entire hike should take about two and a half to three hours to complete, but it’s worth every minute. Make sure you bring your camera, because behind every turn is yet another vantage point that you’ll want to remember forever.
If you still have some energy left, make a point to stop at the Pu'u O Mahuka Heaiu in Pupuka, an ancient Hawaiian religious ground, which dates back to the 1600s.