Spitting Caves – Oahu’s Sideways Water Geyser

Spitting Caves is a hidden and rugged coastal spot known for its dramatic ocean views and the unique natural phenomenon where waves crash into a cave and “spit” water back out.

Did you know that there’s a blowhole in Hawaii that shoots water out sideways?

The Spitting Caves in Hawaii Kai has a unique topology that shoots water out of a cave – not upwards, but horizontally!

We live in Hawaii Kai so we go to Spitting Caves quite often – usually for sunset when China Walls gets too crowded.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know before visiting Spitting Caves – no matter the time of day or year.

How to Get to Spitting Caves

Spitting Caves is located on Lumahai Street in the Portlock neighborhood of Hawaii Kai.

There is a small access trail near the end of the street, just before the cul-de-sac.

The entrance of the trail that leads to Spitting Caves
The trail that goes to Spitting Caves is marked with a sign that says 119 A.

The trail that goes down to Spitting Caves is short but steep and slippery, so take it slow when walking down the trail.

wet rocky slippery trail going to spitting caves
The trail at Spitting Caves is rocky and slippery, so take care in walking down it!

Once you reach the end of the trail, the spitting cave is directly ahead, down in the cove.

The best spot to view the spitting cave from is on the right side of the cove, on the stone outcropping. You’ll get a side-view of the spitting cave and be able to witness the horizontal water geyser at full length.

Spitting Caves shooting water out sideways
The Spitting Caves shoots water out like a dragon breathing fire!

Best Time to Go to Spitting Caves

The best time of day to go to Spitting Caves is in the late afternoon or sunset.

The reason that it’s better to go to Spitting Caves late in the day is that the sunlight doesn’t illuminate the cave in the morning. So your pictures will look better if you visit Spitting Caves later in the day when the sunlight hits the water geyser at the right angle.

The best time of year to go to Spitting Caves is in the summertime.

The summertime generally has larger surf on the south shore, so the water will consistently erupt out of Spitting Caves like a huge geyser.

However, the ocean is unpredictable – so Spitting Caves can potentially go off on any day of the year – so it’s always worth stopping by if you’re in the area.

What to Bring to Spitting Caves

Here’s a list of things that we recommend you bring when visiting Spitting Caves:

  • Shoes. The terrain at Spitting Caves is steep and rocky, so wearing a pair of shoes will make it much easier to get there.
  • Sun protection. There is no shade at Spitting Caves, so wear a hat and sunscreen if you plan to hang out there.
  • Towel. The ground is rocky at Spitting Caves, so bring a towel to sit on.

Staying Safe at Spitting Caves

The cliffs at Spitting Caves are very high above the ocean. Stay far away from the edge of the cliffs so you don’t trip and fall off!

Another thing to look out for is wet spots on the ground. Water runoff from the ground above creates trickles of water on the ground.

The last time that we went to spitting caves, we witnessed a man fall and dislocate his shoulder after slipping on a slick area!

The wet areas get EXTREMELY SLIPPERY – don’t step on them or you might slip and fall.

Water runoff creates wet slippery spot on the ground at Spitting Caves
These trickles of water create EXTREMELY slippery spots – don’t step on them!

Sunset at Spitting Caves

Spitting Caves doesn’t tend to get as crowded as China Walls for sunset. However, the sun sets at a parallel angle to the cliff face – so you might miss part of the sunset if it goes behind the rocky shoreline.

But on the positive side, the sun doesn’t directly beat down on the ground at Spitting Caves during the sunset hour. So you can usually find a nice shady area to chill out in and not worry about getting sunburned while you watch the sunset.

Sunset also brings in afternoon showers that mist the landscape to create colorful rainbows!

Rainbow over Spitting Caves

Cliff Jumping at Spitting Caves

Man jumping into water at Spitting Caves
This cliff jumper braved the ocean currents on a nasty day at Spitting Caves

The Spitting Caves cliff jump is about 60 feet at its highest point.

However, Spitting Caves is one of the most dangerous cliff jumps on Oahu.

There are many cases of locals and tourists alike requiring rescue or dying after jumping off of the cliff at Spitting Caves.

The ocean currents at Spitting Caves are often overpowering and difficult to swim in. Even strong swimmers find it difficult to navigate the treacherous ocean at Spitting Caves after jumping in.

Even if the ocean currents weren’t bad, the rocky cliffside around the caves is difficult to climb when you want to get out of the water. Plus, the strong waves often smack unsuspecting swimmers up against the jagged rocks in the water.

Cliff jumpers climbing out of the water at Spitting Caves
The man on the right took a few minutes to get out of the ocean due to the rough currents! And he also ripped his pants on the rocks when climbing out of the water!

If that’s not bad enough, some cliff jumpers don’t even make it into the water without getting hurt. In 2014, a girl hit her head on the cliffside when she failed to clear the jump.

Even if you make it into the water, there is always the possibility of a head injury, dislocated shoulder, or broken bone from hitting the surface of the water after jumping from the high cliff.

Here’s our advice – don’t jump off the cliff at Spitting Caves.

Spitting Caves – Our Verdict

While it’s not as easy to get to as Halona Blowhole, the Spitting Caves is a unique water geyser that is an awesome place to hang out.

We recommend visiting Spitting Caves for sunset when the sun isn’t cooking the cliffside.

So if you’re on your way to Makapuu Lighthouse or heading back to town after a day at Hanauma Bay, Spitting Caves is worth checking out!

Trey Lewis is an outdoor enthusiast. Whether its hiking knife-edge ridges or just fishing by the river, Trey isn't afraid to get dirty in search of the next adventure.

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