The Hawaiian Islands are full of natural beauty – but also some grave danger. From dangerous shore break to deadly waterfalls, some of these twelve spots are now closed to the public, others are still popular tourist spots with a bad reputation for danger.
Always remember that when exploring Hawaii’s natural beauty, head warning signs posted near beach access points, and don’t take unnecessary risks. If you’re hiking, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you plan on being back. Be careful!
1) Lumaha’i Beach
Though this beach is extremely picturesque, it has been nicknamed “luma-die” by some. Located on Kauai’s north shore, huge waves in the winter and the slippery rock ledges of Lumaha’I can be extremely hazardous.
2) Sacred Falls
On Mother’s Day in 1999, a rockslide killed eight people and injured 50 others. One of the worst wilderness accidents in Hawaii’s history, the trail has remained closed ever since.
3) Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
While most of the park is accessible to visitors, you should head warnings and avoid venturing off of the marked trails, or into closed areas within the park. You don’t want to fall into an active steam vent, or through a fragile layer of newly formed lava rock, do you?
4) Olivine Pools
Near Nakalele Point, the Olivine Pools have been the site of several drownings, as well as numerous injuries – usually from rogue waves washing over the lava shelf, or the slippery path to reach the pools.
5) Oheo Gulch
Also known as the seven sacred pools, this Maui favorite is still open to the public despite lawsuits – and even deaths. However, gauges and forecasts help rangers determine when the risk of a flash flood is too high to keep pools open. Flooding can sweep swimmers out of the pools and into the rough ocean.
6) Sandy Beach
Near Oahu’s southeastern tip is Sandy’s – as the locals call it – a beach with year-round crushing shore break that has resulted in many wanna-be bodysurfers with sprains, neck compressions and broken bones.
7) Queen's Bath
Located in Princeville is this idyllic tide pool carved into the rocks – but rough waters, sharp rocks and quickly changing conditions make the Queen’s Bath beautiful yet deadly.
8) Makena Beach Park
Also known as Big Beach and “breakneck beach,” the surf breaks right on the shore, making this an extremely dangerous beach for swimming. Don’t let the alluring water fool you.
9) Olomana Trail
The steep cliffs of Olomana can be extremely dangerous – especially among local and visiting hikers who stray from the path, and get injured, lost and even stranded.
10) Spouting Horn Blowhole
A fence installed around the blowhole was designed to block access, however a few individuals still bypass these barriers and can be hurt by dangerously surging waters. It is best to view the blowhole from the lookout instead.
11) Hapuna Beach Park
At more than a half-mile long and 200 feet wide, Hapuna Beach is the Big Island’s largest white sand beach. However, it is also responsible for more spinal cord injuries than any other beach in Hawaii.
12) Kipu Falls
Though the falls located in east Kauai are beautiful, five deaths within five years prompted a campaign to close the falls, increase signage and construct barriers. Trespassers will be prosecuted or fined.
Be safe, my fellow adventurers. Have you had a bad experience at any of these twelve spots? Share your stories in the comments below.