Round Trip Mileage: 1.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 20’

Spencer Beach Park

Spencer Beach Park

This short Kohala coast hike visits two excellent beaches and ends at an unknown picturesque spot where a stream meets the ocean. This hike begins at Spencer Beach Park, a developed beach park with many facilities. Spencer Beach Park is named for Samuel M. Spencer, former chairman of the Hawaii County Board of Supervisors, who developed much of this area of the island. Spencer Beach Park has a broad white sandy beach with a gentle slope. It can be a great place to swim when other places are too dangerous. The hike travels along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail to Mau’umae Beach, another Kohala white sandy gem. Mau’umae Beach has no services. The hike ends at a small beach named Waiulaula, located at the terminus of Waiulaula Stream. Waiulaula Beach isn’t the best for swimming because of the stream runoff, but it’s a very picturesque spot. This hike is adjacent to Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, and it’s possible to park there to begin the hike and combine the two hikes.

Trailhead: Just south of Kawaihae on Hwy. 270 and just north of the intersection of Hwy. 270 and Hwy. 19, find the access road for both Spencer Beach Park and Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site. Spencer Beach Park has restrooms, showers, picnic tables, camping, and ample parking.


Gear: Standard hiking gear. The trail is pretty rough, so sturdy shoes are appropriate. Bring plenty of water and sun protection.


Hike: From Spencer Beach parking, walk across the beach to the south and find the beginning of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail marked with a prominent sign. Walk the trail for about 1/3 mile and cross a small stream. Continue along the trail and quickly find Mau’umae Beach. Don’t be shocked if you see some nude bathers here. Cross Mau’umae Beach’s white sandy expanse and find the trail on the opposite side of the beach. Climb a bit on the trail past some houses. The trail then crosses a open area with huge views of the Kohala Coast. Find Waiulaula Beach after descending from a small promontory. It has unique lava features and white sand. Waiulaula Stream empties into the sea here, so the water is often murky and not the best for swimming. Return the way you came.

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