Captain Cook's Monument Trail

MODERATE 156 reviews

Captain Cook's Monument Trail is a 3.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Captain Cook, Hawaii. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and trail running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1256 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

trail running

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.

hiking
5 days ago

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

hiking
10 days ago

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).

hiking
11 days ago

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

hiking
13 days ago

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.

18 days ago

Amazing! Take snorkel gear!

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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
2 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.

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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

3 months ago

that was awesome

3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

Took 45 minutes to get to top in middle of day

3 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months ago

Great views and nice snorkeling area!

hiking
4 months ago

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.

hiking
4 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

hiking
4 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

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

4 months ago

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

4 months ago

Great snorkeling at the bottom.

hiking
4 months ago

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.

5 months ago

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.

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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.

hiking
9 months ago

Interesting experience. The first quarter of the trail was cleared and we remarked how amazing it was to have such a well-maintained trail. Then... the cane closed in on us and a tiny ribbon of trail was visible between the 10' tall cane. Thankfully we met a couple on the way back who told us there are 8 markers on this trail. That helped us know what to expect. We hiked in chacos which was fine. Take water and any nourishment you may require. We did pick our snorkel gear for the most incredible snorkeling on the island.

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