Kohala Historical Sites State Monument
About Kohala Historical Sites State Monument on Kohala & North Island, Hawaii
Kohala Historical Sites State Monument is home to a huge heiau Hawaiian ceremonial temple and is the birthplace of King Kamehameha I. The two separate properties in this park are located near the northernmost part of the island and the remote Upolu Airport.
The three miles of shoreline near Kohala Historical Sites is continuous lava rock with no sandy beaches. Still it’s an interesting setting with many places to stop for views and for getting down to the water (swimming not advised due to currents). This is the Big Island’s closest location to Maui and on clear days Haleakala volcano is easy to see.
The access road is a rough one with deep ruts and large mucky puddles after rains. It is best to park where it’s safe and walk the rest of the way if you don’t have a Jeep Wrangler type vehicle. It’s a pleasant hike, but be prepared for direct sun and strong winds.
To get there, drive from Hwy 270 to the entrance of Upolu Airport on a paved road and then turn left (west) onto a dirt road. If you turn right (east) and go around the airport it leads to Upolu Point proper where you’ll find a rocky point and amazing tidepools. Following the left road will get you to the two Kohala Historical Sites and eventually a dead end.
Mo’okini Heiau and the Kamehameha I Birthplace (Kamehameha Akahi Aina Hanau Heiau) are in different places and signed clearly along the road. Access to Mo’okini Heiau requires a short uphill hike from the parking spot. The trailhead is about 1.6 miles from your turn at the airport. This heiau was constructed in the 5th century and has a long history that includes human sacrifice. The Kamehameha birth site is easier to access as it’s next to the road. You’ll find this historic site at two miles from your turn at the airport.
Upolu Point Road goes all along the shore and another 4×4 track encircles the airport so there’s lots to explore if you have a high clearance vehicle. If you have a regular car, it’s about the same distance to park at the Old Coast Guard Beach Access and walk to the historical structures from there.
- Upolu Point Rd
Hawi, HI 96719
- Park Name
- Kohala Historical Sites State Monument
- Other Names
- Upolu Point Beach, Limukoko Point, Umiwai Bay
- Free entrance and parking
- Hiking, Sightseeing, Whale Watching, Fishing
- Historical Hawaiian Sites, 4x4 Roads, Airport, Viewpoints, Trails
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