Kahuku Unit

Top choice in Hawaiʻi the Big Island

Kahuku Unit's six hiking trails that lead through green pastures to volcanic cinder cones, lava tree molds, rainforests and lava flows come alive during the excellent ranger-guided hikes (Sundays at 9:30am; advance reservations not usually required), but you are welcome to enjoy them by yourself Wednesday to Sunday. Double-check opening hours at Kilauea Visitor Center as they have been known to change. The entrance is 4 miles west of Waiʻohinu mauka (inland) off Hwy 11, at Mile 70.5.

Do stop at the information office just after the gate and borrow a copy of the trail map – not all of the trailheads in the unit are labeled by name.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hawaiʻi the Big Island attractions

1. Puʻu o Lokuana


High points like this red cinder cone make great lookouts no matter whether you're Kamehameha keeping an eye out for rival chief Keoua in the 1780s,…

2. ROD Quarantine Gate

2.85 MILES

This gate marks the end of the drivable portion of the road through Kahuku Unit as well as the Pali o Kaʻeo trailhead and an alternative starting point…

3. Paliʻokulani Overlook

4.04 MILES

Be sure to get your bearings at the Hwy 11 viewpoint perched on a 1907 lava flow. Commanding views take in Paliʻokulani, the ragged cliff edge jutting out…

5. Mark Twain Monkeypod Tree

4.61 MILES

In 1866 Mark Twain wrote in yet another long letter home that in Waiʻohinu, 'trees and flowers flourish luxuriantly, and three of those trees – two…

6. Kamaoa Wind Farm

5.53 MILES

The rusty carcasses of 37 windmills from the failed Kamaoa wind farm lie next to their foundations along South Point Rd.

7. Honuʻapo Bay Overlook

8.04 MILES

For killer coastal views, pause at the scenic lookout above Honuʻapo Bay northeast of Naʻalehu. This sweep of shoreline and scrub is part of the longest…

8. Whittington Beach Park


Northeast of Naʻalehu, this small park has tide pools, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond frequented by birds, and the photographic ruins of a historic pier…