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Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu), Maui

Description: Beautiful hidden cove to escape reality in Hana.
Downside: Narrow hiking path with cliff ridges and loose footings
How to Get There: Head to Hana Town. Park on Uakea near Hauoli. The trail is next to the large lawn area by the Travaasa hotel. There is a safer, easier trail along the shoreline where you can just walk along the water and climb over to the trail. Park facing the correct way or you will risk getting a ticket.

Red Sand Beach, Hana, Maui

Red Sand Beach, Hana, Maui


Adventure Details:
On my quest to find the best beach in Hana, Maui, I asked a store clerk at the Hasegawa General Store if he had any thoughts on the subject. He instantly recommended me to Kaihalulu or the Red Sand Beach of Maui.

Rust colored cliffs along hiking path

Rust colored cliffs along hiking path, Red Sand Beach, Hana

Located behind Ka’uiki Hill, you will find The Red Sand Beach. Ka’uiki Head, which means ‘roaring sea,’is the birthplace of Queen Ka’ahumanu, and the site is now a unique, historical place in Maui. The red sand comes from the cinder rust cliffs of the Ka’uiki Head, and this is where you can find the beach carved out of the cliffs. With gorgeous colors radiating from the lava cinders, spectacular trees, and lava formations lining the walk, there’s a lot to see. There is one area where the rough lava forms a bit of a swimming pool where you can take a dip.

Washing machine  waves alongside the trail, Red Sand Beach, Hana

Washing machine waves alongside the trail, Red Sand Beach, Hana

The hike to Kaihalulu was challenging, but I was up for the adventure the moment I heard about it. The trail was quite narrow (18 inches), and I had to look out for loose cinders and pine needles while concentrating on my step. Making a fall here would not end well. Also, one part of the trail was exposed to massive waves, which kept me alert and on my toes.

Kool Aid Berry Blue Blast colored water

Kool Aid’s Berry Blue Blast colored water

After clinging to the ironwood trees and rocks along the hillside, I finally made it through the tricky part. The trail widened and quickly led to a breathtaking lookout as if to say ‘you’ve done it, congratulations!’ The red rock coastline meshing with the vibrant blue water reminded me of Kool Aid’s Berry Blue Blast. From above, I noticed the roughness of the water, twisting and turning like an old washing machine. There was no way I would want to fall in that.

Colorful red and black sand

Colorful red and black sand

Trying to take a mental image of the scenery, I eventually continued on the trail which again became narrow, but I was finally descending to the cove. When I got to the beach, I was happy that there were only a few locals here, and it not flooded with tourists. The sand was red and black, and although it was a bit coarse, it did not hurt my feet.

Swimmable area behind protective lava rocks

Swimmable area behind protective lava rocks

The swimmable area is behind a wall of protective jagged lava rocks. I got down to my bathing suit and jumped in. Looking into the water, I saw colorful fish who seemed thrilled to have avoided the raging swirls of the water. It was calm for a moment, and then I remembered that one should never make the mistake of turning their back on the ocean.

My new friend Jack!

My new friend Jack!

Suddenly, I noticed the ocean getting angry, churning and churning, and before I knew it, barreling towards me. The wave came up and over the ‘protective’ wall, forcibly carrying me back to the shore. After recovering, I decided to chill on the red sand and admire the ocean from afar. I even made a new friend, a crab named Jack, who liked hanging out. The locals were nice too, offering me some smurf, but I politely passed.

Heading back to my trusty red jeep, I was ecstatic at how the day turned out.

What are your most notable hiking moments? Comment below and let us know so we can Go! See! Learn!

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Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae is the creator of The Traveling Vixen, which captures her adventures around the world. Her passion is to inspire others to grow by experiencing and learning new things in the world.

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