Site of the first extensive contact between Hawaiians and Westerners with the arrival of Captain Cook in 1779. Viewing of Hikiau Heiau, a traditional religious site, and the Captain Cook monument at a distance across Kealakekua Bay.

Don’t have much to see once you actually get down there.

We are novice hikers. We walked from our B&B which added an extra 3/4 mile but made it down in 75 minutes or so. Took about 90 mins back up to the trail head. The signs posted advise 2-4 hour round trip which is accurate. The sun was very strong on the way back up so I would suggest lots of protection and water (at least a whole bottle for the way back up). We made several (and I mean several) stops on the way up and were glad to have some extra sunscreen. There were a ton of tour boats but everyone was friendly and the boats only lingered for 30 minutes so we waited it out to get into the water. The snorkeling was awesome and made the journey very worth while. If you are a person that would rather have the trail to yourself I would recommend coming very early before the boats. I wore Tevas and did just fine but I am pretty sure footed. Definitely recommend proper hiking shoes for those that don’t.

the trail was fine, easy to find and navigate. Single track the whole way, nowhere to get off the path. good shoes aren't required, as we saw many people hiking out in flip flops, but I opted for my trail runners and was happy I had my rock guard. The snorkeling at the bottom by the monument was the best part. This hike was rated as moderate but we hiked with some extreme novice hikers and they did just fine.

Super straight forward trail. Took us about 45 min down and an hour up at a reasonable pace. wonderful snorkelling but the earlier the better - by 10:00 there were multiple snorkelling trips pulling in and we pulled out lol

that was awesome

Started at 7:40am - lots of partial shade at that time, amazing views and next to no other people. Wore proper hiking shoes and had a hat and UV shirt. Took 50m down and 1:20m back up with lots of breaks starting at 10:50am. Saw lots of people only coming down at that time, and many unprepared.

Absolutely worth it, and not too busy at the bottom. Only one obnoxious tour operator, but plenty of fish to go around.

Took 45 minutes to get to top in middle of day

If you are planning to do this trail then I would advise you go very early in the day. We started it at 7am which meant we weren’t hiking in the baking heat all the way down (just on the way back) as there is hardly any shade, it’s a fairly exposed trail. Take a lot of water and some snacks. Going early also meant that we were the only people there for an hour or so snorkelling before lots of people started arriving. I think by the time we left there was 20+ people. The snorkelling is beautiful and you can see a lot of fish. It’s a fairly hard trail going back up with uneven terrain so wear solid hiking shoes, sun screen, & a hat if you have one.

Hiked this trail for the first time today. Be realistic about your abilities. This trail is fairly steep and covered in small lava rocks that cause your ankles to twist and turn. Not easy by any means. Came across some hogs and a herd of Spanish Goats on the trail. That was awesome. Once you have made it all the way to the monument you might think to yourself not many people will make that hike. You’re right, but they do pay to have someone drive them there via snorkel tour boats, kayaks etc. We got there and there were at least 200 people there. A few reviews back someone posted about the sea urchins. Follow their advice. There is a rope ladder you can use to get in and out of the water. I was impatient and didn’t want to wait in the line to get in the water. Waded in 50 yds to the right of the monument and earned myself 6 quills in the left foot and I even had my dive boots on. Reached down to pull them out and stuck one through my middle finger. Having done this before I know it will be about a month for those things to work themselves out. Beautiful snorkeling once you get in the water and lots of fish up close to shore.

Great views and nice snorkeling area!

Great snorkeling at the bottom. Would not recommend unless you bring snorkeling gear. I ran down and it took about 25 minutes but the walk back up took about an hour despite speed walking. Recommend hiking boots or at least sneakers.

2 months ago

Make sure to bring a snorkel and fins with you if you are going to do this hike as it is the best part, with so many things to see under the water surface. Things to be cautious about are the number of sea urchin in the water so make sure you go off the end of the pier right by the monument and Do Not walk into the water from the shore as you risk stepping on one. To exit the water, exit to either side of the pier in front of the monument. Otherwise have fun and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Additional Notes:
- Bring lots of water
- Sunscreen
- Snacks

Definitely bring plenty of water plus a hat as a good portion of the trail is pretty exposed and the elevation change is pretty significant. It’s a beautiful hike and the snorkeling at the bottom is fantastic. There are small trail marker signs along the way, numbered 1-8, if you like to know how far you’ve gone/have left. 1 is at the bottom, 8 at the top.

Very tough back up the trail! But snorkeling and cliff view at bottom is so worth the climb!

Bring extra water for the hike back up; great views of Kealakekua Bay. Captain Cook’s Monument makes it well worth going.

Great snorkeling at the bottom.

Superb hike. The way down takes about 45-60 mins, and is steeper at first. Takes you through a variety of terrain. The trail gets thinner for about half a mile, so I was happy I wore a long sleeves shirt to push away long grass. You pop out in a gorgeous bay and we swam (you have to be careful climbing in but it’s so-able) then lay on our backs relaxing until we turned back uphill. Going at a steady but quick pace it took us about 50 mins. Was exactly what we wanted. A real leg burner, very satisfying.

Trail is very poorly maintained. Everything is overgrown and be ready for lots of bush hacking. Definitely made things inconvenient. The redeeming quality is the snorkeling at the bottom. Would not recommend if it wasn’t for the amazing quality of snorkeling.

The trail itself is pretty easy. However do not underestimate how hot it can get when you go back up. Bring lots of water.

Review is mostly based on the snorkeling in the bay. Trail was easy on the way down, considerably harder on the way back up after snorkeling a few hours. Worth the trip.

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