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.
The trail winds down the cliffs to the beach at the mouth of the Polulu Valley. The coast beyond is all cliffs broken by remote valleys.
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 beach has little protection from waves, not a safe place to swim, but on this particular day, there were two young woen carefully going out through the breakers.
We went along the trails to the far end of the beach then followed a continuing trail up the wet north-slope. The Awiwi Trail continues on to a viewpoint overlooking the Honokane Nui Valley.
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.
In the gallery below, click any image for a larger photo and caption.
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