Polihale Beach Trail (Barking Sands Beach)

EASY 15 reviews
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Polihale Beach Trail (Barking Sands Beach) is a 10.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kekaha, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

10.4 miles
498 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly





nature trips

off road driving





wild flowers




no dogs

This beach is near a military reserve and is tricky to find, as there is poor signage--the main highway ends and becomes a dirt road for several miles (through a former sugarcane field?) with many forks. 4x4 suggested in many areas. If you get in trouble out here, you are totally on your own....be careful.

1 month ago

Started after military section and enjoyed a long, leisurely day walking the beach.

1 month ago

We have just done it today. 12/10. It was absolutely doable by a 2wd car.
The view was great but the waves were too big for going far into the water.

2 months ago

We drove a mini van right up to the beach. Great place to walk along the ocean and was a awesome sunset.

off road driving
5 months ago

The views are totally worth the drive. The road was EXTREMELY wash-boarded the first 2/3 of the trip. I was in a JEEP Wrangler (the best there is IMO) and it was nothing for it. I saw people in minivans do the trail/road. However, there are some parts of the road that a 2WD would be iffy on. The closer you get to the end, the sandier it gets and the more puddles in the road there are. Some of them are deeper than you expect and make quite the splash. If you are in a 4WD it is a piece of cake. The views from the beach were gorgeous, you could see the catamarans from the local tour businesses and you could also see the island of Ni'ihau (at least on a clear day). Overall, next time I go I am totally going back.

8 months ago

The trail is currently closed :(

9 months ago

What follows is camping info. We drove in with a rental jeep cherokee and camped at the sites near the monkey pod tree, which is probably the best way to experience this park. Expect to double up at sites but there is plennnnty of room. The road is extremely rutted and had some mud pits, but it was for sure doable with 2WD cars that have decent clearance (in our conditions). I wouldn't do the road in a rental mustang. We also did not drive on the beach itself - the sand is deep and soft, definitely tricky beach driving, also tiring walking and very hot at mid day.

This was our favorite beach on Kauai. Truly empty, with an epic view of the coastal cliffs. In late march there were waves but you could still carefully swim in crystal clear water. Facilities were in way better condition than the road in. Plan for the possibility of rain (at least in march) as the moisture builds up over the cliffs and occasionally scoots over and lets loose on the campsites (despite a 0% park forecast we got lightly rained on several times). There are campsites all the way to the end of the beach by the cliffs. Securely pack away leftovers or ferile cats will get into it at night. Definitely a little buggy as well.

nature trips
Tuesday, January 03, 2017

GO! It was an unexpected treasure that I found. The waves were vicious and brutal. I just sat there and watched. Be sure to have 4-wheel drive.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

We arrived mid-day for a short visit. This is the end of the line and where the Na Pali Coast begins. The sand was really hot, and it's a long walk to the water. The waves were nice and we enjoyed walking along the water's edge. Many folks had set up tents on the far western end of the beach, where the locals congregate for cookouts, fun and hanging out. This is a public access, so signs can be misleading – don’t drive on beach sand if you only have 2WD, you will get stuck – to get there, take Hwy 50 till it ends, veering right at the fork. The first dirt road leads 3.3 miles to a large monkey pod tree at the Polihale Beach Park sign. To the left is Queens Pond. If you go to the right at the tree, there is a soft sandy spot in the road 4.5 miles from where you left the pavement. This is where many 2WD drivers stop and climb the dune to get to the beach. An alternative way is to backtrack till you see the loop road thru the campsites. (1 mile from the monkey pod tree.) It goes to the top and along the dune, getting you closer to the beach. Dunes are 100 ft high. Rental car policies are voided when you drive on this beach and if you get stuck you are on your own – we saw one car spinning wheels for about five minutes but finally got out. With a Ford Explorer we went down to the end of the road next to the beach bathroom facilities. Great beach, highly recommended.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

This is a fantastic beach. Wide and beautiful white sand. I would recommend you go in an SUV as the road is rough on a regular car. The beach buts up to the Na Pali Coast........this is truly the end of the road. If you go further from here you will walk.

While it is beautiful to walk along, I don't believe this would be a good swimming beach. The waves hit hard but even more than that, the beach is known for having very strong currents. If you get in trouble out here, you are totally on your own....be careful.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The barking sand is from the wind blowing and causing its strange sound. Was very hot and the sand even worse because its so white. Super long beach and 4x4 suggested in many areas. Great spot and nice bathrooms and stuff.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We believe this is AKA 'Barking Sands Beach," so named because the sand is supposedly so dry there that it will make a "barking" sound as you walk on it. Well, we did not hear too much "barking," but this very long and wide beach, blessed with a great abundance of fine, white sand, was one of the lovliest we've ever seen! The water was pleasantly warm, with plenty of wave activity that was not overwhelming. We also enjoyed visiting the ancient Hawaiian stone temple (HEI'AU) site set against the cliffs at the far end of the beach. This beach is near a military reserve and was tricky to find, as there was poor signage--the main highway ended and became a dirt road for several miles (through a former sugarcane field?) with many forks. We stubbornly persisted until we spotted the ocean through the dense growth.

scenic driving
12 days ago

5 months ago

Monday, September 04, 2017