Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park
November 20, 2021
Type : hike
Length : 1.8 miles, round trip
Elevation Gain : 20 ft.
High Point : 20 ft.
My son was excited for this hike, as the beach area was known to have sea turtles and we had struck out finding sea turtles the previous day at Kahalu’u Beach Park. I ended up coming back here with my parents the day after they arrived to do the same hike. It’s a nice short hike, with great cultural information and sea turtles (saw turtles on both hikes)! Note, I forgot to start my gps tracking until part of the way into the hike...
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There are a number of trails available in the park, but we opted to hike on the Ala Mauka Makai Trail to Honokohau Beach. While you can park at the Kona Sailing Club and use the South entrance of the park for a very short walk to Honokohau Beach and the sea turtles, we wanted to go to the visitor center to learn more about the park as well as get a stamp in my son’s national park book. We did the short concrete loop around the visitor center and read the signage along the way and then ventured onto the trail.
Shaded spot along the trail
The trail starts off as gravel, and then after a short distance it turns to lava rock. I believe I read somewhere that in Hawaii the lava was typically a’a flow of basaltic lava, but you know, it’s just easier to say lava rock. Back to the important stuff - I wore my trail running shoes as I thought it might have been tough to walk on lava rock, but the path is pretty easy to navigate over.
Walking over lava rock
We caught a glimpse of the ‘Aimakapa Fishpond, however they were doing restoration around the shore and you couldn’t approach any closer. Shortly thereafter, we reached the Ki’i Pohaku, also known as the Petroglyph Path. Walking along the raised wooden pathway we noticed some numbers - it wasn’t until my second time with my parents that I realized they had a couple of hard copy guides in a small metal container at the beginning of the trail, with information for each number. Some of the petroglyphs were hard to make out in the afternoon sun, so it would have been nice to have the guide.
Start of the Petroglyph Trail
One of the Petroglyphs along the raised platform
It was then a short walk to the beach, where we ventured out onto the rocks and quickly spied a couple of sea turtles. They blend in at first, and I doubt I would have noticed them if I had just been strolling along the beach. There were a couple in shallow water, and it looked like they might be feeding. Another sea turtle was resting on the rocks out of the water. The rocks were fairly slippery, so be careful when walking on them...
Sea turtle resting on the rocks
Zoomed in photo of sea turtle
We then trudged along the beach until we reached the fishpond. It was interesting to learn at the visitor center how the Hawaiians constructed the fishpond and fishtrap to catch their meals. After snapping a couple of photos, we then turned around and headed back the way we came. We were thinking of going to the fishtrap on the way back, however all of us were hot, and a little tired, and we opted to call it a day and make haste back to the car.
Lava rock and the ocean
Heading back to the car on the gravel path
A great short hike through a National Historic Park to see petroglyphs and sea turtles!