Puu O Mahuka Heiau

One of my favorite places on Oahu is the Puu O Mahuka Heiau. I can’t remember whether I learned about this place through a friend or through one of my Hawaiian Studies courses, but I was exploring North Shore on my own one day when I decided to have a look. I drove up the steep Pupukea Road and turned down what ended up being a pretty sketchy path with a lot of gnarly speed bumps. When I finally found the heiau the first thing I noticed was how peaceful it was.  The only thing I heard was the strong wind rustling through the trees. And the view was unreal.
To some it may look like just a pile of volcanic rocks, but it’s much more than that. When native Hawaiians discovered a place they felt had a strong spiritual power and connection to the other world, they built a heiau (like a temple) there. This place was considered particular powerful to the native Hawaiians becasue it overlooked Waimea Bay, where some of the biggest waves in Hawaii (and the world) can be found. The rocks formed the base of the heiau; other structures were built with wood and materials that could did not survive time. This particular heiau was the largest on Oahu, and was probably first built in the 1600’s. Some historians believe that human sacrifices were offered here. You can read more about its history here. The heiau is still considered a sacred place, and many people still leave offerings for their ancestors at the site. It’s crazy to think how much energy has been given and taken at this place for the past 400 years.

I walked around the south side of the heiau until I reached the backside of it. I kept walking makai (towards the sea) and found myself at a point on the cliff overlooking the ocean. I hopped up on a concrete structure that looked like it was part of the telephone pole infrastructure. Apart from the power lines, the view was spectacular.  I could see Kaena Point in the distance along with Waimea Bay, Shark’s Cove, and other beautiful North Shore beaches down below. The surf was small that day, but I imagined what it would be like to witness huge winter swells rolling in from this perspective. When I looked behind me I could see into Waimea Valley. It was easy to see why the native Hawaiians chose this place for a heiau.

I’ve been there many, many times since then. It’s a great place to go to meditate, relax, or just enjoy the views. The last time I went was last week with my bloggy friend from Adventure of E:

*If you decide to visit this awesome place, please remember to be respectful and not step on the heiau or remove any rocks! 🙂


  1. OK…I’m so embarrased to say that I’ve never been to this spot!! It’s like five minutes from my house! 😉
    Great pics, and now I’m definitely gonna get there. (My husband and boys have been there–somehow I missed out.)
    Great place to watch waves I know.
    Time for a field trip to explore.

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog through the link up @ Brooke Covered in Grace 🙂 and it totally makes me smile! I love your style and your gorgeous photos are making me want to go back to Oahu!

    Now following ya and look forward to reading more!



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