Mahaulepu Heritage Trail
This coastal hiking area consists of several unmarked coastal trails that interconnect heading east along the ocean between "Shipwreck Beach" and the Maha'ulepu Beach adjacent to the Poipu Bay Golf Course. The 4-mile hike contours the rugged coastline with spectacular scenery all the way, but even a short walk at either end of the trail can be rewarding.
Highlights: Spectacular wild and rugged coastal hiking reveals the rare oceanfront region of Poipu that remains undeveloped. A great way to lose the crowds of Poipu!
Activity level: Moderate, terrain requires good balance.
Location: Poipu, Kauai
Hazards! Be very careful along the oceans edge, this is an unprotected region with intense underwater topography so swimming is not recommended. Covered footwear recommended as the terrain has many jagged rock features.
Where to start:
You can explore this trail from either end, or gear up for the entire round trip adventure. The easiest access is from "Shipwreck's Beach" and begins from Maka-wehi Point along the tree line left of the beach. The trail is not marked but is noticeable as it parallels the coastal edge, along the ironwood pine trees. The trail contours the coast and reveals out of this world rock formations and geology, a testament to the epic dance between volcanic building and oceanic erosion of this southern most coastal point of Kauai.
Be prepared for some exposure to the elements when attempting this hike. Bring plenty of water, shade hat, sunscreen, snacks and camera. The more self-sufficiently you travel this trail, the more you can indulge in the serenity and solitude this trail can provide.
Driving into the remote Mahaulepu Beach gets you furthest into the trail and makes for a short hike to the spectacular view from Kamala Point, featuring lithified sand caves, jagged coastal rock abutments, and secluded beaches. Waves explode on the rocks and ocean spray leaps into the predominant winds vaporizing into mists.
Mahaulepu Beaches' Best Hiking:
A trail starts from the left side of the beach that wraps along the coastline by several small blowholes. These are under ground caves connected to the ocean, as waves flow into the caves air is compressed and blasts from cracks in the ground resulting in a breathing sound. It is a unique phenomenon to witness. The trail continues out to Pao'o Point, a prominent position providing a far-reaching view of the jagged coastline. Ha'ula Beach is visible to the far left of the view and is reachable by following the inland branch of the trail. Ha'ula faces into the predominant wind of the area and has a fascinating collection of cast away objects and ocean debris. The view is spectacular of the Ha'upu Mountain and the ocean blue is pure heaven, but the wind quickly pushes the wise back to the more protected areas for longer lounging.
- Driving to Po'ipu: Take Kaumualii Highway/ HI-route 50 to Poipu and follow the signs for "Poipu/ Koloa" turning at Maluhia Road/ HI-route 520. Follow this road for several miles until you see a sign for the Koloa By-Pass aka "Ala Konoiki" follow this road to its end. At the stop sign turn left and look for the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort on the right, just past the resort turn right onto Ainakoa Road and follow to the end and the parking entrance will be on the right
- Staying in Po'ipu: Finding this beach is easy. Drive East on Poipu Road look for the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort on the right, just past the resort turn right onto Ainakoa Road and follow to the end and the parking entrance will be on the right.
To Mahaulepu Beach end of trail
- Pass the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort on the right, and continue further as the paved road turns to gravel then dirt. Best to drive slowly in this unmaintained road section, follow the road until it comes to a "T" intersection with left turn gated. Turn right and continue on to the 1st or second parking areas. Be aware that the gate closes every evening at 6 pm.