Governor Josh Green, MD | DLNR Press Release-Hawaii Day One Hike Returns After Two-Year Hiatus

DLNR Press Release-Hawaii Day One Hike Returns After Two-Year Hiatus

Posted on December 21, 2022 in Latest department news, Press room

(HONOLULU) – As one of the best crowded first day hike events in the country, the walk to the Makapu’u Viewpoint returns for the first sunrise of 2023.

2012, was the beginning of the participation and celebration of Hawaii in the national event first day hike. This is the 10th anniversary of the Kaiwi State Scenic Shore Walk, though COVID caused events to be canceled in the past two years.

46 states will host a multitude of walks in 2023. Hawaii first day hike…a walk really…it’s along the paved road to the top of Kaiwi State’s scenic coastline and offers incredible views from mauka to makai and has drawn up to 700 people on previous New Year’s days.

“It is a unique and moving experience. It is a spiritual way to usher in a new year. Watch the first sunrise of the year over the Kaiwi and Moloka’i Channel, synchronized with the sound of a PUin the 4 cardinal points of Gabriel Spencer of Ke Leo O Laka I ka Hikina O Ka La, followed by an oli of Dr. Sam Gon of Halau Mele, is a chicken skin experience. It all exemplifies the unique culture of Hawaii,” said Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) administrator.

The sunrise is followed by an exciting taiko performance from the Pacific Taiko Center by students of Sensei Kenny Endo. In years past, Scottish bagpipes have been part of the mix, providing a trilogy of sound and meaning that is an audible representation of Hawaiian cultural influences.

DSP appreciates community associations that add cultural elements to the amazing natural landscape.

The summit observation deck will be closed before and during sunrise to provide space for the PU, oli and the taiko drummers. It reopens after the function.


  • The park gates open at 05:30 a.m.. to allow enough time to get to the top and in position along the route for the 7:10 a.m. dawn.
  • Staff will arrive early to drive to the summit with drummers and performers before hikers begin ascending.
  • The paved trail is one mile in each direction.
  • Flashlights, blankets, and warm clothing are recommended. Besides the darkness, Kaiwi can be windy from top to bottom.
  • Parking is limited at the trailhead, so overflow vehicles must park along the road. Carpooling is encouraged.
  • Be very careful when crossing the road.
  • There are no restrooms at the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, but for this event DSP will provide porta-potties at the trailhead.
  • Take out all the trash and bring poop bags and leashes are required for the dogs.

“Hawaii first day hike ‘Ohana and DSP are excited to bring this moving event back to Kaiwi. While many other states have more challenging (and cooler) hikes to offer on New Year’s Day, few can match Kaiwi for stunning scenery, possibly spotting a humpback whale, and taking part in a cross-cultural celebration. With the PU heralding the dawn, a mele oli to herd in the new year, and a powerful taiko to stir the heart and galvanize our intention for the coming year, it is always a memorable start,” Cottrell added.

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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)

high definition video – first day hike feature, Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (January 1, 2020):

high definition video – first day hike Media Clips, Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (January 1, 2020):

Photographs – first day hike Media Clips, Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (January 1, 2020):

Media Contact:

Dan Denison

Senior Communications Manager

(808) 587-0396

[email protected]