Round Trip Mileage: 4.2 miles
Elevation Gain: negligible
Gear: Although this is a hike along the coastline, you'll probably appreciate shoes or boots for the rough lava along the route. There is no trail.
Map: Topographical Map of the Hōnaunau Coast
Overview: This is a great off-trail hike along a pristine coastline (remember: in Hawai'i, you can always hike up to the high tide line on state land). The main attraction here is the amazingly eroded coastline that features lava arches, natural bridges, and "blowholes," which are vertical tunnels eroded into and under the lava coast that spew water into the air. This is a place where you can find some nice solitude on one of the most interesting coastlines on the Big Island.
Getting to the Trailhead: On Hwy. 11 south of Kailua-Kona, turn makai between the 103 and 104 mile markers on Hwy 160. Turn right into Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Turn onto the road to the Park and just before the Park entrance, turn makai toward Hōnaunau Bay public beach access (one-way). Follow this crumbly paved road (one-way) until it loops around and reconnects with state Hwy. 160. Park off the road before it reconnects with 160. The trailhead is unmarked. As an alternative, park at Hōnaunau Bay or even at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park the and walk up the road.
The Hike: Locate a faint trail near the parking area at the end of the short loop road. Follow this faint trail through dense vegetation toward the coastline. When you reach the cliffy coastline, remember the spot where you left the dense forest for your return trip. The rest of the route is off-trail hiking north along the coast. The coastline remains interesting for about 2 miles to the north where it abruptly becomes much less photogenic. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead. If you can't find the faint trail heading back to parking, just head south to Hōnaunau Bay and walk down the road where you parked.
While you hike along this coast, be careful of the eroding lava features and give all the blowholes a wide berth. Falling into most of these features would mean certain death.
Watch a Video of a Blowhole on the Hōnaunau Coast: