Pololu Beach (Black Sand)

Jan 8, 2022 | General Information

Table of Contents
Many beaches are great for swimming but that is not true of this beach. Pololu Beach is located at the entrance of the Pololu Valley which is the last in the series of valleys beginning with Waipio Valley that guard the northern flank of the Big Island of Hawaii. All these valleys are giant with huge escarpments descending to the valley floors and to the ocean below. These valleys are so large in fact that they are impassable and no system of roadways connects any of these valleys. The main road on the north shore of the Big Island is #270 and it abruptly dead-ends at the cliffs of the Pololu Valley. From this vantage point you can easily view the half-mile long black sand beach that lies below.

The Impressive View of Pololu Valley from the Lookout Point
The Pololu Valley is impressive enough from the lookout above by the road but if you really want to get a sense of the beach below the best thing to do is to hike the trail which winds its way down the path which is chiseled into the hillside. This on its own is no meager feat as the steps are large, steep, irregular and often quite slippery if there has been recent rain and no-one should attempt to make this journey unless they are in exceptionally good health. The flip-side obviously of going down is going back up the 400′ ascent on the way back and youre likely to get quite a workout.

The Steep Trail Down to Pololu Beach
Should you choose to make the twenty-minute trek however you will be rewarded by being able to stand on a black sand beach with waves loudly pounding the shoreline and be able to marvel at the river valley and astounding cliffs and possibly waterfalls that will fall in thin streams from the top of the Kohala Mountains behind you. The sand here is very black and very course and is highlighted by the beautiful verdant greens found in the foliage on the valley floor and the deep blue hues of the Pacific. All in all you will feel that you have transcended time to find a place of antiquity and in some measure you have. This valley, as with the others found in the Kohala Range were once the home to hundreds of Hawaiians who lived in these valleys and grew the Hawaiian crop of taro which was a staple food in the Hawaiian diet.

The Black Sands of Pololu Beach
The ocean here however is no place to visit. The waves can be powerful and the rip-currents are viscous not to mention the rock coastline which provides the perfect foundation upon which to pulverize and batter a human body senseless. Take pictures along the entire rocky beach and enjoy the scenery but don’t go in the water.

Ocean Caution
Be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be dangerous including this one. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering any Hawaiian waters however it is not advised that you enter the water at this location. Also, all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water. There are no lifeguard towers at this location.