Papakolea Green Sand Beach (Mahana Bay)
About Papakolea Green Sand Beach (Mahana Bay) on Kau & South Island, Hawaii
Papakolea Green Sand Beach on Mahana Bay is in a remote location near South Point on the Big Island. Getting to Papakolea is only possible with high clearance four wheel drive vehicles so if you don’t have one, you’ll need to hike the roads or pay someone else to drive you (that’s how most people get there).
The sand here actually is green. It is created from the stone called olivine (so named for the olive color). This sandy beach is at the back of a deep cove that’s surrounded by steep cliffs on all three sides. It’s quite a sight to see in person. A steep trail gets beachgoers from the top down to the beach. The trail isn’t that tough but your grandma with knee replacements probably wouldn’t want to do it.
To get to Papakolea, it takes a long drive on rutted dirt 4WD roads from the Kaulana Boat Launch. It’s only 2.5 miles each way from the parking lot, but because of the slow speeds required to travel these rugged roads, it’s still a long drive time-wise. If you don’t have a 4×4 vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler, and off-road experience to boot, don’t even consider driving to Green Sand Beach. There are guys with huge pickups that ferry tourists back and forth to this beach every day for a reasonable fee. They know which route to take and how to do it safely. Note that you are still in for a very bumpy ride if you decide to get into the back of a truck.
After you get to Green Sand Beach, you have to descend a sandy hill behind the beach. It starts with a rickety ladder and then steep sandy (slippery) surfaces. Take your time hiking down to the beach. If you decide this descent not for you, there’s a picnic table at the top and the view is outstanding.
Swimming is dangerous in Mahana Bay due to strong currents but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. Just use good judgement and maybe bring fins if you want to swim in the bay. Note that the beach and this entire area can be windy in the afternoon (therefore the huge wind turbines along South Point Road).
- S Point Rd
Naalehu, HI 96772
- Park Name
- South Point Complex
- Other Names
- Mahana Beach, Papalokea, Pohakuloa, Pu'u Mahana
- Free parking
- Sunbathing, Photography, Hiking, Off-Road Driving
- 4x4 Roads, Trails, Picnic Table, Toilets at the trailhead
Kaulana Boat Ramp
1.7 miles away
The Kaulana Boat Ramp is down South Point Road at the southern tip of the Big Island. It provides...
Broken Landing at South Point
2.3 miles away
Broken Landing or “Broken Road” gets its name from a road that stops at the ocean and is broken...
2.5 miles away
South Point is the southernmost point of the Big Island, the state of Hawaii, and even the United States....
Wood Valley Temple
22.3 miles away
Āinapō Trail to Mauna Loa Summit
27.6 miles away
This challenging hike climbs 7,600 feet in 10 miles topping out at 13,200 feet where it reaches a National...
Hawaii Island Resort
7.6 miles away
Set on 8 acres with a macadamia nut orchard, this rural B&B is 12.5 miles from Papakolea Green Sand...
Pahala Plantation Cottages
18.5 miles away
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.