Round Trip Mileage: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: negligible
Gear: There are no facilities of any kind at Makole'a, so plan to bring everything you'll need to visit the beach here. Pack out all trash. Bring plenty of water and don't forget the sunscreen. The trail crosses rough lava, so close-toed shoes will be appeciated.
Map: Topographical Map of Makole'a Beach
Overview: A black sand beach near Kona? Makole'a certainly isn't the best black sand beach on the Big Island, and it isn't even close to the best beach in the Kona area in general. But, it's the only black sand beach around Kona. In an area with a stunning amount of incredible white sand masterpiece beaches, Makole'a is a geologic oddity for the region with extremely black sand created by the sea from an 1801 lava flow of Hualālai volcano, visible inland from this hike. It's only about 40 feet wide, and the swimming isn't very good. The hike to Makole'a black sand beach begins at the parking area for Mahai'ula Bay in Kekaha Kai State Park and follows and extremely rough 4WD road over lava flows with very vivid colors mixed in with the usual blacks and greys.
Getting to the Trailhead: Take Hwy. 19 north of Kailua-Kona and Kona International Airport. The rough dirt road to Mahai'ula Bay is between the 90 and 91 mile markers. The road used to be difficult for passenger cars, but recent state construction work as of April 2013 may make it possible for any car to make it to the trailhead. Construction is due to finish in early July 2003. The road is currently closed when construction is going on, but is usually open on weekends. Read more here. There are restrooms and picnic tables at this trailhead. There is no water.
The Hike: Find a four-way intersection of dirt roads near the parking area. You want to take the continuation of the main road from the highway that heads toward the sea (west). Near the sea, find an extremely rough 4WD road/trail marked with white spray paint over rough lava. If you look around the lava in the area, you'll find lots of strange colors like blues, purples, reds, and oranges mixed into the usual greys and blacks. Hike 0.6 miles along the coast until you find Makole'a Black Sand Beach in a small cove to the north of Makole'a point. Carefully consider taking a dip and return the way you came.