- Click here to see videos of Kapoho Tide Pools Big Island, Hawaii and Kalapana Lava Flow Ocean Entry of the lava flow from Halemaumau.
Kapoho is truly is a swimmer's paradise. The volcano-heated fishponds are a very toasty temperature. The ocean is warm, too, compared to most locales. There are amazing sights just beneath the surface, so be sure you get out some snorkeling or diving gear and go investigate. You will discover a beautiful, mysterious and fascinating world under the sea.
Here are a few places to swim and dive. Geographically from closest to further away.
- Kapoho Beach and nearby Vacationland (see below) are two of the Big Island's best spots for swimming and snorkeling A fantastic labyrinth of tide pools and volcanically heated swimming holes were formed when lava claimed down Kilauea's slopes and into the sea.
- The pools are permeated by fresh ocean waters that bring with them a vast array of marine life, yet are sheltered from the hammering surf and treacherous rip tides present at many Big Island beaches.
- In Kapoho small tide pools dot the entire coastline. These pools are filled to the brim with sea creatures, making them an excellent place for exploration. The Kapoho tide pools boast many different types of fish and a multicolored coral bed. In Kapoho you will find crystal clear water and calm surf conditions which are excellent for children and weaker swimmers.
The first group of swimming areas are at Kapoho Beach. Only guests staying at Kapoho Beach have access to these spots.
Regardless of the ocean conditions, these tidal pools are protected from the surf. The calm conditions also allow easy entry into the water. However, make sure you bring sandals / water shoes for the short walk over lava rocks. You will also find lava shelves for sunbathing.
Many of the pools here are interconnected and allow you to snorkel from pool to pool. These tide pools are so close together, that when they are not interconnected, you can simply climb out of one and drop down into the next one. This is a nice trip even if you do not have snorkeling gear. The clear tidal pools and warm sun offer a true taste of paradise.Click Here to get more Information about Kapoho Tide Pools
- This lovely pond is another of Kapoho's treasures. An inlet from the ocean allows tropical fish and an occasional sea turtle to come and go as they please.
You'll feel different degrees in water temperature as you move through warm, volcano heated springs and refreshing ocean currents.
You can step into this pond from our Kapoho Paradise property.
University Pond & Black Sand Beach
- This bit of shoreline was named for the University of Hawaii, who 'seeded' it with many different types of coral after the 1960 lava flow here at Kapoho Beach. The coral has since flourished and is truly a sight to see Tropical fish abound here, and our resident turtle family likes to feed there, too.
University Pond and Black Sand Beach can be reached: Follow Laimana Road going out from Kapoho Paradise Home - Turn right towards the lighthouse - Turn right at the end, then - Bare left and follow the loop road onto the lava flow - Take the public access road out - Marked by a small chain and sign saying 'no vehicles' - Out onto the lava flow - Follow the path to the ocean and then look to your right - Go over to the little trees and you'll find the black sand beach - From the shore you usually can't even tell that it's a pond unless the tide is exceptionally low.
University Pond is also accessible from Champagne Pond: Follow the 4-wheel drive road out around the point towards the lighthouse - The pond is marked by the second patch of green bushes and small trees - The remainder of the areas are accessible by everyone.
Vacationland Tide Pools
- The neighborhood just southwest of Kapoho Beach is known as Vacationland Vacationland's lava flows provide an excellent setting for swimming, diving and picnicking, as is evidenced by the number of locals you will see out on the lava flows with their picnic stuff.
The coral and fish laden tide pools here, make for great snorkeling. For the best coral, head out towards the waves at about a 45 degree angle When you reach the coral, turn back towards the shore and you'll find aces of very old coral that has been spared by lava flows for ages.
To get there from Kapoho Beach: Go past the gatehouse - Turn left at the first din (cinder) road - Turn left (about 4 blocks) on paved road called Kapoho Kai Drive - Follow main road to the end - Turn left as the road bends to the left, you'll see the water - The public access area is on the right.
To get there from anywhere else: Go south (towards Kalapana) on Red Road (Rt. 137) - Turn left at fourth road (Kapoho Kai Drive) - Follow main road to the end - Turn left as the road bends to the left, you'll see the water - The public access area is on the right.
Kehena Black Sand Beach
- If majestic black sand beaches are on your itinerary, take the scenic drive down Red Road to Kehena You may recognize it - it's often used as a location for TV commercials because of its beauty. Body boarding and body surfing are possible during calmer tides. Kehena is also great for getting tans without lines - it's secluded and rather inconspicuous location has made it a favorite swimming and picnicking area among the Island's 'clothing optional' inhabitants.
This spectacular beach will certainly take your breath away, but don't let your good judgment follow_ The beach sits at the bottom of a cliff and you mast navigate a fairly steep path down to the beach There aren't any lifeguards or services. The currents there can be VERY strong (take it from one who found out first hand!), so don't swim out too far Use caution stay reasonably close to shore (when in doubt, watch the locals) and you'll have a blast swimming and riding the waves.
There are not any signs, but there are usually a number of cars parked here in the small parking lot and along the shoulder of the road. You can't see the beach from the road, but if you follow the path just before the parking lot and make your way (carefully') down the slope, you will be rewarded with the sight of one of Puna most striking beaches.
To get there: Drive past the gatehouse to the end of the road - Turn left onto Red Road (highway 137) - Proceed for about 11 miles to the 19-mile marker - Unfortunately, there isn't a 19-mile marker so check your odometer at the 18-mile marker - Park along the side of the road or in the parking lot on the left side of the road.
Isaac Hale Beach County Park
- This is a favorite surfing and body boarding place among the locals There is also a boat launch that is used by local fisherman. One can often buy fresh fish from them right at the boat launch.
Ainapo Trail -Na Ala Hele Hawaii Trail & Access System
- Difficulty. Challenging
Trailhead: The trailhead for the Ainapo Trail begins at the 5.650-foot elevation, within the Kapapala Forest Reserve.
Access: Take Highway 11 south of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to a gate and cattle guard at the 40.5 mile point (midway between mile markers 40 and 41) on the mauka (mountain) side of the highway. There you can access an 8-mile 4-wheel-drive road across Kapapala Ranch and through Kapapala Forest Reserve to the Ainapo trailhead. Limited parking is available. Note: Use of the Ainapo Trail requires hikers and campers to contact Kapapala Ranch at (808) 928-6202 to obtain the combination for their locked gate. This combination is changed on a daily basis. Please contact the Ranch during the "evening" hours of 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. prior to your hike
Trail Distance. The distance from the trailhead to the Ainapo Trail Shelter at Halewai is approximately 2.7 miles (hiking time approx. 2.5 hours). After Halewai, the trail ascends 7.5 miles (hiking time approx. 8-12 hours) to the Mauna Loa cabin on the rim of Mokuaweoweo within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (This latter section of the trail is considered challenging and should not be attempted by novice hikers or those unfamiliar with the extreme environmental conditions. which may be encountered.) General Information: Rain catchment water is available at the trail shelter at Halewai at the 7.750 foot elevation. PURIFY BEFORE DRINKING. Reservations and a free permit may be obtained from Forestry and Wildlife to overnight at the trail shelter_ Hikers continuing to the summit need to register with the National Park Rangers Call (808) 967-7311 for information or see camping.
Caution: The trail lies within a unit B game management area. Seasonal bird hunting is allowed within Kapapala Ranch.
The Ainapo Trail, from Kapapala to Mokuaweoweo, the summit caldera on Mauna Loa, was pioneered by prehistoric Hawaiians. Vegetation varies from mixed mesic koa/ohia forest to alpine stone desert. Note: The Ainapo Trail to Mauna Loa Summit is rougher and steeper than either of the two Hawaii Volcanoes National Park trails to the Mauna Loa Summit listed elsewhere in this section.
Akaka Falls State Park
- End of Akaka Falls Road (Hwy 220). 3.6 miles southwest of Honomu
(South Hilo District)
Pleasant self-guided walk through lush tropical vegetation and to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling Akaka Falls which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. The 0.4-mile loop footpath requires some physical exertion.
Donkey Trail - Na Ala Hele Hawaii Trail & Access System
- Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead. The trail starts from the old Hawaii Belt Road. now a 4 mile scenic route between Papaikou and Pepeekeo off Highway 19. Look for the trail sign on the makai (ocean) side of the road above Onomea Beay. Parking is limited.
Trail Distance: 0.5 mile round trip. half-hour. Highest point 160 feet. lowest sea level. no camping. Trail Route: The trail goes directly to the point between Kenanue and Kahalii Bays.
Caution: The trail crosses private property. Straying from the public access route constitutes trespassing.
The Donkey trail is part of a monarchy period government cart road and was used for hauling goods from the landing at Onomea. It is steep. the treadway is uneven and often slippery. Use caution while traversing. Mosquito repellant recommended.
Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
- Queen Kaahumanu Hwy (Hwy 19) / 2.3 miles south of Kawaihae - South Kohala District - 61.8 acres of landscaped beach park with swimming during calm seas. Picnic area, pavilion, restroom, food concession. drinking water. Hiking along the historic coastal trail. Ala Kahakai. Beach activities (lifeguard senates). No tent camping. Six A-frame shelters only.
Hawaii State Forestry & Wildlife
- Island of Hawaii District Office
Dept. of Land & Natural Resources
P. O. Box 4849
(19 E. Kawili Street) Hilo. HI 96720
Tel. (808) 974-4221
Hours. 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Mon-Fri. (Closed Weekendsl & State Holidays)
For information on Big Island's forest reserve trails and free site maps. please contact the above office.61.8 acres of landscaped beach park with swimming during calm seas. Picnic area, pavilion, restroom, food concession. drinking water. Hiking along the historic coastal trail. Ala Kahakai. Beach activities (lifeguard senates). No tent camping. Six A-frame shelters only.
Hawaii State Parks
- Island of Hawaii District Office
Dept. of Land & Natural Resources
P. O. Box 936
(75 Aupuni Street. #204)
Hilo. HI 96721-0936
Tel. (808) 974-6200 (Closed Weekends/State Holidays)
Hours: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. (Reservations taken 8 a.m.- noon only)
For information on State Parks trails on Big Island and free site maps please contact the above office or visit the State Parks Website.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- P O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park. HI 96718-0052
Tel. (808) 985-6000 (open 24 hours per day. all year)
Distances to the Park: From Hilo - 30 miles southwest on Highway 11: From Kailua-Kona - 96 miles southeast on Highway 11. or 125 miles through Waimea and Hilo via Highways 19 and 11.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses 333.000 acres from sea level to the 13.677-foot summit of Mauna Loa, the world's largest and most active volcano. It is home to Kilauea Volcano, Mauna Loa's dynamic smaller sibling which provides frequent opportunities for lava viewing. For your safety, upon arrival talk to the ranger in the Kilauea Visitor Center about current lava flow conditions. There are a wide variety of walks. hikes. and back-country trails in the Park (see Hawaii Volcanoes National Park trails below). Whenever you hike, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Carry adequate water according to the hike's difficulty. length. and the expected temperature. Most Park trails are well maintained and marked, but some back-country trails are rough, marked only by ahu, which are cairns (piles of rock). Free trail guides and other important information is available at the Park's Kilauea Visitor Center See camping section for camping and cabins in the Park. For more information, please visit the Park's Website. (The 7-day park entry fee is $10 per vehicle; $5 per bicyclist or pedestrian; free for Golden Age/Eagle Passport holders.)
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Crater Rim Trail
- Difficulty: Challenging
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 11 mile loop / All day
The trail begins at the Kilauea Visitor Center.
General Information: Bring water and food. Be prepared for hot and dry. and wet and windy weather. Expect sulfur fumes in the Halemaumau Crater and southwest rift zone.
Encircle Kilauea's summit ca/dera, pass through desert and rain forest, view Halemaumau and Keanakakoi Craters and Mauna Loa. Plants, birds, insects, desert, rain forest. steam vents, caldera. craters.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Devastation Trail
- Difficulty: Easy Walk
Trail Miles / Hiking Time. 1 mile roundtrip / 45 minutes roundtrip
Driving Miles / Time from Visitor Center to Trailhead: 4 miles / 15 minutes.
The trail begins at the Devastation Trail parking lot on Crater Rim Drive.
General Information: Wheelchair and stroller accessible paved path. Stay on the trail. Do not climb Puu Puai cinder cone.
Walk over the cinder outfall and through a forest recovering from Kilauea /ki's 1959 eruption. Plants, birds, insects, cinder with olivine and Pele's hair and tears, tree molds, cinder and spatter cone.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Earthquake (Waldron Ledge)
- Difficulty. Easy
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 1 mile roundtrip / 45 minutes roundtrip
The trail begins to the left of the Volcano House Hotel.
General Information: Wheelchair and stroller accessible trail over paved road surface.
Walk over a section of road cracked-up in 1983 by a magnitude 6.6 Mauna Loa earthquake Plants. birds, insects. earthcracks, views of Kilauea Caldera and Mauna Loa.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Halape Trail
- Difficulty: Challenging (recommended for experienced backpackers only)
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 15 miles roundtrip / 2 days roundtrip
The trail starts at the Keauhou Trailhead or at the end of the Hilina Pali Road. An alternate route to Chain of Craters Road is found at Puu Loa parking area via the old Coastal Trail.
General Information: Hikers are advised to carry plenty of water and be prepared for heat and high humidity.
The trail descends about 2.200 feet to a small beach and a cliff-backed shelter. A descent to the sea!
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Halemaumau Overlook
- Difficulty: Easy Walk
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 1/2 mile roundtrip, 10 minute walk roundtrip
General Information: Warning! Volcanic fumes are hazardous to your health. Visitors with heart or breathing problems. and infants. young children and pregnant women should avoid this area.
A short walk to the crater's edge. Native Hawaiians practice their ancient traditions at Halemaumau Crater. Please respect this sacred Hawaiian site. Do not build rock piles or leave any items that may desecrate this area.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Halemaumau Trail
- Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 7 miles roundtrip / 3 to 6 hours roundtrip
The trail begins to the right of the Volcano House Hotel.
General Information. Bring water and food. Prepare for hot. dry and wet. windy weather. Beware of sulfur fumes: people with heart and breathing problems should avoid this trail.
Descend 400 feet through rain forest. cross Kilauea Caldera to Halemaumau Crater Trail ends at the crater or return via Byron Ledge and Crater Rim trail. Plants, birds, insects, pahoehoe lava flows, steam vents, spatter ramparts, crater, caldera.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Iliahi - Sandalwood Trail
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 1.5 mile loop / 1 to 2 hours
The trail begins to the right of the Volcano House Hotel.
General Information: Bring water. Stay on the trail and beware of steam vents. earthcracks and cliffs. Hike through rain forest, past steam vents with views of Kilauea Caldera, Halemaumau Crater and Mauna Loa. Rain forest, birds. insects, steam vents, earthcracks, fault scarps.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Kilauea Iki Trail
Difficulty. Moderate to Challenging
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 4 mile loop / 2 to 3 hours
Driving Miles / Time from Visitor Center to Trailhead: 2 miles / 10 minutes.
The trail begins at the Kilauea Iki Overlook parking lot on Crater Rim Drive.
General Information: Bring water. Expect wet and windy weather and some steep and rocky terrain. Follow the ahu (rock piles) across the crater floor.
Descend 400 feet through rain forest, cross the crater floor, pass Puu Puai cinder cone, and return via the crater's rim. Rain forest, birds, insects, 1959 lava lake, steam vents, cinder and spatter cone.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Kipuka Pualulu - Bird Park Trail
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 1.2 mile loop trail / 1 hour roundtrip
Driving Miles / Time from Visitor Center to Trailhead: 5 miles / 20 minutes
The trail begins at Kipuka Puaulu parking area on Mauna Loa Road.
Self-guided loop trail along unpaved path through an "island" of forest and meadow rich with rare plants. Old-growth forest of koa and ohia, kipuka, birds, insects. Native birds are uncommon but exotic birds such as the house finch, northern cardinal, Japanese white-eye, kalif pheasant, melodious laughing-thrush, and red-billed leiothrix are often observed.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Mauna Iki Trail
- Difficulty. Moderate
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 3.6 miles roundtrip / 2 hours roundtrip
Driving Miles from Park Headquarters to Trailhead: 9 1 miles southwest of Park Headquarters on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) at Kau Desert Trailhead.
Trail leads to an exhibit of the footprints made by Hawaiian warriors in 1790 ash. The trail branches from the Mauna lki Trail. Mauna Iki is a low dome from the 1920 southwest rift eruption. The trail also continues beyond the exhibit to Mauna /ki, with alternate routes into the Kau Desert or to the Kilauea Summit Take care not to disturb the fragile footprints along the trail.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Mauna Loa Summit Trail - Mauna Loa Road Route
- Difficulty: Extremely challenging and strenuous - Recommended for experienced and well-equipped backpackers only.
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 36.6 miles roundtrip / 4 days round-trip
The trailhead is located at the end of the Mauna Loa Road. which leaves Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 11). about 2 miles west of the park entrance. The trek begins at the top of Mauna Loa Strip Road at an elevation of 6.662 feet.
General Information: It takes two days to climb to the south rim of Mokuaweoweo Caldera at 13.250 feet. Most hikers spend the first night in a cabin at Red Hill (10.035 feet) and proceed to the summit shelter on the second day. It takes an additional half day to hike around the caldera to the true summit at 13.677 feet. Snow, wind and altitude sickness can be hazards.
Vegetation vanes from mixed mesic koa/ohia forest to alpine stone desert. The trail is less steep and rough than the Ainapo trail to the summit.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Mauna Loa Summit Trail - Mauna Loa Summit Trail - Observatory Route
- Difficulty: Strenuous - Recommended for experienced and well-equipped backpackers only. Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 26 miles roundtrip / 2 days roundtrip
The trail begins at the Mauna Loa Weather Observatory at the 11.000-foot level The Observatory is located at the end of Observatory Road. off the Saddle Road (Hwy 200). one-half mile east of the Mauna Kea Road Junction (6 miles one way).
General Information: Before taking this trail. hikers are advised to spend the night in their cars at the end of the road near the observatory since no accommodations are available. (Breathing during sleep automatically acclimatizes the body to the higher altitude.) Good hikers can do the trail in one day. but it's better to spend the night at Mauna Loa. Snow. wind. and altitude sickness can be hazards. The trail is a shorter mute to Mauna Loa Summit than either the trail leaving from Mauna Loa Road or the Ainapo trail. However. this trail traverses a more desolate area due to recent lava flows and there is very little vegetation along the route.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Napau Trail
- Difficulty: Challenging
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 14 miles roundtrip / All day.
Driving Miles / Time from Visitor Center to Trailhead: 8 miles / 25 minutes.
The trail begins at Mauna Ulu parking lot on Chain of Craters Road.
General Information: Bring water and food. Expect rain, wind and sulfur fumes. Follow the ahu (rock piles) and stay on the trail. Wear sturdy shoes.
Hike over pahoehoe lava flows and through rain forest, pass Puu Huluhulu, Mauna Ulu and Makaopuhi, and view Napau and Puu Oo. Pahoehoe lava flows, kipuka, lava trees, pit craters, cinder cones, rain forest. birds, insects.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Puu Huluhulu Trail
- Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 3 miles roundtrip / 2 hours roundtrip
Driving Miles /Time from Visitor Center to Trailhead: 8 miles / 25 minutes The trail begins at the Mauna Ulu parking area on Chain of Craters Road.
General Information: Bring water. Prepare for hot and dry or wet and windy weather. Follow the ahu (rock piles) over the lava flows. Sulfur fumes may be strong on some days.
Cross '73 and '74 lava flows, through kipuka. past lava trees. and climb 150 feet to the summit of Puu Huluhulu. On a clear day, view Mauna Loa. Mauna Kea. Puu Oo and the Pacific Ocean. Pahoehoe lava, kipuka, lava trees, cinder cone, lava shield, pioneer plants, panoramic vista.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Puu Loa Petroglyphs Trail
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 2 miles roundtrip / 1-1/2 hours roundtrip
Driving Miles / Time from Visitor Center to Trailhead: 20 miles / 45 minutes.
The trail begins at the Puu Loa parking area on Chain of Craters Road.
General Information: Petroglyphs are fragile. Stay on the boardwalk. Bring water. wear sunglasses and hat.
Coastal trail traverses older lava flows to the most extensive petroglyph field in all of Polynesia. Pahoehoe lava flows.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Thurston Lava Tube
- Difficulty: Easy Walk
Trail Miles / Hiking Time: 0.3 mile loop trail / 20 minute walk roundtrip
Driving Miles / Time from Visitor Center to Trailhead: 20 miles / 45 minutes.
A fascinating walk through a tree fern forest and prehistoric cave-like lava tube. Watch for native forest birds - ape pane are usually abundant.
Kaheawai Trail - Na Ala Hale Hawaii Trail & Access System
- Difficulty: Easy Walk
Trail Distance. 12 miles round trip / 6 hours roundtrip
Trail Difficulty. Moderate. highest point 1900 feet, lowest sea level. horses allowed. Natural Area Reserve System.
Trailhead: The trail begins from Highway 11 where it crosses the east boundary of the Manuka Natural Area Reserve. It is marked by a sign on the makai (ocean) side of the highway about the 79.8 mile point. Parking is available nearby at Manuka State Park.
Route: The trail descends 1.900 feet through dry land forest and sparsely vegetated lava fields to a point about 3.5 miles south of Manuka Bay where a jeep road parallels the coast.
General Information: Climate in the area is generally dry but occasional heavy rains occur during the winter months. No potable water occurs along the route. Horses are permitted.
Caution: The trail lies within a unit C game management area. the 83 mile marker and parallels the west boundary of Manuka. A 4-wheel-drive vehicle is required to negotiate this access.
- The upper portion of the trail passes through native ohia forest which becomes progressively sparser as it descends. The lower portion crosses barren lava flows and pockets of brush and grass. The recommended way to enjoy the trail is to be dropped off at the upper end of Highway 11 and be picked up at the jeep trail along the coast. Vehicle access to the coastline is via the mauka (mountain) side access road which proceeds towards the sea from Highway 11 at about the 83 mile marker and parallels the west boundary of Manuka. A 4-wheel-drive vehicle is required to negotiate this access.
Kaloko - Honokohau
- National Historical Park
73-4786 Kanalani Street. #14
Kailua-Kona. HI 96740
Tel. (808) 329-6881
Kaloko-Honokohau is located at the base of Hualalai Volcano. along the Kona coast . It is 3 miles north of Kailua-Kona and 3 miles south of Keahole-Kona International Airport along Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Hwy 19).
Established in 1978 for the preservation, protection and interpretation of traditional native Hawaiian activities and culture, this 1160-acre park is of incredible cultural and historical significance. It is the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement which encompasses portions of four different ahupuaa. or traditional sea to mountain land divisions. Resources include fishponds, kahua (house site platforms), kii pohaku (petroglyphs), holua (stone slide). and heiau (religious site). Visitors can hike along the coast through the park and enjoy other activities such as picnicking. fishing. snorkeling. swimming. bird watching. and surfing.
Kalopa State Recreation Area
- Kalopa Road i 3 miles inland from Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 19) / approx. 5 miles southeast of Honokaa.
- Exquisite multi-tiered Falls - as dose to Eden as it gets. (1/2 hour one-way.)
100 acres located 5 miles southeast of Honokaa. Easy family nature hike (0.7 mile loop trail) in a native ohia forest at the 2,000-foot elevation. Picnic area, pavilion, restrooms, drinking water Tent camping and group accommodations. No cabins. Additional trails in the adjoining forest reserve, including a 2-mile horse loop trail.
Exceptional geologic features are in this reserve of 3.894 acres. Just as massive glaciers were forming and receding on the continents during the Ice Age. the high slopes of Mauna Kea had coinciding intervals of ice cover. The features of erosion and deposition left by the action of four successive glaciers are prime natural assets protected by the reserve. Another significant geologic feature is Lake Waiau, which at 13.020 feet elevation is one of the highest lakes in the United States. A complex and well preserved archaeological site with adz quarries and related ancient Hawaiian cultural remains is also located here. At 13,796 feet, the view from the summit of the tallest mountain in the Pacific is nothing short of awesome!
The trail extends through scrubby ohia forest, brush and grass land, and relatively recent barren lava. It offers an interesting nature hike, traversing the area between approximately 5,500-6,000 feet elevations and providing the opportunity to observe native plants of the mid to higher elevations. The trail offers good opportunities to observe liwi, Apapane, Elepaio. Omao and occasionally Nene birds. It was pioneered by early cattle ranchers to drive their stock to embarkation points on the coast.
The Muliwai Trail is an old Hawaiian trail used for access between the Waipio and Waimanu valleys on the Hamakua Coast. These beautiful valleys are rich in cultural history having supported large populations of Hawaiians in the past. Vegetation along the trail consist of native forest interspersed with exotics.
From Waipio Valley overlook at the end of HWY 240 down to the valley floor take the rd to the left approximately 0.75 mile to the trail. Incredible view of a 1600 ft waterfall. (One hour one way)
- Trailhead: The trail connects with the Saddle Road at two points approximately 17.4 and 19.8 miles from Hilo. The trail is a remnant portion of the old Puu Oo-Kaumana Trail which was used as an access route between Hilo and the saddle area between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It extends along the 1855 lava flow from approximately 5.200 feet elevation down to 4.800 feet.
Vegetation on the lava flow is scrubby ohia and brush with some grass. The trail passes kipukas of ohia and tree fern. Common native birds are readily sighted along the trail. It is suited for short nature hikes. Hikers can be dropped off at the upper end and be picked up at the lower end.
Kekaha Kai Kona Coast State Park
- On Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Hwy. 19). 2.6 miles north Keahole Airport . Separate. unpaved 1.5 mile access roads from highway lead to Mahaiula and Kua Bay (Maniniowali) sections of the park. (North Kona District)
A 1,642.5 acre park. The Mahaiula section has a sandy beach and dune offering opportunities for swimming and beach-related activities. A picnic area with tables and portable toilets are available. A 4.5-mile hike north through this wilderness park on the historic coastal trail, Ala Kahakai, leads to Kua Bay (Maniniowali). Midway. a hike to the summit of Puu Kuili, a 342-foot high cinder cone, offers an excellent view of the coastline. Dry and hot with no drinking water. Kua Bay (Maniniowali) section at north end of park offers beach-related activities.
Lava Tree State Monument
- Off Pahoa-Pohoiki Road (Hwy 132): 2.7 miles southeast of Pahoa. Puna District
17.1 acres. Viewing of a forest of lava trees along a 0.7 mile loop trail. This unusual volcanic feature is the result of a lava flow that swept through this forested area and left behind lava molds of the tree trunks. Picnicking opportunities. No drinking water.
Mackenzie State Recreation Area
- Kalapana-Kapoho Beach Road (Highway 137). 9 miles northeast of Kaimu. Puna District
13.1 acres located 9 miles northeast of Kaimu - isolated. low cliffed. wild volcanic coastline. Tent camping only in ironwood grove. Good shore fishing. Old Hawaiian coastal trail traverses the park. Cultural sites, scenic vistas. Picnic area. pavilion, restrooms. No drinking water.
Manuka Loop Trail - Na Ala Hele Hawaii Trail & Access System
- Trail Difficulty: Easy. highest point 2.200 feet. lowest 1.800 feet. No camping. trail guide. Natural Area Reserve System.
Trail Distance 2 miles roundtrip / 2 hours roundtrip
Trailhead: Manuka State Park near the 80 mile point on Highway 11. 19.3 miles west of Naalehu. Route: Trail begins above the parking area of the park and loops into the typical ohia forest type of the area. The trail exits on the left side of the park and is relatively easy It should take about 2 hours to traverse.General Information: Parking. water. picnic tables and toilets are available. Open shelter camping. no drinking water. Mosquito repellant is recommended.
Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve: Lake Waiau Summit
- Take the Saddle Road (Hwy 200) to Mauna Kea Road. Lake Waiau is located at the 13.000-foot elevation. near the summit of Mauna Kea off Mauna Kea Road (approximately 800 feet from top of the extinct 13.796 foot volcano). The lake is accessible via a 30 minute walk from the road. Prepare for snow at the summit if visiting this area in winter. Note: check with the U-Drive Company - the Saddle Road (Hwy 200) is the only road to Mauna Kea and is off limits to most rental cars.
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area
- Saddle Road (Highway 200) / 35.1 miles west of Downtown Hilo. Note: check with the U-Drive Company - the Saddle Road (Hwy 200) is the only road to the park and is off limits to most rental cars. (Hamakua District)
20.5 acres of shrubland at the 6,500-foot elevation - dry and clear weather with cold nights. Good views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. National natural landmark site. Hiking. Picnic area, open field, restrooms. No water (bring your own water for drinking, bathing). Cabins. No tent camping.
Milolii Beach County Park
- Trailhead: Off Highway 11 in South Kona. Approximately 30 miles south of Kailua-Kona (South Kona District)
The trail follows the coast to Niuou Point. (Approximately 4 miles one-way.)
Onomea Trails - Na Ala Hele Hawaii Trail & Access System
- Trail Difficulty: Easy. highest point 140 feet, lowest sea level, no camping.
Trail Distance: 0.7 mile roundtrip / 45 minutes roundtrip
Trailhead: The trail starts from the old Hawaii Belt Road (4 mile scenic route between Papaikou and Pepeakeo off Highway 19), about 1/2 mile Hilo side of the Donkey trail. Parking is limited. Route. The trail follows the alignment of the old government road into Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens and splits at Alakahl (Kukilu) stream. one branch turns right to Alakahi (Kukilu) Bay and the other continues directly across the Garden to the east side of Onomea stream The stream may be forded at this point to connect with the Donkey trail.
General Information: No camping or open fires are allowed. Mosquito repellant is recommended. Caution: The trail crosses private property. Straying from the fenced public access route constitutes trespassing.
A hike through a beautiful area.
Powerline Road and Puu Oo Trail
- Trailhead: The Power Line Road (PLR) intersects with the Saddle Road between mile posts 22 and 23. Park just past the PLR sign marking the entrance to a primitive road heading south across the jumbled lava.
Forested kipukas, islands of vegetation. dot the barren landscape. One to three miles down the road, walk across the pahoehoe lava and into the kipuka to see common native forest birds as well as four endangered forest birds - akepa, akiapolaau, Hawaii creeper, and io. Nene also nest in the area and are sometimes seen flying overhead. About a half mile west of Power Line Road. the Puu Oo Trail
works its way 3 to 4 miles through kipukas of various sizes. Most of the common native forest birds can be seen along this trail.
Puako Petroglyphs Trail
- Trailhead: Go north from Kailua-Kona on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Hwy 19). After approximately 30 miles turn seaward onto Puako Road. and follow the road to the end. Alternatively. follow trail from nearby resort the Orchid at Mauna Lani (approx. 1/2 mile from hotel).
South Kohala District
- Hundreds of stone carvings of the ancient Hawaiians - possibly the most extensive concentration anywhere in the islands.
Puu Huluhulu Trail - Na Ala Hele Hawaii Trail & Access System
- Trail Difficulty: Moderate because of elevation. highest point 6700 feet. lowest 6560 feet. Trail Distance: 0.6 mile roundtrip 145 minutes roundtrip
Trailhead: Junction of Saddle Road (Highway 20) and Mauna Loa Observatory access road at the 277 mile point from Hilo. Parking is available.
Route: A short double loop trail constructed by the Youth Conservation Corps.
General Information: No camping or open fires are allowed.
Caution. Puu Huluhulu lies within a unit E game management area. Seasonal bird hunting is allowed. (Hamakua District)
This trail provides an excellent opportunity to view native vegetation which was once abundant in the Humuula saddle area poor to the introduction of livestock and the advent of the lava flows of 1843 and 1935. The top of the Puu makes an excellent picnic site and provides wide views of the area. The trail is short. easily traversed and Ideal for youngsters on a day's outing.
Puu Oo Trail Na Ala Hele Hawaii Trail & Access System
- Trail Difficulty: Moderate because of elevation. highest point 5810 feet. lowest 5650.
Trail Distance: 7 miles roundtrip 14 hours roundtrip
Trailhead The trail starts from Saddle Road (Hwy 20) approximately 22.4 miles from Hilo. It is identified by a sign on the south side of the road. Parking is limited.
Route: South through pioneer ohia forest. brush and grass land in the direction of Volcano Village. The trail passes over the 1855 and 1881 lava flows and through kipuka of mixed native species and older koa. Hikers may return by way of Powerline road. a hunter access road which intersects the trail at about the 3.7 mile point and joins Saddle road about a half mile closer to Hilo.
General Information: Inclement weather (rain and fog) is not unusual and may be experienced without warning. Warm clothing and rain gear should be brought along. Horses are permitted. Caution: The trail lies within Kipuka Ainahou. a Nene sanctuary and unit E game management area. Seasonal bird hunting is allowed. In sections where the trail crosses pahoehoe lava flows. the trail can be difficult to follow. especially when low lying clouds. which should be expected daily. reduce visibility. Hikers should remain on the trail to avoid getting disoriented and lost.
Puuhonua O Honaunau
- National Historical Park P. 0. Box 129
Honaunau. HI 96726 (South Kona District)
Tel. (808) 328-2326 (Administration): (808) 328-2288 (Visitor Center)
A 181.8-acre park. Until 1819, vanquished Hawaiian warriors, noncombatants, and kapu breakers could escape death by reaching this sacred ground. Prehistoric house sites. royal fishponds. coconut groves. and spectacular shore scenery comprise the park. Green sea turtles can often be spotted in Keone Be cove . Humpback whales can be seen during the winter months. Handouts on the local plants and birds are available. A 1871 historic trail (approx. 1 mile) has many archeological sites including temple sites (heiau). some sledding tracks (holua). and old house sites. There is also an open lava tube cave that ends at the face of a sea cliff Watch your head as the ceiling is low and flashlights are recommended. Ask at the visitor center for a backcountry trail guide. The park celebrates its annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival on the weekend that falls closest to July 1. Note: The Green Sea Turtle is a Federally protected endangered species - please do not touch them and keep 10 feet away. For your own safety, please do not jump from the cliff or opening of the lava tube cave.
South Point - Ka Lae
- Trailhead: Located at the end of South Point Road off Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 11). near Waiohinu.
- Trailhead: Go 16 miles north of Hilo on the Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 19). At Mile Marker 16. take the road inland. Turn right and park by the first gulch. Hike upstream 0.5 mile.