Pololu Valley, Hawaii

Pololu Valley, North Kohala, Big Island

Pololu Valley, North Kohala, Big Island

Polulu Valley, where North Kohala’s main artery, Hwy-270, comes to a dead end, is the last of the chain of inaccessible valleys, and for the moment is every bit as pristine as Waipio. The fear of tsunami, which led the Hawaiians to abandon these once densely populated valleys, is probably their best defense against the rapacity of the developers.

The morning is the best time to visit this picturesque perch overlooking a stretch of sea cliffs. Pololu valley is located at the end of Highway 270 in North Kohala. On your drive up Highway 270, be sure to stop for a look-see and a wonderful bite to eat in the quaint town of Hawi. The highway ends at the picturesque lookout for the Pololu Valley. At the top you can look down onto the Pololu Valley and a beautiful black sand beach.


Hike the Pololu Valley

If you are in for a day of adventure you can hike down into the valley on a long zigzagging dirt path. The valley is fed by a meandering stream. Once in the valley you can look back at the spectacular views and possibly see some waterfalls.  We highly recommend you take the 25 minute hike to the bottom of the valley and check out the wonderful scenery and black sand beach - it is well worth the trip.  Bring a picnic to enjoy at the bottom of the valley.  Wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget your camera!  Are you ready?  Read our Hawaii Hiking Tips.

Hike to the Honokane Nui Valley

The trail down to the Pololu Valley continues on the other side of the river, at the bottom of the valley. The scenery changes at the bottom of the valley with tall forest trees on the high terrain and swampy dense vegetation along the river. Pololu ValleyThe trail zig-zags up the side of the saddle and into the next valley, the Honokane Nui. The trail then continues into the next valley,the Honokane Iki, and beyond to another series of valleys with spectacular views of ridges as well as the valleys below. Forest in the Pololu ValleyContinuing on these trails is a challenge and we recommend you pack plenty of water and a topographic map and GPS. Hiking beyond the Pololu Valley can be a challenge. An average of two or three hiking or hunting groups a month need to be flown out of Kohala by emergency helicopter. The mountain is inviting, butthe trails are poorly maintained and the terrain is surprisingly hazardous. One resource manager states bluntly “Kohala eats people.”

NOTE: The land beyond Pololu is privately owned, and it is necessary to get an access permit from the Surety Kohala company in order to legally access these areas.  The Surety office is located next to the Hawi post office and grocery store right in Hawi town (view map). The phone number is (808) 889-6257. Hikers need to register and sign a waiver at the office during business hours, (8-4 M-F). Generally they like people to go with someone who knows the area and has hiked there before.

Keokea Beach Park

Driving back from the end of Highway 270 at the Pololu overlook to the north, you’ll see a curvy road angle off to the right. Follow it for a mile, past the cemetery with the weathered old stones, and you’ll come upon the green lawns and large picnic pavilion of Keokea Beach Park.  This is a picturesque beach and a nice spot for a picnic.  Want to be adventurous?  For more tips and info, check out the Big Island Adventure Guide.


Virtual Tour: Take a Virtual Tour of Pololu Valley

Driving directions:  Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley

Attractions: scenic drive, scenic lookout, tropical valley

Activities: hiking, camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing

Extras: small parking lot at the scenic lookout


Big Island Earthquake Update

Update 11/21/06 - State officials have reopened the Pololu Trail in North Kohala.  Various sections of the trail, which runs in a steep zigzag down the vegetated cliff face, have been rebuilt - read article.  The road leading to the Pololu Valley Lookout has also been repaired - news release.

Big Island Activities

Pololu Valley Kohala Wai Adventure
Explore the remote Pololu Valley area on the northern tip of the Big Island aboard a rugged off-road Pinzgauer 6×6 vehicle. Witness the life-giving and land-sculpting power of water, as you ramble through a changing landscape of rushing streams, towering ocean cliffs and cascading waterfalls. You’ll even have time to kick off your shoes and take a dip in a cool mountain pool!

Big Island Helicopter Tours

Witness the picturesque beauty of the Kohala Mountains! Climb up steep ocean cliffs and sink down into deep winding valleys such as Waimanu, Pololu and Waipio. Witness the power of Kilauea Volcano and the glorious waterfalls of the Big Island, offering you a superior tour with friendly, knowledgeable and personal service.

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Hawaii Activities