The Polulu Trail follows the steep cliffs and deeply cut valleys on the northeast end of the Big Island of Hawaii. The trailhead is at the end of the road. We followed Highway 270 north along the Kohala Peninsula and continued as it rounded the northern tip, entering a new wetter ecozone on the windward end of the island. At the very end of the road was a parking area on the cliffs overlooking the ocean shores. Most tourists just look out at the view, but signs show the trail down to the beach below.
Polulu Stream drains the deeply cut Interior valley. On this day the stream was backed into a large pond, but didn’t reach the beach. After a rainfall the pond empties some of the fresh water to the ocean. With a heavy surf, salt water makes its way into the fresh-water pond.
The out-and-back trail is about 5 km (3 miles) of slower hiking. The steep sections require some care and the wet jungle/rainforest is quite slippery. Although not as impressive as the Napali Coast of Kauai, this trail has some of the same characteristics, a mini-version of a hiking experience along the cliffs and deep-cut remote valleys of the Big Island.