Most people use this trail in combination with the Halape Trail
as the shortest way to reach the beautiful Halape Beach. This is a backcountry route, not particularly suitable for day trippers.
From the Hilina Pali Overlook and trailhead, plunge steeply down the huge, grass-covered cliff, switchbacking repeatedly. Take your time on the loose lava rocks and consider using poles. This challenging descent is very rough on the knees, and it is worth saving ample energy for if you're climbing back up later.
After the 1.5+ mile-long downhill, the Ka'aha Trail
branches steeply off to the right (south). Stay left to remain on the mostly level Hilina Pali Trail
as it traverses the hot, dry hillside. The path through the monotonous shrubby terrain can be overgrown by grasses, so watch for the "ahu," lava rock cairns.
On its approach to the coastline, the trail turns to the east and runs along the top of a high, steep bluff. At the eastern end of the bluff, the Halape Trail
descends to Halape Beach and campsites. Continuing east to the terminus of the Hilina Pali Trail
requires some more downhill hiking before finally ending at the junction with the Keauhou Trail
"Hilina" means struck by wind, and "Pali" means cliff, so this trail is essentially named "windy cliff."