Located 1.4 miles past the Maalaea Harbor, the McGregor Point and Lighthouse is a minor lighthouse owned today by the Coast Guard. While the tower itself is closed to guests, the grounds around the lighthouse are open to the public. The regal lighthouse boasts a storied history and was built in 1915 when the twenty-foot concrete pyramidal tower replaced the 1906 light at McGregor Point.
The original light was established in 1906 on McGregor Point to replace a previous light at Maalaea Bay. The 1906 light stood atop a thirty-two-foot mast and consisted of a lens lantern. A one-story dwelling was constructed nearby to serve as a living space for the light keeper. The current McGregor Point Lighthouse, built in 1915, has a focal plane that features a flashing green light and is situated some seventy-two feet above sea level.
The McGregor Point is so named in honor of Captain Daniel McGregor who captained vessels involved in the Koolau trade. Koolau, interestingly enough, means the windward side of the island. The Koolau trade was paramount in the delivery of supplies between the windward landings. One stormy night, Captain McGregor was bound to land in Maalaea Bay but knew that the tumultuous seas would prevent his anchoring there. He was determined to find an alternate landing place for the night, so to find one, he sent three men forwards with lead lines to hopefully discover sound water. Throughout the stormy night, he continued to probe the rugged shoreline for anchorage and attempted to find a safe place to spend the night. He finally found a place between two and three o’clock in the morning when the water became shallower and the winds diminished.
When Captain McGregor awoke the next morning, he realized that throughout the stormy night and quite accidentally, he had discovered an excellent cove and a projecting point. This previously unknown point still bears his name and is today McGregor Point where the lighthouse still stands.
The McGregor Lighthouse is considered a minor lighthouse. Minor lighthouses are those that are found within harbors, rivers, and channels that feature lights with modern intensity, with a nominal range of less than 10 NM. Lighthouses are navigational aids that help ensure the safe passage of sea vessels.
Many guests to the McGregor Point and Lighthouse claim that the lighthouse, being on the smaller side and of course not open to the public, is less than overwhelming. However, the views that can be enjoyed at the point are worth the visit according to those who have made the trek. Guests claim the spot offers amazing views of the expansive Pacific, with breathtaking views of whales (in season). The area is also specifically noted for being a great place for photos and watching sunsets. Be aware that the area around the lighthouse is not paved. However, guests claim it is easy enough to navigate.
The picturesque, historic location at McGregor Point and Lighthouse presents an ideal opportunity to take in the grandeur of the ocean in a panoramic fashion and even enjoy whales playing offshore if you get lucky. However, even if the gentle giants are absent, the views of the area and the expansive ocean at the locale are worth a visit. The lighthouse itself is neat to look at, though not climbable. Many guests note the fact that they were the only ones present when visiting, making this a peaceful location for contemplation, far from the more crowded tourist locations that you find throughout the islands. Be sure to take your camera along, and a journal for contemplative thoughts, or simply sit and listen to the sounds of the ocean in this peaceful sanctuary.
-Due to its location beside ocean cliffs, it can be windy in the area. Keep this in mind when visiting.
-Most guests claim they spend under an hour at this location, so it’s a quick trip to add to a day’s itinerary.