Guidebook

The Big Island’s Top 7 Hikes that End on Pristine Beaches

Journey along some of the most glorious and diverse trails around the Big Island of Hawai’i to stunning beaches with black, white, and green sand.

Fabienne Lang

Description

From lush rainforest to dry lava rocks and white sand beaches, and from erupting volcanoes to rolling green hills and even snow-capped mountains, the Big Island of Hawai’i has it all. In fact, Hawai’i is home to nearly 200 distinct ecosystems, making it a natural paradise with abundant flora and fauna. Add in the fact that it has great weather year-round, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a hotspot for hiking.

As the largest island in the archipelago, the Big Island, officially called Hawai’i, has a treasure trove of incredible hikes amongst its formidable and diverse landscapes. You can hike along the forest- and jungle-covered Hāmākua Coast with its dramatic cliffs, black sand beaches, and waterfalls that soar thousands of feet high. Or you can hike the desert-like landscape of the southern tip of the island or even to the flatter, rocky dried black lava trails of the Kona Coast dotted with white sand beaches. The choice is yours.

Along the trails, the vast deep blue ocean is a constant part of the backdrop, and you’ll typically be greeted with a colourful rainbow — it’s not called the Rainbow State for nothing.

This guidebook rounds up seven of the most glorious and stunning valley and coastline hikes on the Big Island. To truly make your time in Hawai’i unforgettable, you’ll end up on a beach after every single one of these hikes. Two of them are even famous for sea turtle sightings. There are dozens more to choose from, but this hitlist will get you headed in the right direction and experiencing as much of the island’s epic ecosystems as possible.

Two of the best valley view hikes on Hawai’i are Waipi’o and Pololū, which offer sweeping vistas of multiple deep valleys, dramatic black sand beaches, sparkling blue ocean, and cascading waterfalls — not to mention terrific climbs up and down the valleys’ sides.

For easier hikes to tranquil beaches, try Makalawena Beach or Kīholo Bay, both of which are regularly visited by beautiful green sea turtles.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find an unattractive hike on the Big Island, so whichever one(s) you decide on, you’re guaranteed to have a blast and be rewarded with stunning views and amazing beaches.

Pololū Valley and Awini Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Pololū Valley and Awini Trail

1 - 2 hrs
4.5 km
347 m
347 m
An accessible valley hike with sweeping blue ocean and lush valley views.
Difficult
Private
Waipi'o Valley and Muliwai Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Waipi'o Valley and Muliwai Trail

5 - 6 hrs
17.6 km
1,109 m
1,109 m
A challenging hike with some of the most famous valley views on Hawai'i.
Difficult
Private
Kīholo Bay
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Kīholo Bay

0 - 1 hrs
3.2 km
18 m
18 m
A rugged, beautiful coastal hike to a turquoise lagoon filled with green sea turtles.
Moderate
Private
Kealakekua Bay
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Kealakekua Bay

1 - 2 hrs
6.1 km
394 m
394 m
A historical hike with majestic bay and mountain views and some of the best snorkelling on the island.
Difficult
Private
Puna Trail to Hā'ena Beach
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Puna Trail to Hā'ena Beach

2 - 3 hrs
11.9 km
83 m
83 m
A leisurely hike in lush jungle to a pristine white sand beach.
Moderate
Private
Makalawena Beach
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Makalawena Beach

1 - 2 hrs
5.6 km
32 m
32 m
A rugged hike surrounded by dried lava and sand dunes to one of the best beaches on Hawai'i.
Moderate
Private
Papakōlea Green Sand Beach
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Papakōlea Green Sand Beach

1 - 2 hrs
8.7 km
106 m
102 m
A remote hike at the southernmost tip of Hawai'i to an extremely rare green sand beach.
Moderate
Private