Hawaii, Maui, Risky Business, Travel

The Road to Hana: Red Sand Beach

As I mentioned in my previous post, while I wanted to spend the entire afternoon at Wai’anapanapa State Park, I knew that we had to keep moving in order to accomplish all of the activities we had planned for the day.

And the next stop would definitely not disappoint.

Kaihalulu (Ki-ha-lu-lu) is located on Maui’s remote eastern shoreline in the small town of Hana. Off the highway and within the back roads, many visitors completely pass this beach without a second thought (I know I did my first time around). However, keeping with the theme of seeing even more of the island this time, I figured Kaihalulu would be the perfect place to go for a hike and stretch our legs.

If I can be honest here, the Red Sand Beach is a little difficult to find at first. After parking along Uakea street, Maui Revealed states, “Just before the Sea Ranch Cottages there’s a large lawn area owned by the county. Look to the right for the obvious trail down.” Just for the record, there’s not an “obvious” trail. There are three areas where the brush subsides and a trail could begin, however, the first entrance isn’t a trail at all. We looked down the hill which led to a fence (probably owned by the Sea Ranch Cottages)–clearly not the trail–so we continued walking on the large lawn area near the brush line and eventually found the real trail entrance, with this friendly reminder:

Kaihalulu Trail Sign

Photo credit

There are parts of the trail that are a little sketchy. Parts, where falling would result in a very wet landing (if you’re lucky), and other parts where falling would leave you bruised and battered with more than a few scratches. (Do not hike this trail if it’s raining as the mud trail could become extremely dangerous). Side note: On our way back out, it looked like there was a second trail down below, near the ocean. I can’t speak for this trail because we didn’t hike it, but it could be less dangerous because you don’t have to worry about falling off the edge. The obvious danger to the trail below is that hikers are at the mercy of the ocean–there is no protection from any big waves that might come through.


Probably the scariest part of the trail


Cautions aside, after a quick 10-minute hike we turned the corner to see this view:



The beach is surrounded on three sides by tall, red colored, lava cinder mountains and the fourth side is the bright blue ocean. The red sand had me questioning if we were really in Maui or at my favorite lake back home known for it’s rust colored sand, Lake Powell

There are some dangerous-looking lava rocks which provide some protection for snorkeling–though we didn’t snorkel while we were at this beach–and throughout the afternoon, I kept thinking that the lava rocks looked like dragon’s teeth coming up out of the water. Fellow beach goers were cliff jumping from the jagged rocks into the clear, protected, pool below. I refrained from participating although it looked like a blast–maybe next time







Even with the somewhat dangerous trail, the beach was amazing.

As much as we wanted to spend our whole afternoon at this beach, we hiked back out in order to get to our next location with time to spare… We were determined not to miss the next stop along the Road to Hana.

Have you been to Kaihalulu? What did you think? Did you hike the upper or lower trail? 🙂

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