Manuka Nature Trail is a 2.2 mile loop trail located near Captain Cook, Hawaii and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.
The Good: Well maintained trail - gentle inclines with stairs in the steeper places; most fallen timber recently cut off the trail. Convenient - the trail head is less than 100 yards off highway 11 with ample free parking and restrooms. Quiet - You can't hear the highway despite the proximity; it feels like you are much deeper in the bush than you really are.Variety - there are lots of different plants and birds to see.
The Bad: Almost all of the trail bed is either rocky, rooty, or covered in chunky, unstable lava-rock gravel - a real ankle-turner. It is not a pretty hike. The forest is a dense tangle of undergrowth and fallen dead wood. You can't see far beyond the trail itself, and density stifles any breeze. The air is stagnant and the trail feels closed in and claustrophobic. I can see how it would get a reputation for being haunted. While a lot of fallen trees had been cut clear of the trail, there were a half-dozen or so that hadn't and we had to climb over them.
Conclusion: If your time on the Big Island is limited, and you really want to feel like you are deep in the bush, this is a convenient little hike, but it is not particularly enjoyable.
Great hike. Nice trail Many plants and flowers Few geocaches. Liked it a lot
We hear this area is haunted, aparently featuring a couple of ancient Hawaiian grave markers (?) Some have reported quite violent, paranormal incidents. So although we live only c.20 miles from this trail, we haven't yet attempted this one. Reportedly the native flora is outstanding. This may motivate us to muster enough courage to try it some day!