Pololu Valley, Hawaii (Big Island)
Pololu Valley is at the start of a series of seacliffs at the northwest part of the island on the Kohala Peninsula, past the town of Hawi. It only takes about 20 minutes to hike down the trail to the black sand beach in the valley below, and for those who can't hike there's a gorgeous viewpoint up top. If you keep walking through to the other side of the valley another trail goes back up 600 ft. and over the next ridge, down into Hono Kane Nui Valley. There are staggering views at several points along the way, and although there were a handful of people down in the first (Pololu) valley, we were the only ones on the trail up and over the next ridge to Hono Kane Nui.
At the end of November, 2007, the trail down into Hono Kane Nui was wiped out about 1/3 to 1/2 way down by a rockslide. However, the views are well worth going that far.
Part of the trail are exposed to wonderful ocean breezes, and other parts are dank and muggy, but the views are worth it. Wear bug spray.
First of all, Pololu Valley Lookout point is where the road ends in North Hawaii. The view of the valley from above is very pleasant. It's a bit of drive from the Kohala Resort Area (45 min.) but worth it. If you have lots of time on hand, go down the road and get to the bottom of the Valley. The hike is fairly easy. After 20 minute or so of going down the well-marked trail, you will see the uninhabited black sand beach in the valley. The swimming at the beach is not at all recommended since the tide is very fast. The wave can be unpredictable. It's best to walk along the beach and soak it all in. Going up the trail take a bit longer than coming down. But, hey, we can all use the opportunity to burn off some calories.
Just a short (but strenuous) hike is all it takes to find yourself on this gorgeous, uncrowded black beach. You'll find the Pololu Valley at the end of State Hwy. 270 on the Big Islands northeastern coast.
It is fun to hike down the Pololu Trail down to the black sand beach below, but don't forget to stop and take lots of pictures on your way down. The views of the cliffs and Pololu Valley, in addition to the beach below, are all beautiful to see. After we hung out at the beach for a while and had a snack, we hiked up another hill and found a tree swing with amazing views of the Pololu Valley.