About Captain Cook Monument at Kaawaloa Cove on Kona & West Island, Hawaii
Ka’awaloa Cove in Kealakekua Bay is a popular destination for snorkeling boat tours, but it might be more rewarding if you hiked or kayaked there. This is cove is the location of the Captain Cook Monument which is only accessible by boat, sea kayak, or hiking trail (i.e. you can’t drive there).
A tall white obelisk monument was erected in 1874 in honor of Captain James Cook who was killed near this spot by skeptical Hawaiians on the 14th of February, 1779. The monument is actually on British property and is roped off to keep visitors from touching it. It’s still easy to photograph and is even visible from Napo’opo’o Beach Park across Kealakekua Bay. A small concrete jetty was also constructed at this location by the Commonwealth of Australia to commemorate Captain Cook.
Boat cruises can be booked in Kailua-Kona and Keauhou to take you to Kealakekua Bay for snorkeling purposes and to see the monument from the boat.
If you want to kayak to this spot, you have to have a special permit and launch from the Napo’opo’o Beach area with certified rental companies who can give you permission to kayak on the bay. It’s better to research this online and book the kayaks days ahead. Spinner dolphins are very common in this bay so kayaking is one of the best ways to see the bay and the monument. Be sure to keep a significant distance from dolphins if you spot them (150 feet minimum). If you kayak to the monument you are not supposed to land the kayak or go to shore.
Hiking is the simplest way to get to the monument. The trailhead for the Ka’awaloa Trail, which ends at the Captain Cook Monument, begins on Napoopoo Road about 500 feet from the intersection with Highway 11. Look for legal parking nearby and plan several hours or most of your day. The hike is four miles round trip with significant elevation gain (2000 feet) on the way back up. Eight mileage markers are provided along this trail, one at each quarter-mile with number 8 at the end. When you get to the end of the trail at the bay, go left about 100 yards to the monument. The trail surface is rocky and loose in places so bring sturdy shoes for the hike. The trail is actually an old road known as the Ka’awaloa Road which was widened to accommodate carts in the 1820s and is shown as a 4WD road on USGS maps. Note that goats are often roaming the area near the monument.
Bikes and pets are not allowed on this hiker-only trail. Camping is prohibited so plan your day-hike accordingly (get an early start). Pack all the food and water you’ll need for a hot and dry hike. Bring snorkel gear too if you want (and reef-safe sunscreen). Note that there are no restrooms anywhere on this hike.
- HI-11 & State Hwy 160
Captain Cook, HI 96750
- Park Name
- Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, Kealakekua Bay Marine Life Conservation District
- Other Names
- Ka'awaloa Flats, Kalaemamo, Cook Point
- Pet Details
- No dogs allowed
- Free parking at trailhead
- Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Wildlife Watching, Boat Tours
- Historic Monument, Trails, Rock Arch, Goats, No Facilities
0.8 miles away
Napo’opo’o Beach is located at the sound end of Kealakekua Bay in the South Kona region. Napo’opo’o Beach was...
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