by Justin

Kahana Bay is located in Haleiwa on the East Shore of O‘ahu. This bay is often overlooked by tourists and locals alike. However, this bay is rich of cultre and photography opportunities. This bay used to be a Hawaiian community that focused on fishing and farming, prior to the first visitior, Captain Cook. The lush valley, made for excellent farming conditions. Hawaiians built a fishpond that would allow small fish to enter, where they would feed the fish. But as the fish started to grow, they would be unable to exit the entrance. Once the fish reached a certain size, they were fished out of the pond, cooked and eaten. All of this culture and beauty, make for many excellent photography opportunities, each of them are briefly discussed below.

Kahana Bay, Fishpond and Garden

The bay has many spots for photography, but here are a few of my favorite locations. First the mouth of the Kahana river will lead you to a scenic bridge. Another spot is to use the take a walk back from the ocean and into the forest, in order to add color to your photograph. Use the trees as natural frames to your photograph. This technique makes for a spectacular photograph, especially at sunrise. Another spot on the bay is the boat launch area, which has a natural leading line, which directs the viewer's eye to other side of the bay.

There is also an ancient Hawaiian fishpond located on the eastern side of the bay, refer to the map below. This fishpond was used by the ancient Hawaiians to grow and farm fish. The fishpond has leading lines created by the black rock wall, which was used to contain the fish. The views from this location are also splendid, as you can look out to the ocean and follow the coast line north or you can peer back into lush, green Kahana valley.

Kahana Bay Hikes: Vally Trail, Ridge Trail and the Crouching Lion Trail

Kahana Bay has many hikes, each with its own photographic merits. The Kahana ridge trail starts at the Kahana State Park and is called the Kapa'ele'ele Ko'a and Keaniani Lookout trail. I just remember that it is not the Nakoa Trail. The Nakoa trail is a loop trail and takes you through the valley and criss crosses the Kahana stream, which runs through the middle of the valley. The ridge trail with the really long name, takes you to a lookout on the northern ridge of Kahana Valley. It provides a great view of the Kahana Bay and Valley.

The crouching lion hike which is at the eastern side of the bay, refer to the map for the approximate location of the trail head. This hike takes you up a ridge line with views of Kahana Bay and the Valley. It also leads you to the famous Crouchin Lion rock formation, which is directly above the Crouching Lion Inn and Restaurant.

Best Time to Shoot

The best time to shoot is at sunrise and the hour before sunrise. There should be a lot of parking spots available during this time.

Local Tips

Please do not leave valuables in your car. Always wear insect repellant, because there are many mosquitoes throughout this area.

How do I get there?

Address: 52-222 Kamehameha Highway (Highway 83), Kahana

From the airport:

    • Head east on the H1 for 3 miles
    • Take the Likelike Highway exit, Exit 20A.
    • Follow the Likelike for 7.1 miles.
    • After the tunnel, you will reach a fork, stay to the right. Heading onto HI-83 Kahekili Highway
    • Follow this road for 15 miles.
    • After you pass Kualoa, Kaaawa, Swanzy, then you will reach Kahana Bay. Pass over the bridge and park in either the Hiking Parking Lot at the Cultural Center or park on the beach parking lot, see the map.
    • Parking = Free!