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DEAD MAN’S CATWALK ON OAHU, HAWAII

DEAD MAN’S CATWALK ON OAHU, HAWAII

The infamous Dead Man’s Catwalk on Oahu has had an interesting lifespan. This amazing lookout over the east coast of Oahu rose to fame when a cement platform, known as the ‘Dead Man’s Catwalk’, became popular. Unfortunately, the land is privately owned by Kamehameha Schools and they recently decided to remove the cement slab due to security and safety reasons despite no major issues at the site.

DEAD MAN’S CATWALK HIKE

In this blog post, I will share with you the details about the ‘Dead Man’s Catwalk’ hike, the current situation regarding accessibility and the reasons why it was closed, and if it should stay that way.

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Altitude: 843 feet
Dead Man's Catwalk hikers

IS THE DEAD MAN’S CATWALK OPEN OR CLOSED?

Despite what its name might suggest, the Dead Man’s Catwalk provides more amazing views than perils. The catwalk referred to the cement slab that some claim was a possible war-era installation or was previously used as a launching strip for hang gliders. The words “The Dead Man’s Catwalk” were constantly being spray-painted on the 6-yard strip that led out to a steep drop-off down the face of cliffs.

The land is owned by Kamehameha Schools and they recently decided to remove the cement slab due to security and safety reasons. Like many hikes on Oahu, many private landowners close down their natural lands to hikers because of liability. This hike is not really dangerous at all and there are no narrow ridge-lines. The viewpoint is near an edge but you do not need to go close to the edge to participate in the hike.

So, after giving you all of the information I can now tell you that the hike is technically closed. However, it is closed due to the land-owner prohibiting people from enjoying the hike due to ‘security’ reasons and not because the trail is dangerous in comparison to most hikes on Oahu. If you do attempt this hike you will be trespassing and there are occasional patrols in the neighborhood where you park your car but I have heard that as of 2021, these patrols are uncommon and many people are hiking the trail each day.

View of Lanikai from Dead Man's Catwalk

WHAT YOU COULD EXPECT AT THE DEAD MAN’S CATWALK

Standing on the catwalk, expansive coastal views and crystal clear waters made the short hike more than worthwhile. On a clear day, you could spot the Na Mokulua (two mountains) of Lanikai, far in the distance. As I watched the waves roll over the reef below I felt on top of the world knowing that I was standing in a moment which you will remember long after your time on Oahu.

You will still have the same views if you went today just not the cement slab, which was just a novelty anyway. I would still hike Dead Man’s Catwalk even though the catwalk is gone., The views are still as epic as ever and the cement slab was just a minor part of this amazing viewpoint.

Dead Man's Catwalk view of the reef

This is a perfect hike for people who wanted the postcard views without all the hard work. Most of the climb is done in your vehicle before arriving at the beginning of the trail. The hike began well above sea level, which is the reason why you could have such amazing views with only a short ascent.

the trail at Dead Man's Catwalk

Like many hikes on Oahu, such as the Stairway to Heaven, Dead Man’s Catwalk is illegal but it was illegal long before the cement slab was taken down. The great views will still be there but the catwalk will no longer be a feature of the hike if you do choose to risk it.

 

Fence at Dead Man's Catwalk

HOW TO GET TO DEAD MAN’S CATWALK

The Dead Man’s Catwalk is a 25-minute drive from Waikiki and is quite close to the Koko Head hike which many of you will have already done or heard of.  

THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS

WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach with a private lagoon.
  • Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach.
  • Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
  • Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location.
  • Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like you are living in a theme park.

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I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

Bao

Friday 18th of May 2018

is it still illegal and closed?

Nate

Monday 11th of April 2016

I expected that this will happen soon... in August 2014 they already built up this huge fence.. it's very sad! I loved this place!!

Jackson & Jessie

Monday 11th of April 2016

Yeah as you can see the fences were there and we were told it was illegal and that there were guards occasionally but so many people were there!

Itinera Magica

Monday 11th of April 2016

Great post! I wish I had hiked that trail... Gorgeous shots.

Jackson & Jessie

Monday 11th of April 2016

Thanks so much! It’s a shame they pulled it down, so many hikes on this island are illegal or being pulled down.