Waimanu Beach via the Muliwai Trail
About Waimanu Beach via the Muliwai Trail on Hilo & East Island, Hawaii
Waimanu Beach is a sandy spot at the end of a stream and a lush valley by the same name. It’s a beautiful place, but is probably the hardest beach to get to on the Big Island.
Your carrot for this wild adventure is a wonderful black sand beach and a huge deep valley to explore. There you’ll find a tropical valley, high waterfalls, wild animals and more.
This remote beach is accessed by hiking the state-managed Muliwai Trail north from Waipio Bay Beach (which has its own access challenges). The hike is about 8 miles from Waipio Beach with almost 3000 feet of elevation gain including smaller valleys between the big ones. If you start from Waipio Lookout it’s two miles longer (each way) and adds about 1000 feet of elevation gain on the way back. A shelter is provided part-way across the mountain between Waipio and Waimanu valleys. Note that hunting is allowed year-round in Kohala Forest Reserve so you could run into hunters along the trail.
The trip to Waimanu Beach is very difficult as a day hike so plan it as an overnight backpacking trip. Better yet, plan for several nights to make it worth your effort to get there. Nine camp spots are provided right next to the beach. The awe-inspiring view upcanyon from camp includes a couple huge waterfalls in the distance. You must contact the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo for a camping permit. Plan way ahead to avoid any snafus.
Pack everything you’ll need for the trip including food, shelter, water treatment, sturdy shoes, extra socks, first-aid kit, sun protection, and bug juice. Get a good weather forecast before going and avoid heavy rain due to flash floods and slippery conditions.
Outhouse type toilets are provided at the beach behind the camp spots. Be sure to treat all water you gather, even from springs, to protect from bacteria. Don’t enter freshwater with any open wounds as deadly bacteria like leptospirosis can be present.
Parking at the Waipio Lookout for longer than 24 hours is not allowed so if you want to keep a car near the trailhead contact Waipio Valley Artworks at 808-775-0958 (cost is approx. $20/day).
- Waipio Valley Rd
Honokaa, HI 96727
- Park Name
- Kohala Forest Reserve (Waimanu Section)
- Other Names
- Waimanu Bay, Waimanu Trail
- Pet Details
- Dogs allowed on trail if on a leash
- Fees for overnight parking near Waipio Lookout
- Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Hunting
- Trail, Camp Spots, Toilets, Streams, Viewpoints, Waterfalls
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