Time: 0.5 HOURS
Distance: 0.5 MILES
Elevation Gain: 50 FEET
Foot Traffic: MODERATE
Challenges: Narrow Trail, Can be slippery
Sights: Red Sand Beach, Coastline
What to Bring: Towel, Sunscreen, Swimsuit
Kaihalulu Beach has a reputation along the Road to Hana (and not just because it's clothing optional), but because it is one of the few places you can see a beach with red sand. With a quick little hike, you can get to this tucked away beach where you can watch the clear blue water crash up against the mystical red sand. If you make the drive to Hana, this is a place you will definitely want to experience.
Day 2 of our Road to Hana adventure is underway. On our first day, Indre and I hit some early stops along the road and spent a pleasant night camping at Wai'anapanapa State Park. Today, we planned to hit a few remaining stops (including Hana itself), before making our way to Kihei where we would be staying in an AirBnB for the night. First up, Kaihalulu Beach!
The hike is a short out and back, where you loop around a sea cliff to get to the cove that houses the beach. The hike is easy enough, but sometimes finding the trail is a bit tricky.
This is what the entrance to the trailhead looks like. Basically there's a small grass plot immediately after the Hana Community Center. The trailhead is located on the other side of the grass. Parking here can be tricky as there are lots of no parking zones and from what I've read, you can get cited if you violate the signs. So do your best to find an open place and as always, be respectful to those that live here.
First thing you will see as you start the trail. It may seem intimidating, but I'd say this term is very relative.
Because this is the extent of the danger you will deal with. A steep dropoff on one side of the trail and potentially slippery conditions. Pretty mild compared to ridge hikes, but everyone should know their limits. The trail is quite pleasant as it is mainly in the trees. I love that sunbeam peaking through the trees.
As you walk along the trail, you can get a nice glimpse of that Maui coastline. Black rock next to blue ocean, a common view on this part of the island.
A less common view is this red sand. It took me less than 10 minutes to get to this spot. Let's go down for a closer look.
I won't lie, the sand color did remind me a little bit of dirt. But the texture felt sandy and less coarse than the black sand we felt yesterday. And for me, knowing that this sand is the remnants of the a volcanic cinder cone, makes it that much more interesting to dig my toes into.
And even if you aren't impressed by the sand, this cove is pretty awesome. This cove was formed from the gradual erosion of Ka’uiki Head cinder cone, which are the cliffs behind you. That black lava rock just off shore forms a protected pool, making a great place for swimming/snorkeling. One last fun fact about this place... it is clothing optional. That may be a deterrent for some (and an attraction for others), but thought it was worth pointing out so there's no surprises. I don't think I quite have that carefree and confident persona to be naked in a public place and today it looked like my fellow beachgoers possessed the same characteristic.
Black Sand beach-- Check. Red Sand Beach-- Check. Next up, a hike through a bamboo forest to the largest waterfall on the island!
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Also Check Out:
- Maui Guidebook's writeup of Kaihalulu