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Ka Lae / South Point

Ka Lae / South Point

Ka Lae / South Point

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Hawaii, United States, North America/Oceana

Lat/Lon: 18.91191°N / 155.68262°W

Object Title: Ka Lae / South Point

Activities: Via Ferrata

Elevation: 30 ft / 9 m


Page By: Dmitry Pruss

Created/Edited: Jul 28, 2007 / Jul 28, 2007

Object ID: 317294

Hits: 5092 

Page Score: 79.22%  - 12 Votes 

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Take off from here
The tethered fishing lines and the dive platform

South Point, or Ka Lae, is the southern-most point of the 50 United States (not be confused with Key West, of a similar fame but for the Contiguous 48). It is one of the earliest places settled by Hawaiians, probably due to its being closest to the bulk of Polynesia. The area is protected as a National Landmark.

South Point is being constantly buffeted by the wind from the East, and the main local sea current, also from the East, is ferociously swift. Most of the local fishing is done in the wind shade on the cliffy West side of the point, from land-tethered contraptions. That's also where you can find what, in SP's point of view, could be described as a unique via ferrata

The challenge is of course that to start climbing these rickety ladders, one first needs to take a plunge! (Sorry, we only had a slow-shutter camera and couldn't capture our own feats there). The water is superbly clear and one can see the bottom further 30 ft down, and sometimes scuba divers passing by. Just to the North of the ladders, a great ocean surface-level cave is worth exploring.

If the sea is not calm here, do not even try diving. As mentioned above, the current, further away from the protection of the cliff, is very swift, and you may stand no chance to return to the shore if you end up carried away from the cliffs by the waves.

Getting There

From Big Island's main highway, SR 11, take a signed turn to a narrow paved road to the South Point, about 19 miles to the South.


A number of camping options available at Hawaii Volcanoes NP to the East, please check the Park Service's page

External Links

Wikipedia entry


Take off from hereClimbing Ka Lae