As decades pass and construction techniques advance, many roads and paths that were once vital routes are now simply irrelevant – and nowhere is this more true than across the Hawaiian Islands. From major highways that have since been replaced to roads that were covered in hot, flowing lava and left to nature, here are six abandoned roads in Hawaii that are absolutely stunning – and easily accessible on foot.
1. Old Pali Road
Once a bustling highway on the island of Oahu connecting Honolulu to the island’s windward coast, Pali Road is not only said to be haunted, but has since been replaced. Portions of the old highway still exist, and it has become a popular hiking destination.
2. Chain of Craters Road
As the name indicates, this scenic road leads drivers to the coast, past several craters from historic eruptions. Since the road was opened in 1965, several parts of the road have been buried in lava due to volcanic eruptions. The Chain of Craters Road currently measures in at 18.8 miles, and while you can still drive a portion of the road, there is no food, water of fuel available along the path.
3. King's Trail
More than 500 years ago, the island of Maui was circumnavigated by this vital trade route. The road was built by native Hawaiians under the rule of King Pi’ilani, and was revitalized in the 1800s by prisoners, earning the road the moniker “the road that sin built.” The road is now largely abandoned.
4. Road to Kaena Point
Encompassing the northwestern most tip of Oahu, Kaena Point begins at the end of a paved road and the start of an unpaved road that can only be described as a path in many sections. With sheer cliffs on one side and basalt rocks on the other, the path is only navigable by foot, as the road is washed out after only a few miles.
5. Unnamed Roads, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Various sections of road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been abandoned after falling victim to flowing lava eruptions. This particular section of road has fallen into disrepair, and is accessed via a hike around the rim of Kilauea Caldera.
6. Old Mamalohoa Highway
While not abandoned, per say, this old highway has been replaced by the modern Mamalohoa Highway that circumnavigates the island, and is travelled only as a scenic route winds through lush rainforests, crossing numerous century-old bridges, and overlooking Onomea Bay. The highway was once the main road connecting Hilo, Waimea, and the towns between.