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Pu'u Ku'ili

November 29, 2021
Type : hike
Length : 1.6 miles, loop
Elevation Gain : 400 ft.
High Point : 500 ft.

I had read about a small cinder cone near where we had previously hiked in Kekaha Kai State Park and thought this would be the perfect last hike for the trip. From what I had read online, there were a couple of different trails up to the top, and consulting the satellite photos on Google Maps, it looked like there was a defined trail from the road, and there additional unimproved roads/trails that lead down the other side towards the water. Armed with that basic info, my parents and I set off on this quick hike.

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We parked in the small pullout just past the cinder cone and walking along the road, had no problem finding the start of the trail. As we proceeded to ascend the trail, the wind picked up and it was blowing quite strongly. The trail is fairly steep, but was fine for myself and my parents (my wife and son opted to do pool time instead). A short while later we were at the top, and taking in the views, with nice vantages of the ocean as well as other volcanoes on the island.
Starting up the trail
Starting up the trail
My parents on the final stretch
My parents on the final stretch
Marker on the top of the cinder cone
Marker on the top of the cinder cone
View of the ocean
View of the ocean
We then followed a jeep trail down the other side of the cinder cone and leveraging satellite photos towards the bottom, I was able to figure out where to hop on another jeep trail that would take us towards the ocean. Shortly after getting on the second trail, we came across an old rusted out van with lots of graffiti. We saw at least 3 or 4 more old rusted out cars on the side of the jeep trail. Was this the place to take your old car and ditch it, or were people trying to drive this jeep trail and wrecked their car and had to leave it? A great mystery of which I will never know the answer.
Jeep trail heading down the cinder cone
Jeep trail heading down the cinder cone
Old rusted van
Old rusted van
As we followed the road along the coast line, I noticed a small trail off to the side which looked like it might take us back towards the car, and made a mental note of it. After passing through a grove of trees, we eventually reached the end of the road, and not figuratively, the road simply stopped. There was a small cove with a firepit and a swing hanging from a tree, and the only thing that was missing was a rusted out old car. Climbing around the rocks, it was cool to see the white coral contrasted with the black lava rock.
Care for a swing?
Care for a swing?
Pu'u Ku'ili in the background
Pu'u Ku'ili in the background
Coral and lava rock
Coral and lava rock
We followed the road back to the side trail and sure enough the trail took us back to the pullout where the car was parked.
Side trail back to the car
Side trail back to the car
A very short hike, but it was fun to go up the small cinder cone volcanoe. Just down the road Manini'owali Beach is really nice, with some decent waves for body surfing (at least the day we were there) and a large sandy beach.