If they could, almost everybody would happily buy a house in the tranquil and much-desired Black Point neighborhood in Oahu, Hawaii. Those of us that simply can’t afford to do so are pulled there anyway. Not for the promise of a safe, gated community in affluent oceanside splendor, but to sneak a dip in the famed saltwater Black Point infinity pool!
Alas, it is private property. And we’ll say at this point that we don’t condone or encourage trespassing. But this is such a talked-about experience, we just had to look into it!
What Is The Legendary Black Point Pool?
Black Point Pool is a 40 by 25 feet fenced-in pool surrounded by lava rocks in one of the most affluent neighborhoods on Oahu. During high tide, ocean waves crash into the pool, filling it up. It is the only saltwater pool on the island, and one which offers an unbeatable, incredible view of the ocean and island coastline.
Fenced, camera-ed up, and with the locals watching hawk-eyed for any unknown wanderers, it is near impossible to get into. But so worth it if you can!
How Did It Get There?
Before we tell you about the pool, let us clue you into the neighborhood- because it’s all connected.
The raised knoll of lava that makes the base of the Black Point neighborhood was dramatically formed millions of years ago during a volcanic eruption. Due to its close proximity to the Diamond Head Crater, it seems likely it was due to this very volcano, although evidence has been found to suggest it was in fact formed by a vent erupting to the southeast.
Ancient Hawaiians called this land “Kupikipikio” which means “turbulent water.” And it’s easy to see why, with the waves crashing almost aggressively against the knoll. The first residents here are thought to have been royalty – the Hawaiian Ali’i (nobles), and you’ll see streets named to reflect this supposition (Royal Circle and Royal Place). Then, in the early 1900s, Black Point was chosen as the ideal spot to install US artillery defense, and this remained until 1955, when the US government returned the land to the State of Hawaii.
While homes on Black Point started to be built in the 1920s, it wasn’t until the 50s and 60s that the housing boom really happened, and its reputation as a must-live-in residential area really kicked off. At first, it was an artsy locale, and one of the most renowned residents was billionaire tobacco heiress Doris Duke, known as the richest girl in the world, who built the beautiful Shangri La estate on the cliff in 1937 (today, it is a museum dedicated to Islamic Art).
Today, there are 75 residences on the lava knoll of Black Point, each with a plot ranging from 5000 to 22,000 sqft. And it’s all about the luxury- half the residences are behind a security fence with a pass-key gate, while the Royal Circle has its very own secured area set up, with a second security gate providing access to the eight homes there.
On the off-chance someone decides to sell their piece of Hawaiian paradise here, you can expect to pay anything from $2 to $23 million for one of these properties.
Back To That Pool…
We already mentioned how rough the sea is around Black Point. It’s no wonder then, that someone back in the 1920s saw fit to build a pool right on sea level, one which is naturally filled and circulated by the crashing waves at high tide, but which is protected enough that you can do your laps or simply enjoy your saltwater soak in total peace. Local legend weaves a totally plausible tale that a father had it built for his daughter who was afraid of swimming in the ocean.
There is a narrow concrete wall to sit on or jump off of, and up some steps there is a paved sun deck. There are signs inside the fence warning visitors against diving in or jumping off the rock wall – pay heed! It is not deep enough to safely do so!
Who Can Use The Black Point Pool?
The pool has been designated for the exclusive use of Black Point residents or their guests, and for members of the Black Point Association, all of whom have a pass key to legally access it. It is surrounded on three sides by a fence with numerous signs and stickers declaring it private and protected, and on the fourth side by steep, sharp, treacherous rocks the ocean beats with its powerful waves. To either side is a bird nesting area, and climbing it can cause damage to the ecosystem there and disturb the wildlife – a big no no! The Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, while not endangered, are fully protected by both federal (Migratory Bird Treaty Act) and state law (Wild Bird Law). Find out a little more about them below.
There are security cameras and a security guard who does a routine patrol around the area. One Reddit commentator wrote there are even motion sensors which alert the guard. And yet, not to give you too much hope, and certainly not to encourage you to try, every year a select few “non-residents” manage to sneak in, take a dip, and snap a photo…before being escorted out by security.
How Can I Get Into The Black Point Pool?
There are two ways – legally, by making friends with a Black Point resident or a member of the Black Point Association (the only ones with keys to access it), or by buying or renting a property there and getting your own pass. Or illegally, by trying to sneak in when the gate is open.
What Happens To Trespassers Who Get Into The Black Point Pool?
Tourists who get into the Black Point Pool without a pass key or permission often have their fun cut short before they can even get in the water – what with the well-advertised combination of on-site security, CCTV, and watchful neighbors (who all know each other). Trespassers will be escorted from the site.
How To Get There
It is a 15-minute drive from downtown Honolulu to the Black Point residential area. We suggest you park at Cromwell’s Beach, then walk up Kulamanu Street and down to the ocean end of Black Point Road (around a 15-minute walk), then off on a dirt path to the side of the houses there. Tip – The nearer you get to the pool, the more “no trespassing”- and “CCTV”-signs you will see!
This video shows two daring trespassers who made it:
Which Birds Nest In The Rocks Near Black Point Pool?
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters arrive in March to prepare a burrow in the sand and among the rocks. They mate, and then lay a single white egg around mid June. The chicks will have hatched by mid August and fledged by mid November. All the young leave their nests and fly out to sea by December. Please be respectful and do not enter their nesting zones if you decide to go and explore this part of Oahu.
What Are The Benefits Of A Salt Water Soak?
Seeing as you’re reading this and may well be thinking of making a try for a soak in the Black Point saltwater pool, we thought we’d share the benefits of a saltwater soak. Not only has saltwater (and saltrock) been found to cleanse our bodies, but also to rejuvenate our energy too. In particular, a salt bath can help:
- Relieve stress
- Ease aching muscles
- Stimulate circulation
- Relieve stiffness in joints
- Purify your body by helping your skin absorb essential minerals
- Draw out toxins from your body
- Heal minor wounds and reduce skin irritation
What Else Can I Do In The Area?
If your trespass attempt fails, or you are law-abiding enough to not even try to get into the privately owned Black Point Pool, the views from Black Point are still well worth your time and camera.
There is also plenty to see and enjoy nearby. You should definitely head to Diamond Head and the Diamond Head Beach Park, check out the Shangri La Museum, Cromwell’s Beach and Waialae Beach Park, and, before you head home, shop in Kahala Mall. Another interesting place to tour is the Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts site.
Black Point Pool is a forbidden fruit available to the few – an Oahu gem well worth visiting if you can do so legally. However you choose to visit, be sure to show respect to the area, and to the people and wildlife that live there. Pack out what you pack in – don’t leave trash, and don’t walk in the well-marked nesting areas. Who knows- your behavior could impact future visitors! So pass on some positivity and enjoy the beauty of Oahu respectfully, peacefully and with a wholesome sense of adventure!
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the most up-to-date information, we always recommend you do your own research before you travel to a particular area, and check conditions with official sites. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your adventure!