South of Kiholo

The South Kohala Coast offers some of the most luxurious resorts on the world. Large resorts, beach parks, houses, and a small port occupy much of the coastline. Despite all of this there are still wild stretches of coastline to explore. Places with no development, where you can hike alone for a couple hours.

A black sand beach south of Kiholo Bay
A black sand beach south of Kiholo Bay

One of these undeveloped stretches runs several miles from the State Park at Kiholo Bay south to the resort area centered around the Hualalai Four Seasons, the most exclusive resort on the coastline.

A few friends and co-workers were camping out at Kiholo Bay over the weekend. An open invitation had also been sent out to our group for a hike south of the bay along the coastline. For once my weekend was not already committed and I decided to take the short drive down to Kiholo to join in.

The campsites at Kiholo are some of the best to be had anywhere on the island, deeply shaded with good access along black sand beach. A few years back the state ended the open access that saw some folks essentially living on the beach here and implemented a reservation system for the sites. At the same time cleaning up the area and developing a small campground.

A traditional Hawaiian trail along the coast south of Kiholo Bay
A traditional Hawaiian trail along the coast south of Kiholo Bay

The trail to the south of the bay is the historic coastal trail the crosses the fresh aʻa flows from Hualālai that entered the sea here in 1800. The trail is well built in the traditional style, with low areas filled in and smooth, water worn stepping stones.

The coast here is beautiful, the clear water revealing boulders covered in coral that front the low sea cliffs. There two larger black sand beaches along the way, with several smaller pocket beaches hidden in tiny coves.

A couple times along the way I launched the drone for a quick flight. No long flights, just enough to take a few photos and a video or two of the coastline.

Further on there is a section of older pahoehoe lava forming the coastline. Here collapsed lava tube create narrow channels that lead the waved inland for some distance, or create blowholes ringed with salt where the sea spray rushes up.

As the Sun traveled towards noon the heat grew oppressive and we found our way back to the shade of the campsites. A few miles out and back over the rugged lava trail complete.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

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