Kīholo Bay

A rugged, beautiful coastal hike to a turquoise lagoon filled with green sea turtles.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
3.2 km
Ascent
18 m
Descent
18 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
0 m
High Point
6 m
Gradient
Kīholo Bay Map

The Kīholo Bay hike is one of the best routes for seeing and swimming with honu (green sea turtles) once you reach the bay’s turquoise waters. This short, idyllic coastline hike takes you along a black sand beach, under tall coconut trees and thorny keawe trees, over dried a’a lava rocks (rocky and jagged dried black lava), by a lava tube filled with brackish water, and ends at the stunning Wainanali’i Lagoon. Here, you can cool down and swim by green sea turtles in the wild—just make sure to give them plenty of space.

Description

To reach the trailhead, drive to mile marker 82 on Highway 19 heading south. Turn down the unmarked gravel road leading to the shoreline and drive to the end of it, where you can park your car on the side of the road. Head straight down the dry earth path towards the ocean until you hit the shoreline. You’ll be amazed by the view. The island’s rocky coastline opens up on both sides of you, and you can distinctly see the old lava flows coming down from Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa behind you. Black lava rocks and sand beaches, blue waters, and green trees surround you.

Head east towards Kīholo Bay, hugging the coastline, and you’ll quickly come across Keanalele, a lava tube filled with a mix of freshwater and saltwater. You used to be able to lower yourself into it. However, it’s now forbidden to do so for conservation purposes. As you walk towards the bay, you’ll pass by a couple of big mansions, including the “Bali House,” famous for its unique structure. Cross the bridge over a man-made stream and have some fun walking over dried black lava rocks, marveling at their varied dried forms.

Soon enough, you reach Kīholo Bay. Make sure to cool down for a swim in its magnificent waters, keeping an eye out for turtles, before heading back the way you came.

Disclaimer: Make sure to stick to the trail, as most of the surrounding land is private property.

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly

Guidebooks in this area