“Tackle this trail to visit a huge black sand beach and peek into the Honokane Nui Valley beyond.”
— Megan Wilder
Features: Views — Wildflowers
This trail starts at the end of Highway 270 after passing through the hamlet of Hawi on the North Kohala Coast. There are several designated parking spots, overflow lines the streets, but please be respectful and don't park in residents' driveways.
After enjoying the enticing views of your destination from the overlook at the parking lot, head downhill on the path. If you like, pick up one of the "loaner" hiking sticks often left at the top, they will help with balance. The trail here is a wide trough filled with embedded rocks and roots. The going is steep and often slippery with mud, but very do-able if you take your time. The trail takes a few long switchbacks to descend the hillside, and the views through the jungle foliage at each turn are great.
Upon reaching the valley floor, you are greeted with a surreal treed landscape and the sound of thundering waves. Keep an eye out for the fun rope swings here. Wade across the small stream. Usually, the water depth is only up to mid-calf, but be aware that flash floods can occur here after rains. The beach is littered with rounded lava rocks and driftwood. Please heed "Pele's Curse" and do not remove any rock/sand/shell etc. from Hawaii to take home.
From the eastern end of the beach, look for a skinny trail that switchbacks up through the improbably bright green groundcover. This increasingly eroded and muddy path winds steeply uphill often becoming a head-high gully that you hike through. This section is steamy, hot jungle travel, but be persistent! After passing through an orange metal gate, the grade eases, the breeze returns and views up and down the coastline appear. Spy pretty tropical flowers and mysterious fruits along the way. Expect lots of helicopter traffic. The trail ends at a scenic bench with delightful views deep into the Honokane Nui Valley and down into another beach. The Awini Trail used to continue into the next several valleys, but an earthquake in 2006 destroyed the trail further than this point. Retrace your steps back to the carpark.
Note: swimming at Polol Beach is NOT recommended. Surfing is only for the extremely experienced. The optional small stream crossing at the beach contains agricultural/bacterial runoff, so don't drink it or swim here with open cuts. Camping is very tempting, but not permitted.
Flora & Fauna
Chattering tropical birds.