Outdoor exploration will never go “out of style” on the Island of Hawaii, a year-round, 4,000-square-mile adventurer’s paradise. There are countless ways to survey the most biodiverse island on the planet, including guided hikes, horseback rides, and cycling tours. While most travelers choose Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for its private beach, island cuisines, and casual sophistication, it’s important to remember that there’s so much natural beauty within steps of our ocean-view suites. One of Mauna Kea’s oft-forgotten features is its instant access to the Ala Kahakai Trail. This 175-mile-long path wraps around the island’s western rim from ʻUpolu Point to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The Ala Kahakai Trail
Volunteers preserve the Ala Kahakai Trail, including Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s staff, as the pathway runs along the resort’s edge to our sister property, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, a newly-renovated retreat. Preservation began in 2000 when it became transparent that the coast’s ecosystem needed to be protected and preserved. The 175-mile-long hike is home to countless ancient Hawaiian sites, as well as over 200 different ahupuaʻa subdivisions.
Labeling this landscape as biodiverse wouldn’t do it justice, as its ecosystems range from lush rain forests to dry shrublands and volcanic ruins. Some of the Ala Kahakai Trail’s most photographed features include hidden caves, lava forms, and anchialine pools, often filled with endangered fish. Geologists, botanists, and zoologists alike label the Ala Kahakai Trail as the earth’s most spellbinding “living classroom.”
Kauna‘oa Bay to Hapuna Beach
As mentioned above, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel team has, on several occasions, helped clean up the trail that runs from Kauna‘oa Bay (often referred to as “Mauna Kea Beach”) to the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. If you didn’t know that this stretch of the Ala Kahakai Trail existed, you would probably miss it altogether. Its exclusivity is incredibly enticing for those looking for an oceanfront stroll far away from crowds of tourists.
The Ala Kahakai Trail starts near Mauna Kea Golf Course’s 11th hole, a visual delight in and of itself. It meanders along a rocky, sandy shoreline past several private estates, all of which peer toward beautiful Kaunaʻoa Point. Much of the journey features pitch-black volcanic rock before eventually spilling onto white-sand shores of Hapuna Beach State Park, fronting The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s worth reiterating that over 50 percent of the Ala Kahakai Trail runs through private property, so please be extra respectful of the land. Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.
To learn more about this long-preserved pathway, please visit Ala Kahakai’s website.
Where to Stay on the “Big Island” | Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel remains a four-season beacon of light for travelers looking for an extended break from busy schedules and stressful workplaces. The dream of Hawaii is real here on the picturesque Kohala Coast. On-site luxuries include private beach access, a world-class golf course (a Robert Trent Jones Sr. marvel), unobstructed Pacific Ocean views, and Beach Club admission. There’s never been a better time to take advantage of our many special offers, many of which are trailer-made for winter escapes.
To book a long-awaited wintertime getaway to the Island of Hawaii, please check availability online (or call us directly at 1-877-880-6524).