Pololu Valley Hike
Pololu Valley Hike From the Kona Condo
A great day hike from the Kona condo is into the Pololu Valley on the Kohala penninsula. Head north from Keauhou Kona Surf & Racquet Club 1-301 to Waimea and then further north to Hawi. Driving up the Kohala Volcano on Highway 250, pull over on a clear day for a view of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai Volcanoes. Continue on to Hawi, or take the shortcut on mile marker 20 to Kynnersley Road. Kynnersley is interesting because you eventually drive through a neighborhood of old school sugar cane workers homes, built when sugar cane was the local economy. When you hit the main road (Highway 270) turn east and continue on to the end of the road. We like to leave early in the morning for this hike, as it can be busy on weekends and high season. There are no sanitation facilities or water, so bring a couple of water bottles, as it is the tropics after all. From the lookout at the top of the trail you can see the entire valley.
The 400 foot descent down to the valley can be slippery if it has rained recently. There are several great spots for photos on the way down. Once at the bottom follow the path and cross a shallow stream and onto a black sand and pebble beach. The surf here is pretty rough and not suitable for swimming, but fine for wading if you are careful. The views are stunning with large sea cliffs, crashing surf and a tropical valley with a stream and ponds. This is a great place to for a picnic and exploration. There used to be a swing in the trees behind the dunes.
When hiking out of the valley take your time and enjoy the views. We don’t normally pack a picnic because one of the best restaurants on the Big Island is back in Hawi. The Bamboo Cafe is in the heart of Hawi. Really good food, but during high season and weekends it can be difficult to get a table. We find the hike in and out of the valley puts us at the restaurant mid afternoon and we avoid the wait. There is also a great outdoor BBQ Restaurant across the street and east a few feet.
On the way back to the Kona condo take the coast road (Highway 270), where on a clear day you will see Haleakala Volcano on Maui. Stop at Lapakahi State park to see an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. when you reach the town of Kawaihae, drive a bit south and visit the Pu’ukohala Heiau. The stones to build this structure were passed hand to hand from the the Pololu Valley that you visited earlier.
Continue south back to the Kona condo, settle into the lounger on the lanai, and catch another spectacular sunset. The perfect end for a perfect day.