Papakolea Green Sand Beach

MODERATE 44 reviews

Papakolea Green Sand Beach is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Naalehu, Hawaii that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, birding, and off road driving. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
456 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

off road driving

beach

views

rocky

One of the only true Green Sand Beaches in the world! This is a must see. The hike is easy enough, just bring sunblock and water, there are no facilities nearby. Located in a bay cut by the ocean into a side of Puu Mahana, the green sand is created by a common silicate deposit of Big Island lava called Olivine. You can hitch a ride from the parking area, but why miss the raging ocean waves uninterrupted from Antarctica?! Walk the rough rocky terrain and enjoy the sights and sounds!

15 days ago

walking
25 days ago

If you have the time, definitely hike to the Green Sand Beach instead of taking a shuttle. We were nervous at first because the way isn't really marked, but we knew to walk down to the ocean and head east, so we followed tire tracks heading in that direction and stayed along the coast. Took us about 40 minutes to walk out there. On the way back, we felt a little more confident, so we cut inland a little bit. There's some uneven footing and lots of dust, but we really enjoyed this quick hike and the destination is so beautiful.

walking
25 days ago

If you have the time, definitely hike to the Green Sand Beach instead of taking a shuttle. We were nervous at first because the way isn't really marked, but we knew to walk down to the ocean and head east, so we followed tire tracks heading in that direction and stayed along the coast. Took us about 40 minutes to walk out there. On the way back, we felt a little more confident, so we cut inland a little bit. There's some uneven footing and lots of dust, but we really enjoyed this quick hike and the destination is so beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy hike, but super hot when it's sunny. Pack lots of water. Trail will get dusty with wind and vehicles driving by. Beach is well worth it!

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Not overly difficult, it's basically a scenic walk along the coastline with a little bit of uneven footing. It is very hot though, so water is a must. But all that effort is worth it because you can reward yourself with a nice dip in the ocean once you finally reach the Green Sand Beach. I also highly recommend checking out the cliff jumping at South Point since it is so close by. For more on my adventure here, check out my blog post:

https://www.thehikinghi.com/single-post/2016/12/19/Papakolea-Green-Sand-Beach-and-Cliff-Jumping-at-South-Point-The-Big-Island

backpacking
2 months ago

Great short hike. About 5.5 miles total. The beach is very cool. The hike is very windy and there is a lot of dust blowing in your face. Consider that when you pack your water - take plenty. The beach is nice to swim at but be careful of the rip current. I am an experienced swimmer and would say the rip was moderate on the day I went. Be cautious allowing your small kids to get in too deep. Take towels and extra socks with you. The sand really is a dark green/brown color. Very cool. At the trail head you can park and hike or take a "shuttle" which is gonna be a beat up old pickup or something like that. No idea what it costs. You're probably here on vacation and don't have room to pack hiking boots. If you can, definitely bring some. The trail isn't really much of a trail. They are more dirt vehicular roads/trails than hiking trails. There are a bunch of loose lava rocks lying around so a stiff sole on a hiking boot would be ideal. Tennis/running shoes were sufficient for me. Don't attempt this hike on flip flops.

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

This hike was highly recommended to me. I did it on a cloudy day and was thankful for that. You would need a lot of water on a sunny hot day. When I got to the beach it was a nice site but nothing spectacular as I was expecting. The hike is easy along the ocean, easy to find as long as you keep the ocean on your right, mostly fit with rolling hills. Keep your expectations in check so you are not disappointed when you reach the beach. All in all a decent hike

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

6 months ago

6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Nice hike but very uneven. Sunscreen and water is a must as it can get quite hot. The beach itself is part of a small alcove and if you decide to go for a swim (which we did) you have to climb down if you feel adventurous ;). Not that bad really and it is nice and refreshing after a long hike. If you can't be bothered walking back, the locals can drive you back for a fee on the back of a ute/truck (now that's adventurous as the people on there were bouncing quite a bit). We did walk back though as we felt the hike wouldn't be properly completed.