Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park
Coastal Trail Loop
Round Trip Mileage: 1.1 miles
Elevation Gain: negligible
Gear: Nothing more than what you'd need for a short 1 mile dayhike in a coastal area. Bring more water than you think you'll need and sun protection.
Fees: $5.00 per vehicle (for seven days) or $3.00 per individual
Map: Topographical Map of Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park
Overview: Among the finest historical parks on the Hawiian Islands, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is a great way to learn about the ancient Hawaiian culture. It was dedicated in 1955 as the City of Refuge, but the name was changed in 2000 to relfect the correct name and Hawaiian spelling. This place of refuge allowed Hawaiians who broke the kapu system of laws as well as enemy combatants a repreive of the death penalty if they could reach the site in time. The ground also housed several ancient temples, a royal palace for the Ali'i, sledding tracks, and royal fishponds. Several of the ancient structures have been mocked up to look like they did in the past with elaborate scultped wood figures. This hike is another execption to my policy only to include free recreation on this site, but this Park has been restored very well and is staffed by excellent Rangers, so I think the fee is worth it.
Getting to the Trailhead: On Hwy. 11 south of Kailua-Kona, turn makai between the 103 and 104 mile markers on Hwy 160. Turn left into Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Drive to the gate, pay your fee, and park in the lot.
The Hike: This short loop hike allows you to visit most of the main sights in the National Historical Park. This loop is described in a counter-clockwise direction, but you could certainly do the loop in the opposite direction. From the parking area, hike toward the main part of the park with the developed ancient sites. It's a good idea to take a tour or grab a brochure for a self-tour of this area. Free daily ranger talks are scheduled at 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM in the park's amphitheater. After visiting these incredible historical remains, make your way south and find a sandy road that leads to coastal parking and the beginning of the Coastal Trail. The Coastal Trail passes several interesting ruins before intersecting the 1871 Trail. The 1871 Trail is a great hike. You can either take the 1871 trail south, or simply return north to the trailhead parking area along the 1817 Trail.