Hike Pololu Valley — Big Island, Hawaii

A little off the beaten path, this hike was our favorite on the Big Island. In less than a mile hike, you'll be treated to some of the best views of sheer cliffs and lush rolling valley hills. I would even dare to say Pololu Valley is more beautiful and not as crowded as the popular Waipio Valley nearby.

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Hike Info

Date: April 2018
Miles: 0.9 miles roundtrip
Elevation Change: 543 ft
Trail Type: Out and back
Trailhead: Google Maps
Cost: Free

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Getting There

After hiking Waipio Valley, it was about an hour and 20 minute drive to the parking lot here. If you're heading there from one of the main towns, the drive is still about an hour and a half from Hilo, and two hours from Kona. There's a small lot here like most trails on the Big Island, but there is some street parking as well.

Even driving to the trailhead was incredibly scenic, especially the part where we turned the final corner and saw the coastline for the first time!

 End of the parking lot and start of the trailhead

End of the parking lot and start of the trailhead

 

The Hike

The path down is steep and has many stairs, but you get an incredible view of the steep cliffs in the distance the entire time. The trail has some wooden steps, but there are also areas of just slanted smooth dirt that could be slippery, especially after a rain. 

About halfway down, you get a clear view of the gorgeous valley below. You can tell this valley is close to Waipio Valley, as they both seem to be made of the similar lush, rolling tall cliffs.

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After descending around 500 feet in less than half a mile all after hiking Waipio, my legs were jelly once we got to the bottom. Here you can walk along the soft sandy beach, explore the tree area, or rock hop down the coast.

 A couple fishing in the waters

A couple fishing in the waters

We spotted people fishing, camping, surfing, and walking all along the beach area here. You can walk up to the water edge up the valley a little, but the rest is private land. I loved how the valley had a small body of water, and I think this is what made Pololu more magical and picturesque than Waipio Valley.

 Photographing the beautiful valley

Photographing the beautiful valley

On your way back out, stop at Fresh Off The Grid on the side of the road for some fresh fruit or a shaved ice. We loved stopping here to enjoy a refreshing shaved ice with a view!

 Our post hike reward!

Our post hike reward!

Even though Pololu is very close to Waipio, I loved how the trail down was shorter and not as steep, and I think the coastal and valley views are much more spectacular. I can also see this as an epic spot to camp with friends, as the remoteness of the trailhead and the little bit effort to hike your stuff down might result in a more secluded camp experience.

 

Favorite gear for this hike