Hawaii August 16, 2016
The Hidden Waipio Beach In Hawaii Will Take You A Million Miles Away From It All
Located on Hawaii Island’s Hamakua Coast – away from all the tourists hanging out in Kona, or at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – is Waipio Valley, the southernmost and largest of the seven valleys of Kohala Mountain. And though the valley’s lookout point is no stranger to tourists hoping to snap a few photographs of this picturesque spot, the beach at the valley’s floor is a completely different story.
While this picturesque beach is often seen from above at the Waipio Valley lookout, you will need to hike 1.5 miles from the parking lot down to the beach, so you can bet that you’ll be mostly alone once you arrive.
Though Waipio Valley is absolutely breathtaking, the road to the valley’s floor from the lookout is pretty gnarly, gaining 800 vertical feet in just 0.6 miles, making it the steepest road of its length in the United States.
While it is possible to drive the road into Waipio Valley if you have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, it is often on the list of prohibited places to take a rental car. And if you choose to make the journey on foot, be sure to conserve your energy, because the trek back is going to be a lot more difficult.
Honestly, the best way to explore the valley is by horseback.
If you’re planning to explore beyond the beach, it is recommended that you hire a tour guide, because the valley is quite remote, and in addition to private property rights, it is also easy to become lost or stranded here.
The breathtaking black sand beach is split by the Hi’ilawe Stream (which flows from the 1,200-foot-tall Hi’ilawe Falls) and is home to a stunning waterfall you can’t see from the lookout - Kaluahine Falls.
The sacred Waipio Valley was once the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I, and is an important site for Hawaiian history and culture. According to oral history, as many as 10,000 people lived in Waipio Valley before Captain Cook’s landing in 1778.
A group of Chinese immigrants settled in the valley in the late 1800s, and built churches, restaurants, schools, and even a hotel, post office and jail. But the devastating tsunami of 1946 destroyed the town, and today, only 50 people call the valley home.
History aside, “The Valley of the Kings” certainly appears as though it was made for royalty – the valley is full of tropical vegetation and surrounded by 2,000-foot-tall cliffs. And it is not simply royal - it is a place full of Hawaiian mysticism, and is considered to be sacred as well.
While the blue waters lapping against the black sand might seem inviting, the surf can be pretty rough here, so take warning, and maybe only dip your feet in a little.
This beautiful secluded beach is, quite literally, miles away from it all. And even though the journey is arduous, we would like to think it’s worth it just to step foot on a piece of untouched Hawaii.