Kīlauea Point sits high atop a 568-foot high bluff with nearly 360-degree views of the rugged cliffs and sea caves that mark the breathtaking beginning to the rugged North Shore of Kaua’i. The point is home to the historic Kilauea Point Lighthouse and the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge for nesting seabirds. Visitors can enjoy glimpses of the wildlife up close while taking scenic walks around the lighthouse, Crater Hill, and Mokolea Point, basking in the Hawaiian sun while admiring the far-stretching grandeur of the Pacific Ocean below.
Kilauaea Point: Gateway to the North Shore
Located on a narrow peninsula at the northeast corner of the island, Kilauea Point is fringed with high bluffs and backdropped by majestic mountains teeming with waterfalls. Here at the northernmost point on the island you can glimpse the resort community of Princeville and the secluded valleys that mark the beginning of the Na Pali Coast. Getting to the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge is easy; simply take Kuhio Highway to Kilauea town and follow Kilauea Road to the sea. Signs mark the turn for the wildlife refuge, located down a steep driveway that greets you with breathtaking views of the lighthouse and the sprawling emerald grounds of the refuge. The park is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm, with a $5 entry fee.
While theKilauea Point Lighthouse has been in operation since 1913, the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge did not go into effect until 1985. Since then this 199-acre preserve has been a leader in shoreline conservation and habitat preservation for the countless species of seabird that nest here, as well as the indigenous species that call the Point (and the waters beyond) home. Every year populations of Laysan albatross, red-footed boobies, red- and white-tailed tropicbirds, great frigatebirds, wedge-tailed shearwaters, Pacific golden plover, endangered nēnē, the threatened Newell’s shearwater (‘a’o), and even the Hawaiian short-eared owl (pueo) come here to roost.
From the high vantage point along the cliffs, visitors can easily spy migrating humpback whales, spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, and Hawaiian monk seals in the waters below. On-site nurseries cultivate endangered Hawaiian plants, and park rangers are always on hand to offer insight into the Refuge’s efforts to combat invasive species and habitat loss in the sensitive coastal communities. A visitor center provides environmental education and a non-profit gift shop.
With some of the most scenic views of Kaua’i’s North Shore, Kilauea Point is one of the biggest attractions on the island. It is also more than just a scenic wayside; the active conservation work and safe habitat spaces for countless species of endangered or threatened birds plays an important role in preserving Hawai’i’s unique biodiversity. Start planning your Kauai vacation today and book your stay in one of our beautiful vacation rental homes.