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.

Hike down to bay took us exactly 45 mins. It’s not strenuous on the way down, just very exposed. Snorkeling in the bay was incredible. The trek back up took exactly one hour because of the incline, blazing heat, and ~8 water breaks. We live in Boulder, CO and are accustomed to hiking at 5,500 ft elevation, yet the hike back up was one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done. Not for the faint-hearted!

Bring a lot of water and also I recommend long sleeves, sunglasses and a hat to shield from sun exposure.

Loved it! Once you start the hike and go all the way down, the only way back up is the hike. So, you have to do it! Lol.

The hike out is all downhill, and the hike back is all uphill. You’ll hike through some brush and then through a post-apocalyptic looking lava field. It’s definitely one of the most bizarre landscapes I’ve ever hiked in - pretty incredible.

You’ll end up at Kealakekua Bay where you can see the Captain Cook Monument and also jump in the bay for a swim and snorkel. There were a few tour companies and boats out there. The water is refreshing, but careful getting back out - it’s a little tricky.

Well worth hike down to one of the best snorkeling spots in whole island. Rocky path on the way down and about 1400 ft. elevation change from top to bottom.

we finally hiked this trail after coming here for 5 years. we aren't in great shape but I considered it easy.

The monument was very crowded and it took some navigating to get close enough. The day was cloudy and that was a good thing.

Hard hike through the grass and trees but it was worth it. The snorkel spot is amazing

I really enjoyed this hike. I went with someone who had done the hike before and they pointed out the roughed up patches of ground along the path on the first section where pigs had been digging as well as the goats that roam around in the lava fields in the middle section of the trail. There’s lots of loose rock, so watch your step and go slow to stay safe. I slipped a couple of times in my sandals and wished I had tennis shoes, but it really wasn’t too bad and I had a great time regardless.
Near the bottom, stay to the left to follow the trail to the monument and enjoy crystal clear waters and wonderful snorkeling.

I was impressed by the cleanliness of the trail. *Keep it clean and remember to pack out your trash!

Loved beautiful walk. Suggest hauling snorkel gear. Swimming was great. A little crowded even on a Monday.

Hike down took about 45 minutes. I grabbed one of the walking sticks at the top and that helped a fair bit. Snorkelling was incredible. Some of the best we’ve ever seen. There was no ladder that we found so dive booties really helped to get in and out of the water. We went around 2pm and left to come back at 4:30. No one there after 3:30. Coming back took me an hour with regular stops to catch my breath. My teenage boys were 15 mins ahead. Tough with the humidity but so worth it.

The hike is good but snorkeling was somewhat disappointing compared to the neighboring two step beach.

Went down this trail just for the snorkel trip. Nothing to really look at on the way down except about 3/4 of the way down. The trail starts to open up and you can see a pretty good view of the ocean. The shoes I wore were my tech-amphibian 3. Definitely bring water and sunscreen. Take your snorkel gear for sure! Lots of beautiful fish and the water it totally calm (5/5 starts for the snorkeling).

Very Nice and worth the effort. Bring a lot of water and do it as early as possible.

This was a wonderful hike. We went with our 7 and 10 year old children. They loved the time spent hiking and snorkeling. The water was clear and we saw many different types of fish.

Amazing! Take snorkel gear!

Hiked down to the monument with a small backpack and snorkled in the bay. Absolutely beautiful coral reef. Entered the water via a small ladder in front of the monument. The hardest part of the trip was finding parking at the top of the trail. Total time, including an hour of snorkeling, was 3 hours.

My wife and I hiked this today. Started somewhat early in the morning and took 45 min down with me carrying a 50 lb backpack with water and snorkling gear which I would rate as a easy hike down over lava rock both loose and hard and limited shade. Got to the bottom marker "8" and found a small beach with a few kayaks sitting around. Found out the way to the monument is to take a left at mile marker 8 which takes you to the captain cook monument. There is a ladder into the water close by which puts you in 5 ft deep water on top of the coral. by 10:00 I counted 13 charter tours and 1 sail boat in the bay with close to 100 people in the bay. The snorkling is great with coral reef surrounding the whole bay. The hike out on the other hand was a different story., mind you we were at a break neck speed. I found myself gasping for breath at times with my pack on and ended up drinking multiple litres of water and stopping multiple times. All in all it took 55 min to get up. Many people on the walk out didn't have water so make sure you bring some with your snorkling gear.

hiking
3 months ago

We took it just for the hike. Lots of other hikers also did the snorkeling. We saw pretty-colored fish right from the rocks. Top of the trail is mostly dirt with some big lava rocks. Good shade on the top half and at the bottom. We saw signs of wild pigs rooting along the trail. Heard a pig, but did not see any. Saw lots of goats once the trail turned rocky and along the trail nearing the bottom. Middle bottom section is mostly big lava rock and cobbled lava rock.
It’s a tiring climb back out. We went mid-afternoon on a partly cloudy 80 degree day. Take plenty of water. In all, it took about 3 hours down and back with 20 mins, or so, checking out the scenery and monument at the bottom.

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.

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